LONG BEACH, CA, April 24, 2007 - One of the coolest parts of being a CAD editor is you get to see all the nifty things in the next version of software. At the UGS Connection (the annual user meeting for UGS software users), I got a sneak preview of Solid Edge v20, which hasn't even been officially announced. The folks at UGS didn't swear me to secrecy so I'll tell you a few items that immediately address some of my pain points.
Big Takes On A Whole New Meaning
I was thinking 5,0000 -- maybe 10,000 parts--was a big assembly. For Solid Edge massive means a whopping 100,000. In fact, there is rumor of a customer using Solid Edge for a 500,000 part assembly! I could not confirm that but my perception of how big of an assembly mid-range MCAD could support just jumped by an order of magnitude.
Importing AutoCAD files
Have you imported an AutoCAD drawing only to spend the next hour changing colors and layers so you can even see the bloody thing? V20 uses "ACAD Color 7" to automatically inverts black/white lines depending on background sheet color.
Built-In Graphic Calculator
It irks me to have to pull out a cheap calculator or sketchpad to solve simple geometry problems when I'm entering geometry into a CAD program. After all, isn't CAD essentially a (very expensive) graphic calculator? Solid Edge seems to have recognized this absurdity and has built in "goal seek" which can solve these type of problems. Example shown is a belt pulley system in which a belt length was given and the position of wheels was iterated to a solution (can also be used in 3D geometry) but you can use it to solve a variety of rules-based problems.
As with any major release, there are more items than there is space to cover (Solid Edge v20 claims 170 enhancements) but I'll provide more details soon.