SolidWorks 2006 Office Premium:
Office Premium adds Routing, COSMOSMotion, and
COSMOSWorks Designer, shows extraordinary large
assembly performance, improves DWG, enhances drawings,
and adds many enhancements
This report reviews and comments on the advanced capabilities added to
SolidWorks 2006 Office Premium.
January, 2006
Author: Raymond Kurland, TechniCom, Inc.
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Table of Contents
Executive Summary ………………………………………………………………………………1
How we performed our review ……………………………………………………………….1
SolidWorks 2006 ………………………………………………………………………………….3
The products…………………………………………………………………………………….3
COSMOSMotion now part of Office Premium for built-in SolidWorks physical
Drawing enhancements – continuing to make the drawing process easier ……………7
DWG capability allows reading and modifying AutoCAD DWG and DXF files …………8
PDMWorks – PDM without IT resources……………………………………………………..8
COSMOS adds exceptional capabilities that make analysis easy to use……………….9
Smart Components define how assembly parts behave………………………………..11
Large assembly performance vastly improved …………………………………………..13
Sketch blocks allow large scale machine design using 2D layouts……………………13
About the author ……………………………………………………………………………..14
Helpful URLs …………………………………………………………………………………..15
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Executive Summary
How we performed our review
This paper focuses on certain advanced capabilities of SolidWorks 2006, and takes a
closer look at the analysis portion of the Office Premium product, which began life
with SolidWorks 2005, and was expanded in SolidWorks 2006. We are limiting the
scope of this paper to only some enhancements; SolidWorks has available exhaustive
detailed descriptions of all of the SW 2006 enhancements upon request, via its web
For this review, in early December 2005, I met at SolidWorks headquarters with
Fielder Hiss, Manager of SolidWorks Product Management, Kishore Boyalakuntla,
Technical manager for analysis products, Joy Garon, Product Manager for the PDM
product line, and Aaron Kelly, Director of Product Management. I spent the entire
day reviewing the specialized capabilities of SolidWorks 2006 and some data about
the company performance.
The opinions and explanations are solely mine. I am always pleased to get responses
from readers, who can contact me at
SolidWorks 2006 previewed at SolidWorks World in January 2005 and shipped in the
summer of 2005. Currently there are 3 versions – SolidWorks, SolidWorks Office
Professional and SolidWorks Office Premium.
SolidWorks continues its strong showing, both in seat count and revenue, averaging
more than a 15% year to year growth for the last several years, about twice the
growth rate of the CAD business. More than half the sales come from customers
migrating from 2D. Of new buyers of SolidWorks, more than 50% buy SolidWorks
Professional or Office Premium.
SolidWorks revenue SolidWorks cumulative seats sold (000’s)
One method of gauging which CAD system is actually used is to sample an on-line
employee site, such as As shown below, SolidWorks led in this
snapshot as of last April and continues to dominate in January 2006 by almost three
times its nearest competitor.
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Autodesk Inventor
Mechanical Desktop
Solid Edge
CADKEY most requested 3D design skill – January 2006
Source: TechniCom, Inc.
In the year since we last saw this chart, the gap has widened.
What we will focus on:
• Tremendous performance improvements, allowing even the largest
assemblies to be easily and quickly manipulated;
• .dwg capabilities improve further the experience of users needing to access
and maintain AutoCAD compatible drawings;(Top Read: Latest Autocad Promo Codes)
• Drawing enhancements – everybody has to produce drawings. The 2006
version is better than ever;
• The physical simulation embedded in SolidWorks for examining the motion of
assemblies uses Office Premium’s built-in COSMOSMotion, allowing more
actions and easier analysis, while maintaining ease of use;
• COSMOSWorks Designer adds sophisticated analysis and excellent guidance,
enhancing its results, even for casual analysis users;
• PDMWorks adds to its utility for team data management, facilitating design
reuse with revision control, vaulting, searching, and lifecycle state control, all
with no IT requirements and database independence.
Our conclusions are discussed in each section and summarized at the end of this
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SolidWorks 2006
The products
We hope the tables below clear up any confusion about the scope of the SolidWorks
offerings. The Office Premium product, new for SolidWorks 2006, adds Routing,
COSMOSWorks Designer, and COSMOSMotion to the Office Professional product for a
premium of only $2500. SolidWorks still costs $3995; Office Professional costs
$5495; and Office Premium costs $7995 (all are single user, USD pricing).
