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To understand how this works, let’s fist look at an ordered part. Below is a sketch for a part that I wish to model. Notice that I have fully constrained the sketch.
The sketch has zero degrees of freedom, so I can predict what will happen when I make a dimensional change to any of the 3 values. I control part of the sketch with geometric constraints, which include the following 2D relationships:
When I use the sketch to create a model, the sketch becomes the parent of the solid model, as shown below:
I can now drive predictable model changes using the variable table. Furthermore I can link the variable table to an Excel spread sheet, a custom program, or a configurator to drive model changes.
Now let’s make the same part in the synchronous mode. We start by making a sketch, as shown below:
Notice that I can fully constrain the sketch in synchronous mode. The difference here is that when I create the solid, only the dimensions are migrated to the 3D model. The 2D geometry and 2D geometric constraints are left in the Used Sketch header on the PathFinder. In other words, no parent child relationship is created between the sketch and solid, and the 2D dimensions are converted to 3D driving dimensions on the model, shown below:
Notice that 3 of the 4 dimensions are red in colour, while the depth dimension is blue. A red colour means that the dimension is locked and can only be modified by a direct edit of that dimension. Let’s make the fourth dimension locked as well.
So now we have the dimensions fully constrained or locked. What about the geometric constraints? Since the 2D geometric relationships have not been transferred to the model, a lot of users become concerned that the model is no longer fully constrained. They are partially correct. Let’s take a closer look at the model.
By the nature of the solid, we can make a few assumptions.
1. The connect relationships will be maintained at the model level. Why? Because if they are not we no longer have a solid.
2. Synchronous edits use Live Rules, and Live Rules will maintain most of the pre-existing geometric situations. For example, if you attempt to change the values in the part, default Live Rules will keep the walls in their current horizontal/vertical position.
3. Synchronous will only analyze the effected faces in any move. Therefore it only has to re-compute faces affected by an edit.
Even with these assumptions, there admittedly could be some un-expected results if you are using this model in a custom program or configurator. So how do we eliminate potential un-expected results? We use 3D geometric relationships.
Persistent (3D) relationships
Looking at the original sketch of our model, you’ll notice that the sketch was centered on the base coordinate system. I can do the same with the model by using the horizontal/vertical persistent relationship command. I’ve placed these relationships in the model, shown below. Notice that they also are listed under a Relationship header in the PathFinder.
I can now drive predictable model changes using the variable table. Furthermore I can link the variable table to an Excel spread sheet, a custom program, or a configurator to drive model changes.
For more complex models, synchronous offers even more 3D geometric relationships.
Some will argue the fact, but the truth is the majority of ordered models that I see from customers are under-constrained. Because of the parent child nature of ordered modelling, this could be, and often is a problem when editing ordered part models. If you doubt this statement, go back to your database and open some of your existing models. Under the Solid Edge options > General tab, turn on the ‘Indicate under-constrained profiles in PathFinder.
If a red pencil icon appears anywhere in the PathFinder, you have under-constrained features.
If you would like more information on synchronous technology or would like to attend one of our synchronous training sessions, please contact us at [email protected] or visit our training web page at http://www.designfusion.ca//technical-training.html.
Siemens PLM Software has announced that this year’s Solid Edge University will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on May 12-14, 2014. For those of you who have not attended this conference, you are truly missing a great opportunity. Not only do you get a preview of the next release of Solid Edge, but you get to connect with the Solid Edge developers and provide input to the direction of future development. You can also participate in hands-on learning, attend presentations given by CAD users and meet with experts from all aspects of the design continuum. Focus areas will include CAD, design data management, simulation, manufacturing and a host of complementary applications to help you design better. Some of us at Designfusion will be presenting again at this year’s conference.
This is also a great opportunity to visit with our sponsors and technology partners and learn new ways to enhance the power of Solid Edge. Many partners are set up at the conference, ready to answer any questions you may have. Plus there is no better place to network with other Solid Edge users who make up this vibrant user community. I personally spoke with the Designfusion customers who attended last year event and everyone said that the learning experience was well worth the cost of the conference.
I hope you can join me and my colleagues at the Solid Edge University 2014. For more information, and to take advantage of the early bird registration, go to the Solid Edge University website at http://www.solidedgeu.com/.
In last week’s blog I had started to discuss what was new in Solid Edge ST6, as introduced to us at Solid Edge University 2013 (SEU2013). I had left off with mentioning the new enhancements in surface modeling. So let’s continue with what’s new in Part and Sheet Metal modeling.
ST6 Part and Sheet Metal Design
Improved Steering Wheel – now has 3 directional axes to eliminate the annoying need to always flip the steering wheel.
Improved solution manager – including color control, something I had requested for some of our color blind users.
Faster revisions with synchronous technology - Include or exclude edges of peer parts during creation. Added exclude interior loops or use only interior loops, to the Extrude planar face option from ST5.
Better reuse with synchronous technology
Create stamped sheet metal parts with a single command – emboss a tool or punch into a sheet metal part.
