3DEXPERIENCE World 2020—Here’s What You Missed
Roopinder Tara posted on February 27, 2020 |
Notes from the show formerly known as SOLIDWORKS World.

There was a cold drizzle with cloudy skies over the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., through the duration of 3DEXPERIENCE World 2020, as SOLIDWORKS World is now known. But the mood inside was decidedly more upbeat. Here was SOLIDWORKSCEO Gian Paolo Bassi on a motorized surfboard, the wind in his hair. Here was software that was able to make humans whole, despite limbs lost to motor sports or strife. Here were wide-eyed leaders from startups that were determined to right the wrongs of the world, whether it be our plastic pollution or climate change.  Here were themed “costumes” that made kids in wheelchairs smile.

100% designed in SOLIDWORKS, so I was able to expense it, said CEO Gian Paolo Bassi. Sure hope so, as the Awake Rävik electric surfboard costs $24,000. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes video.)
100% designed in SOLIDWORKS, so I was able to expense it, said CEO Gian Paolo Bassi. Sure hope so, as the Awake Rävik electric surfboard costs $24,000. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes video.)

Bernard Charlès, CEO of SOLIDWORKS parent company, Dassault Systèmes, came on stage, as has become an annual habit, to ingratiate himself to the SOLIDWORKS user base. Throughout the conference, his loyal lieutenants came on stage to convince the mostly SOLIDWORKS user base assembled here for the purpose of educating themselves on SOLIDWORKS, how much better off they would be if only they would adopt the 3DEXPERIENCE, making them more collaborative and web enabled.

Really, why wouldn’t they? Would they not benefit from sketching freely, communicating in real time, using a single source of truth, and buying from a marketplace of available resources and services? Should they not get up to date and be modern like the users of every other software genre has done? Dassault Systèmes patiently waits for SOLIDWORKS users to realize what they really need.

It doesn’t take long into the conference to realize the word of the day is “platform.” As in the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE being “the platform for knowledge and know-how,” per Charlès. And SOLIDWORKS, with this year’s event, is solidly (pun intended) on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Role Your Own

We find out more about “Roles,” or product groups, that offer various Dassault Systèmes products.

“A role is like a job description,” said Bassi, depending on whether you are in the traditional roles of design, simulation or manufacturing, but more thoughtful and specific roles, if you are a “3D Sculptor,” “Structural Mechanics Engineer,” “Collaborative Business Innovator,” and many more. There’s 328 and no telling that they won’t make more. You can see them all here https://www.3ds.com/products-services/3dexperience/portfolio/.

Dassault Systèmes has rearranged its portfolio of applications, including SOLIDWORKS, around these roles. The goal appears to be having many applications—some of them small modules and others being full-size applications—all buzzing around a common data model. All the applications will (eventually) be web enabled and on the cloud, and all will (eventually) be available through subscription. Roles will be managed and subscriptions will be purchased from a role portal. It’s all super modern and makes perfect sense to offer a toolbox with all the right tools for every craft. But what does it do for the workers who were happy enough with the tools they had?

Perhaps event organizers sensed this, and SOLIDWORKS users in the audience were assured. The SOLIDWORKS products they know and love are not going away, nor is their continued refinement. SOLIDWORKS CEO was careful to show that existing SOLIDWORKS desktop products will fit into three versions of the 3DEXPERIENCE Works: the 3DEXPERIENCE Works Standard includes SOLIDWORKS Standard, 3DEXPERIENCE Works Professional includes SOLIDWORKS Professional, and 3DEXPERIENCE Works Premium includes SOLIDWORKS Premium. And, there’s more. The 3DEXPERIENCE Works Standard package has many other goodies, including apps like 3D Creator, a Collaborative Designer, Collaborative Industry Innovator and Collaborative Business Innovator. With the next level up, 3DEXPERIENCE Works Professional, you also get 3D Sculptor. At the top level, 3DEXPERIENCE Works Premium, you get everything included in the other levels plus 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Simulation.

All you’ll have to do is pick a role closest to your job description, and Dassault Systèmes will shower you with all the apps you need to do your job. For example, suppose you identify as an Aesthetic Shape Modeler, your toolbox will come with 18 different tools to do every task you could possibly come across in your job, including an app for 3D printing, one for digitized shape preparation, CATIA, SIMULIA, and others. You won’t need SOLIDWORKS, though, so it’s not included.