SolidWorks Office Professional represents such clear value that more than 50% of
new users buy this product. For those users needing advanced capabilities,
SolidWorks Office Premium is a huge bargain; similar analysis capabilities available
in the marketplace often start at $5000.
Table 1 – The SolidWorks Product Line
SolidWorks SolidWorks
SolidWorks   
DWGeditor (3 for every license
of SolidWorks)
  
COSMOSXpress   
MoldflowXpress   
eDrawings Professional  
SolidWorks Utilities  
SolidWorks Animator  
SolidWorks Toolbox  
FeatureWorks  
PhotoWorks  
SolidWorks Task Scheduler  
3D Instant Website  
SolidWorks Design Checker  
PDMWorks  
SolidWorks Routing 
COSMOSWorks Designer 
COSMOSMotion 
Table 2 – A brief description of the SolidWorks software tools
• SolidWorks — 3D solid modeler.
• DWGeditor — Enables you to edit and create native DWG files in a familiar user
• COSMOSXpress — a point-and-click stress analysis Wizard built into SolidWorks 3D
modeling software.
• MoldflowXpress — a plastic fill analysis Wizard built into SolidWorks 3D modeling
software. MoldflowXpress guides you step-by-step through the fill analysis process to
help minimize material and optimize cycle time.
• eDrawings Professional — Generate accurate representations of 2D and 3D models
that anyone can view, mark up, and measure without having to purchase their own
markup tools.
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• SolidWorks Utilities — Find differences between two versions of the same part quickly
and easily.
• SolidWorks Animator — Create compelling AVI files from SolidWorks parts and
• SolidWorks Toolbox– Automate assembly tasks with a library of standard parts.
• FeatureWorks — Feature recognition software simplifies the reuse of 3D CAD data
created in varied file formats.
• PhotoWorks — Create photorealistic images.
• SolidWorks Task Scheduler –Saves time by enabling you to schedule resource
intensive tasks, such as batch printing, running of analyses, and updating of project
files during periods when you will be away from your workstation.
• 3D Instant Website — Create and publish live web pages with 3D interactive content.
• SolidWorks Design Checker — A timesaving tool for ensuring compliance with your
organization’s design standards.
• PDMWorks — Minimize errors and duplicated efforts by capturing file revision histories
automatically. Access desired files, determine who has worked on them, and see
exactly when changes were made.
• SolidWorks Routing –Enables you to quickly and easily design pipe, tube, and
electrical routes in your product designs.
• COSMOSWorks Designer — contains the most frequently used design validation tools,
offering stress, strain, and displacement analysis capabilities for both parts and
• COSMOSMotion – allows designers to simulate mechanical operations of moving
assemblies and the physical forces they generate.
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COSMOSMotion now part of Office Premium for built-in SolidWorks physical
COSMOSMotion built-in, now allows advanced physical simulation of SolidWorks
models, adding at a bargain price, advanced motion analysis function. The physical
motion is automatically derived within SolidWorks by users building an assembly with
the normal mating conditions and linkages. New is the ability of COSMOSXpress to
easily perform stress analyses on a part in an assembly. The full capabilities of
COSMOSMotion are available in SolidWorks Office Premium.
In the example of the lift assembly shown below, once the user builds his assembly,
all of the data needed for analysis of the model, in terms of motion and linkages, has
already been incorporated into the design. The three images below show the steps to
take an assembly with Physical Simulation and transfer the loads and boundary
conditions to COSMOSXpress to automatically set up the analysis problem. No
additional input is necessary for motion analysis providing the user has entered
material types for each of the parts. The system then can calculate weight and mass
properties, as well as use the material types for input to the FEA calculations.
Physical Simulation allows designers to insert motors and gravity in order to simulation how
assemblies operate in real life.
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The forces from physical simulation can then be transferred to COSMOSXpress to set up the
boundary conditions for a structural analysis of the link arm of the lift assembly. This
automation reduces the need for users to worry about how to correctly set up the structural
With the problem setup automatically using the forces from how the assembly moves,
designers using COSMOSXpress can now see if the design of the link arm is sufficient.
