SOLIDWORKS 2020 is the 28th major release of the world’s most popular 3D design and engineering platform, and we are far beyond simple CAD improvements. This makes picking a list of only five favorite enhancements more challenging than ever, but I’m gonna take a stab at it and tell you about some of the things that made my heart skip a beat:
- Drawings Performance. The speed of large drawings in SOLIDWORKS 2020 is breathtaking; every bit as impressive as what was done for 3D models in last year’s release. The new graphics pipeline being applied to 2D data, combined with Detailing Mode (where you can open and annotate drawings without the model being loaded at all), really change the game for customers not only dealing with large assembly drawings, but also those with very complex drawings with lots of sections and detail views on multiple sheets.
- Envelope Publisher. The ability to publish a part as an envelope across subassemblies is another game-changer. Not only does this make modeling large assemblies easier by being able to have “placeholders” in more efficient subassemblies, it enables distributed engineering teams a way to collaborate that’s never before been available.
- Flexible Components. The ability to accurately model “squishy” components like springs, bellows and gaskets has long been a challenge in SOLIDWORKS. With SOLIDWORKS 2020, you can just designate the part to “flexible” and, after specifying some attachment points to other parts in your assembly, the part will rebuild accurately after adjacent components are moved. The best part about this is that every instance is unique, so you can use the same rubber boot in multiple assemblies, and in multiple instances, without having to create configurations or other special circumstances.
- New Search Bar in SOLIDWORKS PDM. I had to smile when I saw the new Search Bar in the upper-right corner of the SOLIDWORKS PDM explorer window. You could always create Search Cards in SOLIDWORKS PDM, but now you can just do a search on the fly with your own modifiers, just like the regular Windows explorer window. It’s kind of like Google for data management!
- IES Lighting Profiles in SOLIDWORKS Visualize. We have a number of customers who design lights, and even more who use lights in their renderings. Being able to use Illumination Engineering Society profiles means accurate renderings are even easier to create in SOLIDWORKS Visualize.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of what’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2020 – heck, it’s not even a complete list of highlights! There are dozens of short highlight videos already on the SOLIDWORKS YouTube page, but I’m going to personally conduct free live SOLIDWORKS rollout events in eight cities around Wisconsin and Illinois, starting the first week of October. Invest in yourself and be sure to take advantage of these high-value educational opportunities!
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