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.


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.


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


Creating Timeless Beauty in SOLIDWORKS


Robert Welch Designs

The Company

Since it was established in 1955 in an old silk mill in Chipping Campden, Robert Welch Designs has built up a world-class homeware product brand that is steeped in silversmithing and craftsmanship. From cutlery to candlesticks, a small design team has created 3,418 individual new products that offer its customers a "timeless beauty" that has led to sales of over 46 million items around the world.

The Challenge

As a prolific designer of iconic cutlery and kitchenware, Robert Welch needed a 3D CAD software for solid modelling that was both functional and aesthetic. Working predominately in stainless steel, the company was developing a new plastic Signature Non-Stick Utensil range and needed simulation and surfacing tools that would meet their high standards of precision engineering.

The Solution

The company had been using Deskartes for its CAD modelling. When its design director Paul deBretton Gordon arrived nine years ago from Wedgewood, he found an old seat of SOLIDWORKS 'knocking around' that was unused and put it to the test.

"We quickly realised that SOLIDWORKS was a lot more advanced than what we had been using. I got the essentials from a 3-day NT CADCAM training course at their offices in Haddenham and from there I've been learning on the job."

Robert Welch Designs continue to use SOLIDWORKS to innovate in every stage of their design process. Their Signature design pattern, which is a cross of four ovals, is made using Pattern Wizard in SOLIDWORKS and adds lightness to the metal throughout their signature range. It was one of the outstanding features of their award-winning Signature Cookbook and Tablet Stand at the Excellence in Housewares Awards 2014.

The Results

  • Seamless surfacing
  • Award-winning products
  • Accelerated development time
  • Faster time to market


"NT CADCAM are very much part of that community and the design processes we use. They are always very helpful and we are confident they are the right partner for us in going forward.

"If we had any issues we could call up their technical team and when there was a product we couldn't get to grips with, NT CADCAM would come out, stay with us for a few days and do some on-site training with us."

"We use SOLIDWORKS for practically 98 percent of everything we make. It's been the best package for us to use in terms of functionality and aesthetics."

Paul deBretton Gordon

Design Director at Robert Welch Designs.