Solid Edge 2021 Adds Subdivision Modeling, an AI UI, and More
Michael Alba posted on July 15, 2020 |
New version touted as “best Solid Edge release in years.”
This control interface was created with subdivision modeling in Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)
This control interface was created with subdivision modeling in Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

It’s been a busy week for Siemens. After a surprise announcement yesterday that the company will partner with SAP for PLM, today Siemens hosted a less surprising, but no less welcome event: the virtual launch of Solid Edge 2021.

The latest version of Siemens’ CAD application (not just CAD, but a full design portfolio, as Siemens VP of R&D Dan Staples reminded viewers) is set to be released in “late summer” and includes a long list of new features and improvements. Highlights of the new release include:

  • New subdivision modeling capabilities
  • An adaptive user interface powered by artificial intelligence
  • Improved reverse engineering with new deviation analysis
  • Integration with CAD model search engine 3Dfind.it

Subdivision Modeling

The new subdivision modeling capabilities in Solid Edge 2021 provide users with the ability to create compelling organic shapes in record time. Minutes, not days, according to Staples. Throughout the virtual launch we heard various such claims—"hours to minutes,” “minutes to seconds,” and even “months to minutes.”

Subdivision modeling is not a separate add-on, Staples emphasized, and will be included directly in Solid Edge Classic and Premium tiers.

Screenshot of subdivision modeling in Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)
Screenshot of subdivision modeling in Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

“Subdivision modeling is very powerful. Having the ability to easily incorporate organic shapes into our product designs within the Solid Edge environment is a big deal for us. Having the process contained in one software solution without the need for importing, exporting and translating data is very important,” said Ricardo Espinosa, R&D engineering manager at Kimball.

“Solid Edge 2021 is, in my opinion, the best Solid Edge release in years!” he added.

AI User Interface

Solid Edge 2021 also boasts an AI-powered user interface, which supposedly learns the behavior of a user and presents them with relevant commands in the right context. This could end up being more annoying than useful, depending on how good the AI is, though Staples claims it gets better with use.

Solid Edge 2021 includes an AI UI that predicts the commands you’ll need next. If it’s anything like predictive text, it could be a mixed hag. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)
Solid Edge 2021 includes an AI UI that predicts the commands you’ll need next. If it’s anything like predictive text, it could be a mixed hag. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

Reverse Engineering

Another big feature in Solid Edge 2021 is the introduction of a new deviation analysis feature for reverse engineering. Deviation analysis shows users the differences between an original scan and the reverse engineered model with color coded visuals.

Screenshot of deviation analysis in Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)
Screenshot of deviation analysis in Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

3Dfind.it Integration

Solid Edge 2021 will include an integration with 3Dfind.it, a 3D part library from CADENAS. 3Dfind.it includes CAD and BIM catalogs from over 2000 suppliers—possibly millions of parts, in Staples’ estimation—that can be searched and sent to Solid Edge to save time hunting for supplier models.

Screenshot of 3Dfind.it for Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)
Screenshot of 3Dfind.it for Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

Multi-Flange Function and More

There are various other mechanical improvements in Solid Edge 2021, including improvements to sheet metal with a new multi-edge flange function (patent-pending, according to Staples), a new decal command, new end cap command, better assembly performance, and more.

Multi-edge flange function in Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)
Multi-edge flange function in Solid Edge 2021. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

Beyond Mechanical

Cabinet panel design in Solid Edge 2021 Wiring and Harness Design. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)
Cabinet panel design in Solid Edge 2021 Wiring and Harness Design. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

Solid Edge 2021 has been enhanced across the board, with new features not just for mechanical design, but also for electrical design, manufacturing, simulation, technical documentation, data management, and collaboration. For a full overview, you can watch the hour-long virtual launch. If you haven’t got an hour, here are a few highlights:

  • New cabinet panel design capabilities
  • New command to route wires along a surface
  • New modules for electronics cooling in Simcenter FLOEFD
  • Ability to suppress or remove components from the simulation pathfinder
  • Integration with Post Hub library of post processors
  • Comprehensive additive manufacturing checker
  • 2D nesting generation for sheet metal (“most efficient algorithm in the industry,” according to Staples)
  • New Shape Search product to find similar parts
  • New “Open As” command to, for example, open an assembly with a certain configuration directly from File Explorer
  • New browser-based collaboration tools to synchronize files, markup models, and review designs in AR

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