Solid Edge ST8 has been available for a little while, but I wanted to touch the high points a bit after having attended Solid Edge University 2015 recently. ST8 was not a big release in terms of new tools, but consistent with the company dedication to its users, the release comes with numerous user requests fulfillment, and a few twists making it a great release overall.
Dan Staples, Vice President of Mainstream Engineering at Siemens PLM joined by Craig Ruchti, Global Technical Business Team, presented the enhancements this year at Solid Edge University 2015, noting the software enhancements were divided among three captions:
- Uniquely Powerful
- Access Unleashed
- User Experience
Note: Craig performed the entire ST8 demonstration from a Microsoft Surface 4 Pro.
Solid Edge ST8: Design Intent
That’s the phrase for “kiss Live Rules interface goodbye”. Live Rules are the maintained geometric relationships within the synchronous modeling environment, were conditions such as parallelism and concentricity are maintained during the editing process. That synchronous functionality is still there, but the big panel type UI has been discarded, in favor of a streamlined Design Intent dialog.
The reason for doing so was to aid new adoption of the software. New users often felt that the learning curve of using the old UI was too steep. Personally, I feel that there was nothing wrong with the old UI, you simply need to get used to it. Not only did the old UI tell you what was actively going on, it told you what wasn’t, and offered immediate access to turning these constraints on and off.
The new UI is however substantially cleaner; a sharper, more straightforward appearance. Rather than using a panel/icon approach as in the past, the expanding dialog is easy to read immediately for new users. The greatest benefit there is the clean sharp look, and that the dialog tells you only what is relevant to the current activity. The Hotkeys for adding and removing relationships are still present in interface.
Matt Lombard notes that the old “Live Rules” interface is still available through the Advanced Options at the lower side of the Design Intent dialog. Matt’s Design Intent post on Siemens PLM Community
Solid Edge ST8: Like Me Pattern Recognition in Synchronous
ST8 Synchronous can now recognize patterns of almost anything, rectangular and circular, including random geometries. In one demonstration, they imported a geared lever, wherein the gear tooth pattern was discovered automatically. One feature I thought was interesting was that not only was the pattern found, but also the gear teeth that would have been suppressed by the presence of the lever.
Solid Edge ST8: Pattern by Table
Pattern by Table is an interesting byproduct of Solid Edge’s very good pattern tools, and the new Excel Link capability. Users can select the features they wish to pattern, and then start the Pattern by Table command. An interface appears to present all the options to the user, including coordinate systems, instance suppression, and more. The process is middle managed by an instance table, and recorded in an Excel spreadsheet. The result is an Excel Link controlling the pattern. Since the entire feature is really an externally controlled Excel Link, the pattern can be any arrangement, not only rectangular or circular.
An interesting point that came up during the demonstration was that, as new rows were added to the spreadsheet on the fly, new instances were added automatically added in the Solid Edge model.
Solid Edge ST8: Enhanced Drawings
Draft enhancements were numerous, which is typical for Solid Edge who are proud of their drawing capabilities. I’ll try to touch on the larger points:
- More control is given to Solid Edge dimensions via a popup.
- Better formatting or notes and tolerancing
- Reference any term, feature, or dimension within notes
- References automatically update throughout drawing
- Callouts can reference technical requirements
- New handles for annotation and dimensional control
Solid Edge ST8: Drawing Compare
ST8 now has a Drawing Compare function, which give users an interface to navigate and easily discover differences between drawing changes.
Solid Edge ST8: Enhanced Harness Routing Features
- Improved ECAD import
- Persistent PMI
- Route through clips and geometries
- Splice wires and cables
Solid Edge ST8: Enhanced Welding
- Create Weld beads as parts on the fly
- Streamlined duplication of weld beads over multiple parts
- Easy extraction of bead property info in drawings
Solid Edge ST8: Digital Mockup
ST8 allows users to drive variables in Solid Edge that control component positioning in order to animate the design. This can be captured in the animation timeline, and written to video. The enhancement s include WMV file format support as well.
Solid Edge ST8: Manufacturing Improvements
CamExpress enhancements include:
- Enhanced PMI data transfer including holes
- Cut Regions for nest milling
- Impeller swarf cutting improvements
CAMWorks (integrated 3rd party) enhancements:
- WYSWYG with G-Code based machining simulation
- Casting input
- Tool crib priority and optimized tech database
Solid Edge ST8: Design Management Improvements
Solid Edge for SharePoint enhancements include:
- SharePoint 2013 support
- Simplified Creation and deletion of links
- Easier and extended access to design data
Teamcenter integration for Solid Edge
- Start Solid Edge from within Active Workspace web client
- Find Numbers Balloon drawings
- Enhancements to Auto-numbering of revisions
Conclusion and Cloud
Solid Edge ST8 is a valuable addition to the software, and a release worth upgrading for, if for no other reason than draft enhancements alone. As for the enhancements, we’ll cover more detail on these during the months to come.
One other thing to mention before I close is that Siemens PLM has been working on cloud options for its software, and testing of Solid Edge cloud is underway. I’ll comment more on that soon as well.
Read more in this overall summary of What’s New in Solid Edge ST8
Edited for accuracy: Ken Grundey wisely noted that our statement about spreadsheet linking was a bit behind the curve. Spreadsheet linking has been possible for at least back to ST5. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused our readers.