Solid Edge University 2015 was a great success. Unlike last year’s event where product enhancements were the lion’s share of the conference, this year seemed to be more of a balance between overall product improvements, customer driven enhancement, and a greater focus on hybrid modeling balance.

A great shot during Solid Edge University

I just happened to be going by and through the lighting was sweet.

General session

John Miller, Sr. Vice-President of Mainstream Engineering Software at Siemens, began by reminding everyone that we were celebrating Solid Edge’s 20th anniversary (I didn’t realize it was that old). He moved on to introduce one of Siemens’ new initiatives to expand its educational reach, and help get Solid Edge into the hands of the emerging generation – Academic Ambassador Pack, a collection of resources to help introduce green power and Solid Edge at Universities.

The session rapidly moved onto the 200 or so, 3rd party developments for Solid Edge. John started the never-ending chant of “there’s an app for that!” As painful as that was, there did seem to be something available for many needs.

After encouraging everyone to try their hand at Solid Edge Certification, he demanded that we “get social”, and “Go have fun!” Pretty much what I had already planned.

Keynote Speaker Philip Norman of Ross Robotics

There was a lot of discussion about Norman. While we were expecting to see more about his showcase robot, what we did not expect was how he intended to explain its development. He recounted his experiences as an eclectic artist, then, architect, then industrial designer, and how he engrossed he was studying nature, and trying to mathematically understand the patterns that emerged.

Solid Edge University 2015 Keynote Ross Robotics

Solid Edge University 2015 Ross Robotics

Norman’s presentation began to shift, as he recounted dragging his family from one part of the world to another as he worked in numerous capacities, continuing to seek out how things could be made better.

“Integritas, Consonantia, and Claritas; When a design begins to become more than the sum of its parts.”

Norman quoted St. Thomas’ identification of the three properties of beauty: Integrity, proportion, and clarity and went on to describe his observations of his children with building systems such as Legos and Connex, and how these had so many differ parts that were required to connect in ways in order to build a structure [and in my mind, more importantly], how they only connected 2-dimensionally. He began to rethink connective components not only in a modular way, but in 3D connective manner.

The eclectic journey Norman took attendees on would not be complete without engineering courtesy of the roach. Norman noted how roaches can scale odd terrain because of the appendages on their legs, and realized that is what his wheels were missing – feet. As odd as it sounds, it’s a brilliant idea.

Solid Edge University 2015 Ross Robotics

Inevitably, the platform developed was not merely a robot, but a delivery unit that could bring remote sensing and manipulation to the needs of clientele; vendors and clients would benefit, giving sales opportunities where there were none before.

Solid Edge University 2015 Philip Norman

Philip Norman being interviewed during the event.

Matt Chapman from Microsoft

Chapman’s focus this year, was Microsoft’s new Surface 4 Pro, the thinnest full capability computer to date. During the presentation they showed a really nice video narrated by one of its Sr. Designers, wherein the tag line was “It touches your heart and inspires your mind”. It really was a good video; if you can’t sell with a presentation like that, you just can’t sell.

Solid Edge University 2015 Microsoft Surface 4

Microsoft had a big display setup with Solid Edge ST8 installed on demo units you could try out. It was mentioned on more than one occasion that Sean Cresswell had been running Solid Edge on a Surface, and had dumped all his other computing platforms in favor of it. After trying it myself, I have to say that’s one impressive little device. The Surface Book variant will come with a Core I7 CPU and an NVIDIA GPU.

Ken Hosch from Siemens

Hosch demonstrated a new sketching tool, and as you might expect, many viewers (including myself) were a bit skeptical; “it’s another sketch app”. However this one, like a few on the market that have remarkable differences, is actually useful for a designer.

Siemens’ Catchbook software is a digital ink program, capable of interpreting your intent during sketching, and converting these gestures as straight lines and curved arcs; it can find patterns and placements, equality of size among similar items, and more. It was a really cool tool, and honestly, I’ll probably buy it… right after I get that Microsoft Surface 4. Damn you Sean Cresswell, now I have to have one.

Solid Edge University 2015 Catchbook

Free Time at the Great American Ballpark

Siemens took us all to The Great American Ballpark, Reds’ Stadium in Cincinnati, where the owners were so kind to open the club level amenities for our enjoyment. Pool tables, foosball, air hockey, and corn hole were distributed about the multiple club spaces, as well as ample food. It was a far out idea, and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Solid Edge University 2015 The Great American Ballpark

The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

Solid Edge University 2015 The Great American Ballpark Club Level

The Club level at The Great American Ballpark.


The show was a success, and the only thing I think that was lacking was an extra day. With only 2 days, and parts of those dedicated to the introductions and closing, I came away feeling that there was a bit more I could have investigated and a lot more to learn. For companies that want to get most out of their Solid Edge investment, this is the place to be.

Every demo, including all Solid Edge ST8, were performed on a Surface 4. The show team capitalized on this by giving away a Surface 4 to one lucky attendee who completed the entry form, which was done by meeting with each vendor on the main floor. That’s not a bad way to add value for all your vendors and supporters, and to expose to some really cool solutions to various design, simulation, and management.

It was a great experience, and a great opportunity to learn more about the company of late, their initiatives and where they are trying to go with Solid Edge.

Come on and cut the Cake Bill!!!

Solid Edge’s 20th Anniversary celebration at the meet and greet event. “Come on Bill, cut the cake!”