On the floor of the partner pavilion at SOLIDWORKS World 2017 in Los Angeles, SOLIDWORKS, along with many of its partner companies, featured the newest technologies compatible with and utilizing Dassault Systèmes products. This year featured the largest-ever partner pavilion with over 115 exhibitors.
SOLIDWORKS World 2017 entrance.
Although the booths spanned many areas of technology, there were three standout areas of focus: additive manufacturing, virtual reality and new innovations generated using SOLIDWORKS design tools.
In addition to an additive manufacturing conference track, SOLIDWORKS World featured additive manufacturing companies from around the world on the event floor.
On top of being featured in the partner pavilion, Sindoh from South Korea was recognized in Tuesday morning’s general session for its collaborative work with SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids. SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids released its beta version online to the public with the announcement of new features, including game mode and easy 3D printing compatibility. Through SOLIDWORKS’ partnership with Sindoh, a new printer has been developed that creates wireless compatibility with SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids. Kids can send their CAD models to print directly from the application without any additional outside processing. If you would like to test out the SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids yourself, you can sign up for the beta version here. Coming onto the market later this year are further capabilities for the Sindoh printer that are still being developed. The printer will feature a touch screen interface and flexible printbed for simple part removal.
Additionally, the 3D printing giants Stratasys and 3D Systems exhibited their suites of products from desktop printers to larger-scale printers. Stratasys announced its new line of fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers that are focused on speed. The company also exhibited its MakerBot-compatible Tough PLA filament. This material is different from the firm’s traditional PLA filament in that its properties more closely mimic those of ABS plastic. It is advantageous for users who are looking to get improved structural integrity in their prototypes that they couldn’t previously get from MakerBot printers. MakerBot has only released this material in a slate gray bundle that can be purchased in bulk as a test to see the industry’s response to the material.
The Mcor ARKe printer at SOLIDWORKS World.
Some other standout additive manufacturing companies featured at SOLIDWORKS World included Mcor Technologies, Nano Dimension and 3D Platform. Mcor showed off the engineering prototype applications of its full color paper 3D printer, Mcor ARKe. Using layers of paper, adhesive, heat and ink, the printer is able to form solid full color objects that are especially useful for showing off analysis results directly on 3D prints.
Analysis results printed on the Mcor ARKe paper-based 3D printer.
The Dragonfly 2020 printer demonstrated Nano Dimension’s capabilities in producing metal and polymer combination prints, which are ideal for PCB and electronic prototypes.
Nano Dimension’s Dragonfly 2020 3D printer.
3D Platform exhibited its ability to produce large-scale prints on its flagship large build plate printer. Printing in a 1 meter by 1 meter by 0.5 meter build size, 3D Platform showed its capability to create parts in all locations on the build platform without sacrificing quality.
3D Platform’s printer creating parts at all corners of its buildplate.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
The focus on virtual reality (VR) at SOLIDWORKS World was not on new developments in VR platforms. Instead, the focus was on increasing computational power to enable a smoother VR user experience and integrating VR with SOLIDWORKS.
Bringing CAD to VR session showing house layouts created in CAD software.
SOLIDWORKS allowed users to bring their own models to the Dassault Systèmes booth and view their designs in their VR setup. SOLIDWORKS announced that it is continuing to focus on the ease of presenting final models produced in SOLIDWORKS in VR.
Additionally, NVIDIA and BOXX Technologies demonstrated their newest and best graphics processing units (GPUs) and full workstations made for handling VR, as well as traditional design work and simulation. BOXX provided one of its units for a demonstration of CAD models in VR during the session Bringing CAD to VR run by Ethan Kinney. Demos were shown of navigating full CAD house layouts and industrial equipment that had been created in CAD modelers and put into a VR environment using the gaming engine Unity. These demos showed an exceptionally smooth VR experience.
SOLIDWORKS Created Products
In addition to new products that partner to work with SOLIDWORKS, there were some standout demonstrations of products created using SOLIDWORKS design tools. These demonstrations ranged from products created by students at the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy to makers to start-ups in the SOLIDWORKS Entrepreneur Program.
Close up of the Prosthesis mech suit.
One of the standout features that drew attention from attendees was Prosthesis, which was created by Jonathan Tippett and Furrion Robots. Prosthesis is a completely electric powered and human controlled off-road racing mech. This imposing creation has been in development for years and is the beginning of Furrion’s mech racing league that it plans to launch in the near future. Intensive motion simulations and FEA functions were utilized in the development of this project to allow for ideal human and machine interactions.
Prosthesis mech suit on the SOLIDWORKS World floor.
Another business that brought its prototype to the event was Freight Farms, a company striving to make agriculture more efficient and accessible for every user. Constructed inside a shipping container, the system works to create the ideal weather conditions for the plants at all times while also utilizing all of the space in the container and making the user experience easy. The system uses high-efficiency LED light strips, a closed loop hydroponic system and a multi-planed airflow and intercrop aeration system that minimize the need for human involvement and maximize consistent crop yield. Freight Farms is described by its President and Cofounder Jon Friedman as doing for the agricultural industry what 3D printing is doing for the manufacturing industry. The company is bringing easy efficient agricultural production to homes, communities and local organizations.
Sevendof unmanned aerial device.
Lastly, traveling from Norway to show off its newest creation, Sevendof was exhibiting its product, StormPetrel. This device combines the advantages of drones and fixed-wing airplanes to create a new design that is faster, safer and cheaper at operations such as energy infrastructure inspection, precision agriculture and aerial photography. A member of the SOLIDWORKS Entrepreneurs program, Sevendof is a spin-off of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Want to watch any of the videos from SOLIDWORKS World 2017? Check out its video library, which includes a full recording of the general sessions.