This simple example shows just some of the benefits beginning to emerge from
having a fully integrated analysis company — a unique synergy in the mainstream
market. These include closely directing the development direction of COSMOS to
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provide better integration with SolidWorks. This is clearly evident in its ease of
implementation, ease of training, and smooth integration with advanced COSMOS
Drawing enhancements – continuing to make the drawing process easier
SolidWorks continues to enhance its drawing capabilities. We reviewed some of the
more interesting enhancements for detailing SolidWorks 3D models. These included:
Spell-check for an entire drawing, text boxes on a drawing, limiting the depth
visibility of section views, model rotation within drawing views, and expansion of the
DWG capability to read and write AutoCAD files.
Spell-check interrogates an entire drawing to see if there are any spelling errors, an
often requested feature, and the only 3D system that has this capability.
“Text in a box” is impressive; re-sizing the text box automatically reconfigures the
text internally. An enhanced table capability allows adding add rows and columns,
and can also incorporate some equation logic. Users can ask for the sum of a
column, which automatically calculates the total and places it on the drawing.
Section view depth allows the user to limit the depth that you visualize from a
particular section cut, thus making this function more useful. Depth limitation
operates as if there were a plane at the extent of the selected depth, hiding
everything behind it.
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A 3D drawing view enhancement allows you to rotate out of the plane in a specific
view. It allows the user of a drawing (on the computer, not paper) the ability to
rotate any view, to better visualize what that view represents. This unique capability
in SolidWorks is one that I have never seen before. It operates extremely fast and
can snap back, on command, to the original position. I loved this and I am sure
users will too.
DWG capability allows reading and modifying AutoCAD DWG and DXF files
The DWG capability, which allows reading and writing of AutoCAD files, continues to
be enhanced. The DWG series now consists of the DWGeditor, DWGgateway and the
DWGviewer. The DWGgateway and DWGviewer are free. More information on the
DWG Series can be gotten from . Three copies of DWGeditor
are included with each version of SolidWorks. The DWGeditor allows users to directly
open AutoCAD DWG files. It uses the OpenDWG libraries and was first released in
SolidWorks 2005. DWGeditor for SolidWorks 2006 has more enhancements, is easier
to use, offers the 3 to 1 licensing ratio, and provides proxy entity support for
AutoCAD mechanical and electrical extensions.
Different than AutoCAD, SolidWorks 2006 supports AutoCAD, DWG and DXF data, all
the way back AutoCAD 2.5 and allows users to save the data in any of the supported
formats; even in AutoCAD 2006 format. DWGgateway, a plug-in for AutoCAD, allows
AutoCAD users to open any version of AutoCAD files and save it in any of the
supported versions. Users downloaded more than 250,000 copies of this free
software download by the end of 2005. The current version of DWGgateway also
allows saving in acrobat (.pdf) format.
DWGviewer is actually eDrawings. For some time, eDrawings has had the capability
to open and view DWG and DXF files. SolidWorks believes that by providing this
capability, the company adds value for their customers by eliminating the need to
keep inactive 2D seats.
PDMWorks – PDM without IT resources
PDMWorks, included as part of SolidWorks Office Professional and SolidWorks office
Premium, adds to its utility for team data management, facilitating design reuse with
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revision control, vaulting, searching, and lifecycle state control (simplistic workflow),
all with no IT requirements and database independence.
PDMWorks has impressive capabilities for team data management — enabling the
sharing of information during the development phase. Without the need for extensive
IT support, this capability is not only a no brainer for most SolidWorks installations,
but also adds web based collaboration, a facility for editing product data making
starting new projects easier, and security.
For users desiring a move to enterprise data management, offering both benefits and
added complexity, a wizard allows PDMWorks data to be readily moved to
SmartTeam, a Dassault Systemes data management offering.
