Siemens Releases Solid Edge ST9

Siemens introduces Solid Edge ST9 and, with it, a number of interesting improvements.

Last week at Siemens PLM Connection 2016, Siemens debuted its latest release of Solid Edge, the powerful mainstream MCAD package. In its latest iteration, ST9, Siemens’ engineers have added cloud licensing support, new modelling tools, scalable data management tools and more.

Solid Edge ST9’s Cloud Integration

One of the biggest trends driving CAD is the prevailing presence of the cloud. With the cloud, users are able to store their data, call down unbelievable computing resources and free themselves from the shackles of the workstation.

In fact, now that CAD has gone mobile (you can use it on a tablet, a MacBook and even a smartphone), there’s a greater demand for cloud licensing features that give users the flexibility to download, log in and use their design software, wherever they may be.

To meet this new demand, Siemens is now offering a cloud licensing option that will allow users to store their Solid Edge license on a server and call it down from anywhere on any machine to complete their design work, no matter where they are on the planet. With the cloud licensing option, users can simply log into their Solid Edge account, download the software, and begin work.

In addition, user preferences can also be stored in the cloud, so no matter where you’re working from, your Solid Edge installation will come outfitted with all of the user interface and layout options that you’d find on your base workstation.

Hybrid Modeling Upgrades

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of CAD, Siemens hasn’t skimped on upgrading the tools available to users in ST9. In this latest edition of Solid Edge, users will have access to a “hybrid synchronous ordered mode” that gives users a visual preview of the changes being made to geometry before its actually created. With this new tool, designers can take much of the guesswork out of modeling by getting visual feedback on their modeling decision. Simply put, it’s like seeing into the future.

What’s also interesting about hybrid synchronous ordered mode is that it allows designer to explore radical design options quickly because the results of an action are presented live. In the past, this type of modeling would have been frowned upon, as it was time-consuming and the results couldn’t be foreseen. With hybrid synchronous ordered mode, that paradigm may have changed.

Aside from the hybrid synchronous ordered upgrade, ST9 also features several other modeling upgrades. In this latest version of Solid Edge, users can remove material along a path with a sweep command, multiple faces in an assembly can be replaced with a single surface and repetitive actions like building multiple identical bodies or profiles can be automated with incredible speed.

Assemblies have also received some treatment in ST9. Now, large assemblies that were once too unwieldy to examine effectively can be done so via an intuitive tree structure that visually displays assembly relationships. If components within an assembly need to be identified, they can be selected in the tree and will be highlighted in the ST9 model space.

Catchbook Finds a Home in ST9

If you’re at all familiar with Siemens’ recent history in the CAD domain, chances are you’ve heard of Catchbook, the tablet drawing app that the company has been proudly positioning for over a year. Well, Catchbook is finally making its debut with Solid Edge ST9.

Now, Catchbook users will be able to import the 2D drawings that that they’ve created on their tablets into ST9 and use them as sketches to build components. While that might seem a bit redundant given ST9’s cloud licensing capabilities, Catchbook’s integration might not be directed at the CAD guru. With its ease of use, Catchbook might be a way that firms can bring clients that aren’t familiar with CAD into the design process with a simple and easy-to-use app.

Enhanced 3D Printing Integration

3D printing is becoming a critical part of product design. Now, users expect to be able to take a design from a digital CAD environment and transform it into something real with the click of a button. Well, in ST9, that reality is coming ever closer to being true.

In ST9, users now have the ability to preview how their components will be printed with a new Solid Print preview tool based on Microsoft’s 3D builder app. With this new tool, users can interrogate the fidelity of their model before they send it off to a local printer or a service bureau, ensuring that prints come back error free.  

Scalable Data Management

With the rise of the Internet of Things and the ease with which complex electronics can be embedded within products, it’s becoming more difficult to manage all of the data and specs that codify a design’s makeup. To make up for this increase in complexity, Solid Edge ST9 now includes built-in data management tools that will help smaller manufacturers handle the loads of data associated with their products.

In this new solution, firms will be able to eschew the installation and upkeep of Microsoft SQL Server or SharePoint software and use Windows’ native search to keep track of file names, file links and properties. After a simple indexing, files will be able to be located quickly.

What’s most promising about this development is that this new data management solution doesn’t require IT. That makes it an effective cost-saving measure for smaller engineering firms.

In addition to its new search tools, ST9 also comes equipped with enhanced Teamcenter features. Now, users will be able to access Teamcenter commands from a ribbon and a new embedded Active Workspace window. From the ribbon, users can quickly make “where-used” queries, modify object properties, and kickstart other Teamcenter actions.

When it comes to the new Active Workspace setup, ST9 has created a visual and customizable place for users to build searches with filters to locate components by attributes so they can be quickly added to complex assemblies.

A Final Thought

Although Solid Edge continues to be an underadvertised commodity, its quality as a CAD package is unrivalled. With its Synchronous Technology and intuitive user interface, Solid Edge should be considered by any engineering firm looking for entry into 3D MCAD—or looking to make a design software switch. The amount of improvements made in ST9 underscores Siemens’ commitment to make Solid Edge the ultimate mainstream MCAD program.

Given the prominence placed on Solid Edge at the Siemens’ annual North American user meeting, including its launch ahead of Solid Edge’s own user conference later this year, one might start to believe that Siemens is finally ready to market and promote Solid Edge, rather than continue to keep it a well-kept secret. If that happens, and only if that happens, will the likes of Autodesk and Dassault Systèmes, themselves very effective marketing machines, have reason to fear a migration of CAD users from their camps.