Stiffen parts by adding features across bends - add beads, dimples, louvers, emboss features across bends
Sheet Metal Features on Parts - sheet metal features can be placed on regular ordered parts of uniform thickness without having to transform the part to sheet metal. This provides an especially efficient method in stamped metal design.
Again, there are many other enhancements in Part modeling which will benefit all users.
ST6 Assembly Design
Solid Edge continues their dominance in working with large assemblies. Along with some nice enhancements to PathFinder Indicators and Physical Properties, here are my favorite improvements:
Assembly occurrences can now be used for inputs to Boolean operations - No inter-part copy of the geometry is needed and multiple tool body components can be selected (see previous blog article).
Faster display - New display capabilities speed pan/zoom/fit by up to 2 times.
Complete overhaul of simplify assemblies
• New environment for creating user defined simplified representations.
• Enclose component automatically encloses components with rectangular or cylindrical solids.
• Duplicate body speeds simplification of copied or patterned components.
• Goal is to simplify models for effective design of 1 Million+ parts.
Create In-Place Enhancements – moved to optional QuickBar with better control over placing the origin.
Synchronous Assembly Modeling Peer Edge Locate – allows for improved key-point selection when modeling in the Assembly.
Plus several new enhancements to synchronous commands have been made while a user is in-place activated into a part or sheet metal file from an assembly.
Two of the most exciting enhancements in Solid Edge ST6 appear in the Draft environment. When the following was demonstrated they received an enthusiastic round of applause from the audience at SEU2013.
• Align annotations with a linear, rectangular or fitted shape.
• Reposition the annotations by dragging the alignment shape.
• Clean up messy dimensions with a single mouse click.
• Select dimensions by fence or by drawing view.
• Creates and aligns dimension grouping.
Some other notable changes in drawing production are:
• Faster zoom/pan, and hatch display with large 2D drawings.
• Auto-constrain 2D elements during drag-modify.
• Retrieve slot feature centerlines.
• Partial bolt hole circles.
• Simplified drawing view wizard.
• Shortcuts and easier sheet tab creation.
• Edit tables in place.
• Better editing of embedded documents.
• Drawing views are now displayed before placement.
• Derived break lines from one view to another.
• Align any drawing view with key-points or drawing view centers.
• 2D directional fence select: left for overlapping, right for inside locate to.
• Create tables from placed blocks on schematic drawings.
These enhancements, and more, continue to make Solid Edge’s drawing capabilities the best on the market.
Help for SolidWorks refugees
One other noteworthy feature, added to Solid Edge ST6, is the new SolidWorks migration tool. Siemens is going after the SolidWorks customers who are concerned about the kernel change and loss of legacy data. This tool, combined with some other enhancements, will allow the SolidWorks user to:
Solid Edge ST6
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, I have only scratched the surface of what’s new in Solid Edge ST6. I did not even mention the enhancements in the simulation package, standard parts, framing, or data management. I will attempt to expand on the improvements in future blog articles. But I felt it important to give an overall account of Solid Edge ST6, as presented at SEU2013. I have worked with Solid Edge for over 10 years now and I am truly impressed with how the development team continues to listen to the actual customers. Solid Edge ST6 enhancements have truly been driven by the customers. The 3 core values for this release were to:
Siemens has done a
great job at meeting these core values with Solid Edge ST6. Judging by the
excitement at SEU2013, this looks to be a great release with customers eagerly
awaiting the arrival of Solid Edge ST6. The release date has not been finalized
yet, but the general consensus is that customers can expect to receive their
copy sometime in August 2013.
In the last few blog articles I have highlighted a couple of enhancements coming in Solid Edge ST6. Having just returned from Solid Edge University 2013 (SEU2013), where customers were introduced to Solid Edge ST6, I thought I should try and list some of the more than 1300 enhancements. Clearly, with over 1300 enhancements, it would be a major job to list and discuss all the changes, so I will only highlight some of the major improvements.
Before looking at some of the new features in Solid Edge ST6, I think it’s worth mentioning that in Q2, Solid Edge license business in the US has seen a 25% year over year growth. Combine this with the growing number of packages that work with Solid Edge; it is clear the Siemens is fully committed to the continued growth and success of Solid Edge.
Some of the new partners introduced at SEU 2013 include CAMWorks for Solid Edge, KeyShot and CRABCAD, just to name a few. I found the CAMWorks for Solid Edge to be the most intriguing new partner. It allows for machining of your Solid Edge model directly in the Solid Edge package. I will discuss this in future blog articles once I have been fully trained on this new package.
It was also clear, to the over 500 users that attended SEU2013, that Siemens is listening to their customers. As I mentioned earlier, Solid Edge ST6 satisfies over 1300 customer requests. This is the breakdown as presented to us at SEU2013:
So what did I find to be the most intriguing new features? First, I really like the new ability to install multiple versions on the same computer (see earlier blog article on how to set this up). Although this is for test purposes only, it will go a long way to allowing smoother upgrades, especially for smaller companies. Solid Edge ST6 also adds some new user experience tools, such as:
New user persona environments - to customize the user environment based on his level of expertise with the software.
