Software Profile: Solidworks

Software Profile: Solidworks

This series of software profiles will focus on CAD software applications meant to be used by engineering organizations for discrete manufacturers. In each post, an overview of the software’s capabilities will be provided and details on which industries use them most frequently.


CAD Application(s): Solidworks, Solidworks Mechanical Conceptual, Solidworks Industrial Conceptual

Software Provider: Dassault Systèmes

Capabilities and Partners

Solidworks is a mature desktop CAD software application. And as such, it has a well rounded set of capabilities.

From a modeling perspective, it relies on the traditional parametric feature-based modeling approach to creating geometry. It offers a full set of drawing functionality, assembly tools as well as many simulation technologies, covering both fluid dynamics and structures. Furthermore, it provides some capabilities to support materials compliance and green design efforts. Notably, Solidworks has not adopted direct modeling capabilities into the desktop CAD application as of yet.

Additionally, Solidworks has built out a large and wide ecosystem of software partners. These partners provide add-ons to the desktop application that extend its capabilities, including NC machining, ECAD design and much more.

Industries and User Base

Since its inception, Solidworks has been adopted most widely in small to mid-sized manufacturers. Specifically, Solidworks has gained traction with manufacturers of industrial machinery.

Solidworks has also been well known for their fervent user base, with attendees of their annual Soldworks World event frequently topping 5,000. The user base is also very active with numerous bloggers, trainers and resellers.

Looking Forward

Going forward, the future of Solidworks will be closely tied to Dassault Systèmes’ larger version of 3D Experience (link to multiple posts). Proof that this vision has become integrated into Solidworks comes in the form of Solidworks Mechanical Conceptual (posts here and here) as well as Solidworks Industrial Conceptual, both of which were formally released at Solidworks World 2014. Specifically, there are two trends to watch: the integration of Solidworks functionality with other Dassault Systèmes software products and a potential move to the cloud.

For the Solidworks desktop application, however, Dassault Systèmes has promised to stay the course. They have specifically stated that they will maintain it as a desktop application as long as the user base desires it to be so. This bodes well for the software, as Solidworks has continuously done a good job of addressing the list of top requested enhancements from users of the years.