Some roles, like the 3D Sheet Metal Creator role, will be available later this year.

Stay tuned for pricing, although we heard from the stage that the cost will be a bargain compared to what current SOLIDWORKS users are paying for, because of all the extras you will be getting. Like xDesign, a 3D design application is full of “little delighters” that use AI to help you design, such as a Selection Helper that finds features in your part similar to your selection, and Sketch Helper that will make suggestions as you are sketching, and Mate Helper that will mate to nearby parts.

How cool am I? A Magic Wheelchair is a flight of fancy, transforming a kid’s wheelchair into a rolling costume. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes video.)
How cool am I? A Magic Wheelchair is a flight of fancy, transforming a kid’s wheelchair into a rolling costume. (Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes video.)


Christine Getman, executive director of Magic Wheelchair, with Christian Bagg, who used a Marine Corp themed “costume” on his downhill sports wheelchair.
Christine Getman, executive director of Magic Wheelchair, with Christian Bagg, who used a Marine Corp themed “costume” on his downhill sports wheelchair.

Magic Wheelchair

The star of the show may have been Christine Getman, executive director of Magic Wheelchair, who rolled onstage with the biggest smile of all to tell the World about her creations—wonderfully themed contraptions like the Mad Hatters Tea Party, the Hulk and Spiderman inspirations, X-wing starfighters from Star Wars, all of which are unique and handmade, and help liberate a kid from their wheelchair into a fantasy role.

For this, the kids and their families pay nothing. Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit funded by donations.

Getman suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA. As a young child, she loved to cosplay, or costume play, a social phenomenon on prominent display at Comic Con. Getman used cardboard to make costumes for her wheelchair. Despite her disability, she went on to get two bachelor’s degrees from Portland State University, one in psychology and another in community health education. Then it was on to a career with nonprofits. She started Magic Wheelchair along with Ryan Weimer, a builder whose children both have SMA. Getman never left her love of cosplay behind and now is able to put into play a plan to make costumes for disabled children all over the world, all lovingly handmade by local make community volunteers and led by “build mentors.” And with the money Getman raises, the costumes don’t have to be made out of just cardboard.

One of the volunteers was Christian Bagg, featured in EngineersRule.com, who appeared on stage with his Marine Corp themed “costume” for his downhill sports wheelchair.

The Tesla of the Surfboards

The Awake Rävik is an electric surfboard. With its lithium batteries and 11-kilowatt motor, the board can give you a full 40 minutes of thrills at up to 30 knots (56 kph). The battery pack can be swapped out for another to provide endless fun in the wind and waves, or no wind, whatever the case may be.

The Rävik uses the water it is riding on to cool its motor. The 77-lb mostly carbon fiber board enters the water with some competition. Another board already claims it is faster—though by only another 3 mph.

Most riders, unlike CEO Bassi, use the board wearing helmets, presumably to avoid brain damage from piers, rocks and coral hit at 30 knots.

The board has a handheld wireless controller, and you can get all the performance indications on a screen. Just like a Tesla, only smaller.

The board has sensors to bring it to a halt should the rider lose contact with it.

In Attendance

3DEXPERIENCE was attended by six thousand people total, according to the event organizers—or about the same attendance as last year. That must have not been easy, this year being the year of COVID-19, aka the corona virus. Trepidation about travel was apparent. I’ve never seen so many people wearing masks at U.S. domestic airport terminals. One recent conference (the 100,000+ attendee Mobile World Conference in Barcelona) was cancelled outright.

While maintaining similar attendance to last year is commendable under the circumstances, we are reminded that SOLIDWORKS executives at 3DEXPERIENCE World 2019 predicted 30,000 attendees for this year’s show (see Scenes from the Last World, in CAD Insider). That would have made it the biggest CAD-related show in the world (Autodesk University, the current leader, has 11,000 attendees) and it was going to be done by inviting users of other Dassault Systèmes software. The exhibit floor, normally packed with over a hundred exhibitors, had only 75 exhibitors this year.

Still, many SOLIDWORKS users found their way to Nashville, their annual pilgrimage to better themselves at their craft was not to be denied. They will have to do that again next year as 3DEXPERIENCE World repeats in Nashville.


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