An Interview with Mr. John Fox, Vice President Marketing, Mainstream Engineering business (Solid Edge), Siemens PLM Software
What are the trends that you see in the CAD and product development market going into 2019?
Manufacturing companies worldwide are undergoing a transformation in product, process and in the very definition of manufacturing. Those who don’t keep up are likely to find themselves outpaced. I think companies need to digitize the product development process, need to bring more aspects into digital world. Digitalization offers tremendous potential for business transformation. Leaders are looking to make the most of the opportunities inherent in these linked technologies to achieve specific business goals. Larger companies were among the first to reap the dividends of digital transformation, but now, advanced digital technologies are becoming more affordable and easier to use, smaller manufacturers can reap the benefits. This democratization of technology is leveling the competitive playing field. In fact since smaller companies are more nimble they can adopt technologies more quickly and actually gain an advantage over larger, slower companies. There’s plenty more benefit to come from digitalization. Technologies such as additive manufacturing point towards a redefinition of the whole manufacturing process bringing with it radical changes in the way things are designed, made, and used. And it’s disrupting every industry.
How are these trends shaping Solid Edge?
Continuing with the trend that we started several years back, we are expanding the breadth of the Solid Edge portfolio beyond our core strengths in mechanical design, simulation, manufacturing, and data management. In last year’srelease we added technical publications, including two new products: Solid Edge Illustrations and Solid Edge 3D Publishing. In our latest version, Solid Edge 2019, we have now introduced electrical design capabilities along with very tight integration of our mechanical and electrical solutions – based on industry-leading Mentor Graphics technologies. In latest release we have Solid Edge 2019 also includes data management and cloud collaboration; design for cost; manufacturing; mechanical design; modular plant design; next-generation design; PCB design and collaboration; requirements management; structural, thermal and flow simulation; and wiring and harness design.
Along with the core CAD we are expanding the breadth of our portfolio by adding the technologies that we recently acquired. We made many changes, added new features suggested by our users to make our software easier, more affordable and accessible to our users.
Solid Edge 2019 offers enhanced structural and thermal simulation, including transient heat transfer. Time-based history analysis enables simulation of thermal and cooling performance. Free surface flow simulation, lighting and radiation capabilities gives digital results for analysis.
On manufacturing ground we are doing great stuff both in the traditional and additive segment, SE Manufacturing we have Solid Edge CAM Pro – a comprehensive, highly flexible system that uses the latest machining technology to efficiently program your CNC machine tools, from simple NC programming to high-speed and multi-axis machining. Associative toolpaths for parts and assemblies speed design changes and updates. In addition to traditional manufacturing processes, Solid Edge supports automated print preparation and color printing for additive manufacturing directly to your printer or 3D printing services so you can make your ideas a reality.
New design for additive manufacturing capabilities include better control of shapes, weight and strength, and specific factors of safety to enable customers to develop new designs never before possible. Solid Edge also automates print preparation, including multi-color, multi-material printing capability, which reduces bill of material size and parts inventory and decreases dependency on costly manufacturing equipment. Additionally, these new capabilities enable manufacturers to produce low production lots very quickly and affordably.
The latest release of Solid Edge provides new modular plant design capabilities, with Solid Edge P&ID Design and Solid Edge Piping Design. Providing 2D flow diagram and symbol support for P&ID creation, Solid Edge P&ID Design supports strict governing requirements for plant design. Combined with Solid Edge Piping Design capabilities such as automated 3D piping design with comprehensive 3D part libraries and fully automated isometric drawing output for plant design, these new features can help reduce design errors and ensure efficient piping design in industries such as Oil & Gas.
Do you have any customer using Solid Edge for 3D printing?
Yes, we have many examples. One of our customers, a small company in the US, designs vehicles for the off-road racing industry. They are using Solid Edge’s new generative design capabilities to design never before achievable structures and additive manufacturing making production of these structures possible for the first time. Recently the firm has developed an innovative gas pedal assembly using generative design and 3D printing. They created a single organic shape pedal that had fewer parts and welds, was easier to make, and performed better in the field. Topology optimization in the guise of generativedesign offers interesting possibilities like these.