COSMOS adds exceptional capabilities that make analysis easy to use
The COSMOS group at SolidWorks has made many COSMOS enhancements since
they’ve become part of SolidWorks — for two primary reasons. First, the COSMOS
group concentrates exclusively on software development and not sales, thus they are
more efficient. Second, by limiting their integration strictly to the SolidWorks
environment, they can more tightly bind the interactions between the two software
packages. As a fully integrated company, COSMOS has added exceptional capabilities
that make analysis easy to use, easy to train, and much easier for users to move
into design validation. Evidently this strategy is working. The number of seats of
COSMOS doubled between 2003 and 2004. SolidWorks expects that a comparable
increase occurred in 2005.
COSMOSWorks, a powerful, easy-to-use design validation and optimization software,
fully embedded within SolidWorks offers an ideal solution for engineers who need
analysis but are not specialists in finite element analysis. COSMOSMotion is a
complete motion simulation and kinematics package, with some capabilities
incorporated into the physical simulation of SolidWorks software. The full capabilities
of COSMOSMotion are available in SolidWorks Office Premium. Designed for
engineers who are not necessarily specialists in computational fluid dynamics (CFD),
COSMOSFloWorks redefines fluid flow analysis with robust capabilities normally
found in high-end CFD programs.
During our visit we reviewed some of the new functions including: the new analysis
advisor, improvements in both physical simulation and drop test, and ground bolt.
Other added function includes improvements to spot welds and sheet metal
The analysis advisor is particularly impressive because it seems to have the
capability to take a novice user entirely through a decision of what items are
important in setting up and analyzing results. It interacts well by presenting and
suggesting the key areas that he needs to be aware of. Analysis advisor is available
with the COSMOS products, not COSMOSXpress.
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Ground bolt is interesting; it takes into account the fact that a large external body to
which an object is attached may have an independent failure capability. One example
is a bracket mounted to a sheet rock wall, with excessive force on the bracket. Prior
to this version and most other analyses, the failure of the wall would not have been
taken into account. In this version, the wall parameters would be taken into account
so that the failures in the wall or the ground could be predicted allowing users to get
more accurate results in less steps.
Bolt behavior of the traffic light post is modeled using the grounded bolt connector in
COSMOSWorks 2006
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Another interesting enhancement, the drop test capability, now allows contacts
between parts inside an assembly. All these capabilities are available within
COSMOSWorks. Complex shock analysis predicts stresses from the drop analysis.
Most assemblies have a small clearance between the parts to account for
manufacturing tolerance. Now users can bond these parts even if the components do
not touch each other.
Note the gap where the connectors join the lower support
Smart Components define how assembly parts behave
Smart Components have the ability to be brought into an assembly. When you drag
around a smart component, it senses the mating condition and will snap into place
into an assembly. When it does snap into place, it senses a parameter that it is
mating to and selects from a pre-defined configuration of sizes for that smart
component. It uses that configuration in the assembly. When placing a smart
component, a graphical indicator appears on the component indicating that there’s
more information to be placed. Clicking on this indicator, a property manager came
up signifying the information it was requesting. In our case, it wanted a face selected
for the pillow block to build a boss onto. Selecting this face automatically generated,
not only a boss connecting to the face of the part, but brought in such information as
bolts, washers and mounting features. We brought in not only additional components
in Smart Component, but could place additional features onto the mounting part. In
our case, it produced tap holes to which the bolts connected. Smart Components can
be generated from already created designs by leveraging existing configurations and
publishing them into the smart component library.
Smart Component authoring allows users to define how parts or assemblies will
behave when placed into an assembly. For example, users can teach an assembly
what parts to include and what features to create when inserted into another
assembly. The Smart Component always operates as one item.
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Smart Component authoring allows the creation of smart part and assembly libraries which aid
in enforcing corporate standards.
Smart Components speed design by automatically sizing a part based on the diameter of a
mating part.
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Large assembly performance vastly improved
Significant work has been put into substantially improving the performance of large
assemblies. SolidWorks claims that it can be virtually instantaneous once it is loaded
into memory to do the drafting, rotation, any visualization or working with the
massive assembly. In our example, when we opened up an assembly with some
1800 components, it took about 15 seconds to open. We were working on 1.8
gigahertz laptop, not a high performance desktop. We were able to draft the full
assembly very quickly. We built four views including bill of materials and dimensions
basically as fast as it can be placed. We were able to add dimensions very quickly.
