Design engineers welcome Intercad’s launch of SolidWorks 2012


Chris Evensby Romy Udanga

Intercad, New Zealand’s specialist 3D computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) company, has had a long standing relationship with SolidWorks, and is its leading representative in the country. It launched the 20th version of the of the industry-standard design platform, SolidWorks 2012, at a series of dynamic hands-on events around the country last month.

Design engineers were given a rare treat in early October with the launch of SolidWorks 2012 at the Intercad Innovation Days in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Working closely with the SolidWorks development team and the local SolidWorks community – of which it has been an active member for more than two decades – Intercad says the deep refinements in the latest version strengthen what is already the most robust and widely-used CAD/CAM software in New Zealand.

Intercad NZ country manager Sarah Berlini says some members of New Zealand’s SolidWorks community, like Emirates Team NZ, Fletcher Aluminium and SMC Pneumatics (see page 28) and ACS Design (see page six), lead the world with their design projects.

“A core part of our role is to connect these organisations and people with SolidWorks’ global development team so they can have input, based on their experience, into the ongoing refinements and innovations made to the SolidWorks platform,” Berlini says.

The Intercad Innovation Days provided Intercad with an opportunity to not only advise SolidWorks users on ways on how the software can further improve the bottom line in their businesses, but also created a forum at which Intercad’s specialist technical and support team shared their knowledge and obtained insight into the design and manufacturing issues users face on a day-to-day basis.

Intercad application engineer Rodney O’Connor and SolidWorks Australia and New Zealand territory sales manager Chris Evens were among those who shared insights at the launch in Auckland.

O’Connor showed the audience how some of the headline features worked, while Evens talked about the evolution of SolidWorks over the last 20 releases.

“Innovation is key to success particularly in places like Australia and New Zealand where we’ve got a lot of other countries who are able to offer lower alternative costs for manufacturing. In order for Australia and New Zealand to remain competitive leaders we need to make sure we are innovative,” Evens says.

Evens also presented a portfolio of SolidWorks products that revamp the typical sequential processes – from concept design right through to manufacturing – employed in manufacturing, where one stage can’t start until the previous stage is finished.

“What we’re looking to do is offer a redefined process which means that you can run a lot of these different stages in parallel. By running them in parallel means you’re able to shorten your design cycle time and increase profits on your overhead,” Evens says.

“Our product portfolio enables companies to work in a more parallel process rather than a sequential design and manufacturing process.”

Intercad is the leading distributor of SolidWorks in New Zealand and has more than 20 years’ experience in the design, engineering and manufacturing industries. This knowledge, combined with the company’s training and technical support programs, puts Intercad in a position to strategically assist its customers to not only meet their design challenges but also their business objectives.

Intercad Australia and New Zealand chief executive Max Piper says that like SolidWorks, Intercad wants to send a message out that they understand innovation, and “continually strive to improve the business dynamics that shape our collective industries”.

“Many of our customers are facing unique challenging market conditions, so finding new, better, faster and more cost-effective solutions to designing their products is front of mind.”

SolidWorks 2012 new features

Intercad’s Mark Duggan, New Zealand’s only SolidWorks elite application engineer says that while there are certainly some headline-making new features in the new version, “overall the impression I get from SolidWorks 2012 is that it’s an important and substantial streamlining of an established platform, making it more compelling for new users and even more powerful for its loyal user base”.

Chief among the new features is a Large Design Review mode that lets you open very large assemblies quickly, while still retaining capabilities that are useful when conducting design reviews of assemblies, Duggan says.

“For example, you can now measure distances, create cross sections, hide and show components, and create, edit, and play back walk-throughs, without leaving the Large Design Review.”

Other important new features include balloon alignment with Magnetic Lines, which makes it much easier to align balloons in a drawing view with full control of angles and spacing.

Feature Freeze, one of Duggan’s favourites, and one that’s been much requested by local designers, allows users to literally freeze features from rebuilds of the model.

Multibody Exploded Views gives the option to explode views of multibody parts for easier navigation and more detailed analysis.

Other key features in SolidWorks 2012, include:

• Swept Flange tool

• Improved import

• User interface and toolbox customisation enhancements

• More sheet metal improvements

• Equation improvements

• Complete uninstall

• Better file handling

• Improved dual monitor support

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