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SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD is one of the most powerful and intuitive 3D CAD systems on the market. Produced by Dassault Systèmes, it is a solid modelling program that runs on Microsoft Windows.The first product was released in 1995 by SOLIDWORKS, Corporation, then based in Concord, Massachusetts

Trusted by millions

The product is currently used by over three million engineers and designers at more than 245,000 companies worldwide. The user base ranges from individuals to large corporations, and covers a very wide cross-section of manufacturing market segments. Commercial sales are made through an indirect channel, which includes dealers and partners throughout the world.

SOLIDWORKS is a solid modeller, and utilises a parametric feature-based approach to create models and assemblies. Such systems are very good at capturing the design intent of the creator of the part being worked on. Building a model in SOLIDWORKS usually starts with a 2D sketch (although 3D sketches are available for power users).

There are currently several versions of SOLIDWORKS, in addition to eDrawings, a collaboration tool, and DraftSight, a 2D CAD product.

SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD comes in three packages - Standard, Professional and Premium. What are the differences between the three? When does it make sense to upgrade?

Take a look at our matrix to see the different features of each version to help decide which is the right one for you.

Although there are many factors involved, our expert team will be pleased to look at which main functionalities you need and whether upgrading is needed to streamline your design processes.

SOLIDWORKS Standard:

A fully functional suite of SOLIDWORKS' core 3D design capabilities, allowing the rapid creation of parts, assemblies and 2D drawings. SOLIDWORKS Standard also includes some FEA capability to perform static and stress analysis on parts.

SOLIDWORKS Professional:

All the power of SOLIDWORKS Standard but with additional capabilities:

  • Extensive CAD libraries
  • SOLIDWORKS Costings
  • PhotoView 360
  • eDrawings Professional.
Ultimately SOLIDWORKS Professional will increase your productivity, ensure greater accuracy and help you to communicate design information more effectively.

SOLIDWORKS Premium:

The complete 3D design system, SOLIDWORKS Premium has the following additional features:

  • Advanced FEA simulation capabilities, allowing static, stress and motion analyses to be performed.
  • A routing feature for tooling and harnessing, including support for rectangular ducting and cable trays
  • CircuitWorks, to create enclosures for circuit boards Automated Tolerance Stack-Up Analyst (Tol Analyst) to determine sizing allowances.

Key Benefits

  • Easy to learn, easy to use
  • Customisable to fit experience and expertise
  • Wizards, experts and diagnostics tools take the complexity out of CAD, with powerful modelling tools making it easy to create the complex forms needed
  •  Sketches update automatically in the 3D CAD model
  • Powerful modelling tools produce sophisticated, beautiful forms that differentiate products in today's competitive market
  • Tools such as copy, mirror and pattern geometry automate repetitive design and development tasks
  • Quickly and easily create design variations from a single model
  • View, rotate and even fly-through complex assembly designs for more clarity
  • Check interferences, clearances and alignment throughout the full range of motion
  • Intelligent libraries of reusable parts, including intelligent fasteners that assemble themselves automatically
  • Create brochure-ready high quality product renderings selecting from a range of options for materials, textures and backgrounds; capture animations of your design to share with suppliers and customers
  • SOLIDWORKS Large Design Review will quickly open, navigate, walk-through, measure, section and create snapshot views of massive assemblies, adding annotations as you go
  • Creates comprehensive 2D drawings that are automatically linked with the 3D model - as the 3D model is modified so too is the 2D drawing updated ensuring all views are up to date and drawings are to scale
  • Standard templates and automated drawing checks streamline common design checking tasks
    Automated creation of bills of material (BOMS), balloons and annotations, plus expert tools for dimensioning and tolerancing

Resources

PROCAT: Engaging Students With SOLIDWORKS

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PROCAT

Prospects College of Advanced Technology (PROCAT), was the UK's first college of advanced technology which was opened by the UK government in July 2014. Based in Essex, it aims to offer students the best quality education possible with state-of-the-art technology so that they can become the next generation of engineers and skilled construction workers.

The Challenge

PROCAT needed to upgrade its existing 3D CAD system from AUTOCAD 2010 to a parametric-based software. The engineering team needed a CAD system that would meet the requirements of their Level 1, 2 and 3 courses but also a software that would let them expand their curriculum to offer the higher HNC Foundation and degree courses.
They needed a parametric CAD package that was common to employers worldwide, that would link CNC to CAM, was intuitive to 3D printing and that would meet their curriculum requirements not only for the HNC courses but also to accommodate their longer term strategy to facilitate the higher foundation degrees. They wanted a CAD package with FEA capabilities to demonstrate mechanical principles and 3D stresses. The No. 1 priority for 87 per cent of the businesses they work with is to have apprentices who can use 3D CAD and who are industry ready. It was crucial they got it right.

The Solution

PROCAT engineering department evaluated a number of CAD providers but found SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD held not only the biggest market share but also offered a comprehensive suite of tools for all their 2D and 3D teaching requirements.
One of PROCAT's industry partnerships is with Olympus Keymed, a leading manufacturer of innovative optical and digital equipment for the healthcare and electronics industries, who recommended they talked to SOLIDWORKS reseller New Technology CADCAM.
As a consequence PROCAT not only invested in a 500 Campus Education Pack, but also in full commercial seats of SOLIDWORKS Standard, SOLIDWORKS Professional, SOLIDWORKS Premium, SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium, SOLIDWORKS Plastics, SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2D and SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D, SOLIDWORKS Inspection, SOLIDWORKS Composer, CAMWorks for 5 axis manufacturing with G-code and TransMagic for data translation.

The Results

The SOLIDWORKS Campus Licence, which provides 500 PROCAT students with a SOLIDWORKS home activation kit, is an invaluable resource that gives them the chance to develop their skills outside the classroom.
The lecturers at PROCAT are now adopting a new approach to teaching CAD. Before they started students with 2D and then asked them to draw a 2D item into a third angle graphic projection - something they found difficult to express, but using SOLIDWORKS has enabled them to turn their teaching on its head and to start engaging students straight away with a prepared 3D model which they then take back to the 2D state and draw it. All of which is handled completely within SOLIDWORKS.

Getting the right equipment and package to suit not only their student requirements to complete course modules but also to offer their employer partners 'job-ready apprentices' with the confidence and skills set for when they arrive at work has been exactly what PROCAT were looking for.

"Using SOLIDWORKS has turned our CAD teaching on its head. Rather than start in 2D, I can engage students straight away with 3D models and then we can pick it apart, taking the models back to their 2D state and drawing it. I can do it all in SOLIDWORKS."

Alan Claughan
Lecturer in Engineering, PROCAT