For better or worse, love it or hate it… February 14 is here, and in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve got a list for you of 14 reasons why we love Solid Edge. So grab your candy hearts, box of chocolates, and settle in while we divulge the reasons our favorite design software suite holds the top spot in our hearts.
The list combines feature/function top picks with other important aspects of Solid Edge such as the people, educational resources available to users, and ways we give back to the community. We’d love to hear what it is that you like most about Solid Edge, so be sure to let us know in the comments! Without further ado, let’s jump in to the list of 14 Reasons Why We Love Solid Edge:
- Synchronous Technology
It’s pretty much an unwritten rule that you can’t talk about Solid Edge without at least mentioning synchronous. Unique to Siemens, synchronous technology combines the benefits of direct modeling and parametric design into one solution. You can work directly with design geometry and make changes instantly, while still maintaining control through an organized feature tree. This makes it easier to implement late stage design changes, modify imported 3D CAD, and edit multiple assemblies simultaneously – just to name a few common design challenges this technology helps to solve.
- Generative Design
Who wouldn’t love to save time and energy? What if, instead of doing manual work, you could automate a tedious part of your design process? Generative design makes this possible. With the integration of topology optimization into the Solid Edge 3D modeling toolkit, designers are able to create optimized product designs from requirements and constraints, rather than creating geometry first and then validating the design. In this way, you can explore more design options to find the optimal design rather than just the first one to meet minimum requirements. This is especially helpful to create lighter components, minimize material waste in downstream manufacturing, and customize designs for casting or high-res 3D printing.
- Dedicated user community
When it comes to learning, they say the best teacher is experience. I agree with one caveat: The best teacher is another person’s experience. When you can learn from the mistakes (or successes!) of someone else, you save yourself the time and effort of trial and error. That’s why one of the things I love most about Solid Edge is that we have a dedicated community of users from around the world! People are always so friendly and willing to help when it comes to learning how to use the software and developing best practices. Many of you choose to dedicate your time to sharing your expertise and answering questions right here in these forums. We are very lucky to have all of you as Solid Edge users.
- Free online training and resources
Speaking of learning, another great reason to love Solid Edge is the wealth of resources and training materials available online for free to help you master design skills. Whether you are new to CAD, just new to Solid Edge, or a longtime pro looking to gain expertise in additional areas, you will find plenty of tutorials and courses to help you get the most from using Solid Edge. A great place to start is with our Tips and Tricks videos on YouTube, including How to Create a Top Down Assembly in Solid Edge. Solid Professor offers another great option with courses on Solid Edge and other CAD systems and related technical hardware. While it does require an annual membership to view full courses, you can register and watch the first 5 modules of any course for free. More details on Solid Professor can be found here.
- Reverse Engineering
Thanks to the rapid growth of high-resolution 3D scanners, scanning is now the easy part of reverse engineering. Even legacy parts that were first designed on a drafting board can be digitally represented and modified to suit contemporary designs without requiring you to completely reconstruct them. We love Solid Edge because it has tools to speed up the reverse engineering process and make our lives easier! From mesh cleanup to surface extraction, you can do it all better with Solid Edge.
- 3D Printing
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing, as it’s more commonly referred to, makes it possible to leverage the full potential of those aforementioned design technologies such as 3D scanning and generative design. To manufacture the complex, organic shapes you get from using these techniques would be costly and time-consuming to the point that they would be virtually impossible to produce without the aid of 3D printing. With Solid Edge, you can easily print individual prototype models on your own 3D printers, or upload your models to the cloud to receive instant quotes for manufacturing your part in different materials and have the part shipped to your door. Solid Edge also contains tools to design products optimized for additive manufacturing.