Surprisingly enough, we were able to perform a full hidden line rotation as quickly as
we could rotate around the screen; very impressive performance.
We were also surprised to see a full interference analysis among all of the 1800
components in the assembly completed in seconds, not minutes or many minutes as
we are used to, without a need to limit the range of interference analysis.
To enable such a performance increase, SolidWorks 2006 re-architected its
lightweight mode and thus has greatly improved its large assembly performance: it
decreased the time to perform common operations and reduced the required system
resources when working with large assemblies. Significant improvements in
SolidWorks lightweight technology allows, in most cases, working with assemblies
and drawings of those assemblies, exclusively in lightweight mode. Sample cases
show improvements of up to 6 times faster opening large assemblies.
In SolidWorks 2006, assembly operations are now available that previously required
lightweight components to be resolved, including selecting or mating to their edges
or vertices, displaying in hidden line or wireframe mode and performing mass
properties or interference detection. The components have to be resolved only when
you perform an operation that requires feature information.
Performance of drawings of large assemblies is improved significantly with
lightweight drawings. Loading a lightweight drawing is faster and uses significantly
less memory than loading the same drawing with fully resolved parts. Only parts that
are affected by changes that you make in the current editing session become fully
SolidWorks 2006 employs background processing of hidden line removal calculations.
Users can begin detailing operations such as dimensioning and annotations while HLR
calculations are done in the background.
Sketch blocks allow large scale machine design using 2D layouts
The last thing we looked at was sketch blocks, primarily useful for machine design.
This is the ability to perform 2D motion analysis using sketches. We were able to
draw a sketch and then block the sketch so it acted as if it were a single component.
We then dragged it into position in a 2D sketch assembly and added relationships
among the 2D sketches. In particular, we fixed one end of a piston to a point and
made the other end tangent to a line so it could act as a slider. We were able to
examine the motion analysis of this 2D assembly sketch. Fascinatingly, at any point
in time when we completed this, we were able to use the sketch input to create the
3D components that could then become part of the assembly. SolidWorks 2006
allows taking each of the sketches in the sketch assembly, grouping them, and
converting them to parts. Then, each of the parts could be edited and a 3D
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component generated from the sketch. When done, it automatically becomes part of
the assembly. It is a normal SolidWorks modeling operation.
Blocks in the sketcher are used to layout mechanisms in 2D and convert them into an
assembly with parts based on each block.
SolidWorks management feels that the significant advantages to SolidWorks 2006
consist of COSMOSWorks total integration into SolidWorks, the performance in large
assemblies, smart components, and improved physical simulation. We agree and
hope that some of the items discussed above convince the readers of this document
to take an in-depth look at the latest software for your product development
We are particularly impressed by the continuing focus of SolidWorks (the company)
on the design aspects of product development. Too many other companies seem to
feel that their future rests with enterprise-wide data management, process
automation, and the management of large complex products. To their credit,
SolidWorks leaves much of the work in these areas to their partners, and thus free
themselves to focus on the underlying design capabilities of the solid modeling
Users will find that the already enormous power of SolidWorks 2006 is greatly
leveraged by the more than 500 SolidWorks partners and more than 300 SolidWorks
2006 resellers, buttressed further by other SolidWorks initiatives such as 3D and the SolidWorks Manufacturing Network.
About the author
Raymond Kurland is President of TechniCom, Inc., a market research and analysis
organization specializing in understanding, consulting, and reporting on mechanical
product development software. TechniCom offers a continuing research program for
software vendors and frequently consults with users considering embarking on reevaluating
their product development systems. Ray interacts with most of the
leaders in the PLM industry and has been instrumental in “bringing together”
companies in several recent acquisitions.
Ray is the primary contributor for and writes commentary for
that site. He is currently exploring the subjects of lean design, innovation, and how
companies can profit from strategic marketing initiatives.
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Ray is a cum laude graduate in Engineering with a Bachelors degree from Rutgers
University, a Masters degree in Engineering from New York University and holds an
MBA from Rutgers University as well.
His work experience includes stints as a developer at Bell Telephone Laboratories for
six years, sales and product manager at IBM for 18 years, and 2 years as head of
North American Marketing for Dassault Systemes. He has run TechniCom since 1989.
He can be reached at
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