Also our Convergent Modeling technology is bridging the gap between traditional b-rep models and mesh models produced by generative design and 3D scanning. More and more customers want to work with the mesh models. Convergent modeling allows the user to bring in mesh-based data and use it alongside other, more traditional geometry, such as solids and surfaces and convert them into a solid, then usable in solid modeling operations in Solid Edge, such as add, subtract and union. Our technology is very unique in terms of offerings so this is really powerful stuff.
Why Solid Edge 2019 is not promoted as ST (Synchronous Technology) Version?
Good question, I have talked about the extension of Solid Edge portfolio. Solid Edge 2019 adds best-in-class electrical and printed circuit board (PCB) design technologies, new requirements management capabilities, fully integrated simulation analysis, the latest tools for subtractive and additive manufacturing, and free secure cloud-based project collaboration. The expanded portfolio makes it even easier for customers of all business sizes to realize innovation by taking advantage of the end-to-end digital twin. We now have multiple products under this umbrella brand. I think this is the right time to get away from that ST nomenclature. Synchronous Technology is still there – we continue to enhance it, and it remains a very strong differentiator for us – but this year is perfect time to tell users that something big is happening, and now Solid Edge is much more than a CAD package.
Is generative modeling replacing Synchronous Technology?
No. Synchronous Technology is a blend of history-based and history-free modeling.Whereas Generative design is bridging the gap between mesh modeling and b-spline. It is similar in a way but very distinct technologies with their own benefits.
How is Solid Edge solving CAD collaboration challenges for users?
In Solid Edge ST9 and ST10 we have introduced cloud-enabled design. Users can use these features to share their personalized settings across different computers, and share files anywhere across their organization and anywhere in the world, using the cloud. Now, we’ve introduced something new – Solid Edge Portal, which offers free cloud-based file management and collaboration with 5GB of free storage. Solid Edge Portal can be used by anyone, no matter what CAD system they are using. Your readers can sign up at www.siemens.com/plm/portal
Solid Edge has many data management capabilities as an integral part of the core 3D CAD software. These include integration into Windows Explorer, which enables users to view thumbnails of parts and assemblies, and right click operations to open Solid Edge files in utilities like Revision Manager and View and Markup.
Last year we have introduced Solid Edge PDM to take collaboration further; it is CAD data management solutions that meet the needs of all manufacturers, from startups and very small firms to larger manufacturers with distributed operations.
Users can view Solid Edge parts, assemblies and drawings, as well as data in most common 3D CAD formats including neutral formats, 3D print data files, SolidWorks, CATIA V4 V5 V6, Creo, Inventor, Rhino 3D, and more. Pan, zoom and rotate, view 3D cross sections, and show and hide components or explode assemblies.
Why Solid Edge is best for Startups and what are your offerings for Startups in India?
Hardware startups are growing these days. There are many new companies developing innovative products. It opened doors for new manufacturing technologies for prototyping, affordable electronic, global communication and new types of finance available for startups. With Solid Edge we want to provide right software tool to these companies to help them to develop better products. Solid Edge is an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use portfolio of software tools that addresses all aspects of the product development process – CAD design and rendering, simulation, manufacturing, data management and more. We provide learning resources, a fantastic community, and unique technology that allow you to design the way you want.
I am here in India this week to launch our Solid Edge for Startups program; we have not promoted it in India before. If you are a startup, if you are less than three years old, making less than one million dollars, and have less than 1 million dollars in outside investment you can potentially qualify. You can be company designing or making a product, being in services. Our startup program is unique in the industry because it’s open to engineering service providers as well as product makers. There is no application fee. We give the annual subscription to startups offering them the licenses equal to number of users they have. Startups in many countries are already participating and we are happy to bring it to India. . We would welcome startups in India to apply via our website at www.siemens.com/plm/startup
About Mr. John Fox
John Fox is Vice President of Marketing at Siemens PLM Software. John is responsible for defining, planning and executing the worldwide marketing strategy for all Mainstream Engineering products, including Solid Edge and Femap, part of Siemens PLM Software’s Simcenter portfolio. He has more than 20years of management and product development experience in the electronics, high tech and software industries, with previous roles at PTC, Accenture and semi-conductor equipment maker Kulicke&Soffa Industries. John has a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
I would like to thank Mr. John Fox for taking the time to answer my questions. Thanks to Siemens PLM India team for arranging this interview.
Check what’s new in Solid Edge 2019 – www.siemens.com/plm/solidedge2019.
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