- Invested in students and educators
A cause that is near and dear to my heart (and one of the biggest reasons I love Solid Edge!) is that we are invested in students and educators. At a time when technology and the way we develop products is changing so rapidly, it’s imperative that educational institutions have access to the latest software and processes being used in industrial companies today. Otherwise, how can we expect students to be properly trained with the skills they need when they enter the workforce. Solid Edge provides free access to the same professional software the pros use in companies throughout the world to students and teachers. Not only that, but we partner with a number of great organizations whose programs help spark students interest in STEM, such as Greenpower and FIRST Robotics. Solid Edge provides sponsorship, software, as well as support in developing curriculum and training. Check out some of the free student courses available such as Solid Edge Training & Certification through Udemy.
- Convergent Modeling
The thing about these new and expanding design technologies—generative, reverse engineering and additive— is that they are all mesh-based, meaning their geometry is comprised of tiny triangles stitched together to form a mesh. These are also known as facets. The thing about mesh or facet data is that it doesn’t play well with the boundary representation or b-rep data of traditional solid models, meaning designers would typically have to convert the data or perform a lengthy surfacing process to get it to a workable state. A great reason to love Solid Edge is that convergent modeling technology seamlessly combines the two, so you can perform feature modeling on a mesh model and it behaves just like regular solid modeling.
- Passionate team that gives back
If ever there was a reason to love Solid Edge, the people would be it. We have a close-knit team of people who are passionate about Solid Edge and helping anyone who uses our software to become the best designers, engineers, and overall experts they can. We certainly have fun with each other, and most of all, we like to stay connected to our communities and give back whenever possible.
- Built-in data management
Far from just being a CAD tool, Solid Edge is a comprehensive suite of product development software that includes built-in data management capabilities to help you meet requirements and stay compliant. Solid Edge ST10 features enhancements that make setup and administration easier, and improvements in the user interface help speed completion of everyday tasks and reduce errors in the design process. You can rest assured you won’t waste time working on an outdated revision, because Solid Edge notifies you as soon as a new revision is available. Solid Edge also offers improved tools to find and replace duplicate files and automatically copies drawings during “Save As” operations
- More ways to collaborate
Yet another reason to love Solid Edge is that you have more ways to collaboratively work with your team. As technology evolves and products—and ultimately the processes to develop those products—become increasingly complex, more people are involved and expected to work collaboratively in the design and development effort. Solid Edge recently rolled out a beta of the Solid Edge Portal, which gives designers and manufacturers a new way to securely collaborate on projects by uploading CAD files to cloud-based project folders and viewing these files from any browser.
- Fast, easy-to-create technical publications
The ability to correctly communicate the manufacturing, installation and maintenance procedures for your designs is essential to product performance. We love that Solid Edge is closely integrated with the Solid Edge Technical Publications solution to give you quick access to tools to create technical documentation for your designs. From simple illustrations for end user manuals to interactive technical documents for manufacturing and service, you can produce top quality documents with minimal effort. Create illustration sets directly from Solid Edge geometry and product and manufacturing (PMI) annotations and generate customizable, multi-page documents. Edits to Solid Edge models can even automatically propagate to the publications.
- Embedded CFD for flow analysis
Getting valuable insight about a product’s behavior from the beginning of the design cycle is a game changer. It helps you to create better products, while requiring less time and iterations than would otherwise be necessary to achieve optimal product performance. Solid Edge Flow Simulation is a fully embedded and intuitive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis tool that provides some much needed insight into product performance. Because the tool tightly integrates native Solid Edge geometry and simulation data, all changes are synchronized, resulting in reliable, optimized products.
- Flexible options let you choose how to access Solid Edge
At a time when software companies are moving to subscription only, Solid Edge believes in letting you choose how you want to access your software. There are options that make sense for different people depending on their needs; a monthly subscription often works for a small business that may not have a lot capital to spend $10,000 on a CAD license. Pay on a monthly basis or save with an annual subscription that offers a more cost effective alternative. Of course, you can still get a perpetual license that allows you to use Solid Edge without an internet connection for as long as you want. That’s the power of having options