YouTube in Solid Edge - The YouTube search and upload feature within Solid Edge ST6 allows you to upload pre-recorded videos, or record your own video within the UI and upload it directly through the Solid Edge application.
Record Videos in Solid Edge - Solid Edge ST6 provides the ability to record design workflows within the application.
Command Finder Updates - Enhancements have been made to the Command Finder to provide the user with additional information for searched items that are not considered Solid Edge commands.
Android Tablet Viewer - Solid Edge now has an App available to view part, sheet metal, and assembly files on an android powered tablet. Similar to the iPad App introduced in ST5.
Combine these new tools with enhanced learning tools and the expanded Solid Edge community, and you will find the overall user experience is greatly improved.
ST6 Surface Modeling
Some major improvements in Part modeling also impressed me and many of the other users at SEU2013. My favorite enhancements include the following:
Major overhaul of the Surfacing environment
There are many more improvements to mention, and I will continue to do so in next week’s blog.
The user can now use faces and bodies from other assembly occurrences directly when executing Boolean operations for the “Tool” step such as Union, Subtract, Intersect, and Split.
This enhancement is intended to remove the Inter-Part Copy step during a synchronous in-place activated modeling operation. Not having to create Inter-Part copies accelerates the design process and avoids the necessity of having to save the Inter-Part copies in the PathFinder.
Let’s have a look at the following example:
In this example, I have raised the motor up to show that we need to place some cutouts and holes in the underlying plate.
First, I will edit into the Base Plate part from within the assembly. Make sure that the Hide Previous Level command is turned off in the Part environment.
Next, I select the Boolean Subtract command from
the Solids group in the Home tab.
You are prompted to select the target bodies for the Boolean. In this example, I select the base plate part.
You are then prompted to identify the tool bodies. In this example, I select the motor and the four mounting bolts, and accept the selection.
If we hide the tool bodies, you can see the result of the Boolean operation.
Remember, this is a synchronous part, so we can easily add a dimension to the inner cutout and increase the size for clearance.
We can also use the Recognize Hole command and easily convert the holes to threaded holes.
This is just one of
the many new features in Solid Edge ST6 geared to accelerate your design
process, allowing for faster time to market.
If you are using the synchronous modeling in Solid Edge ST5 you may have noticed the new Recognize Hole command found under the Hole Command flyout.
This command, specifically designed for imported models with no history, enables cylindrical cutouts to be automatically identified and re-defined as synchronous procedural hole features. It is available in the Part, Sheet Metal and Assembly environment. The user simply has to select the command and select the model. Holes are automatically recognized and displayed in the Hole Recognition dialog.
Hole types and sizes are grouped together automatically.
A user can choose not to recognize a cylindrical feature as a hole by toggling off the check mark for the feature.
Within the dialog, you can rename the hole features, by double clicking on the default feature name. You can also redefine the hole feature, by applying saved settings or by using the hole options dialog.
Once the user selects OK, to accept the hole options change, a preview of the new hole parameters is shown on the model. The user then selects OK, in the Hole Recognition dialog, to accept the change.
The user can use the Face Selection option to recognize holes only on selected faces.
Pre-selection of a face, or faces, is also supported. You can select a face, or faces, and then run the Recognize Holes command, to perform recognition on only the selected face(s).
The Hole Recognition command allows users to add intelligent synchronous procedural hole features to imported models. Because it’s a hole feature, it also recognizes the user defined pattern created in all hole features, which can be used for rapid placement of bolts or screws in the assembly.
With any new technology, you have your early adopters. This is followed by a general acceptance of the new technology, and of course, you always have your hold outs or late adopters. Solid Edge ST and ST2 appealed to the earlier adopters for synchronous technology. With ST3, ST4 and now ST5, we are seeing most of our customers starting to use synchronous modeling. This of course has led to many questions. The most asked question is; “Should I use synchronous or ordered modeling?” The answer to this is yes.
One of the unique qualities of Solid Edge is that you are not locked into using synchronous or ordered modeling. Integrated modeling allows you to use both synchronous features and ordered features within the same part or sheet metal model. As a rule of thumb, I encourage users to start with synchronous modeling. If they run into some issues that can’t be addressed with synchronous features, they can switch to the ordered paradigm to complete the model. Let me illustrate this with the following example:
I wish to model the sheet metal cover shown in the following image.
I start in the synchronous paradigm and create a tab, for the top of the cover.
I then add 2 synchronous flanges, in one step, to create the back and left side of the cover.
One of the current limitations, in synchronous sheet metal modeling, is that you cannot drive a flange along a circular edge. Realizing this I will hold off creating the front and right sides until the end, when I will use an ordered feature.
I next use 2 bead synchronous features to create the slots at the top of the part.
I then transition to the ordered paradigm to complete the model.
I use the ordered Contour Flange command to create the front and right face of the cover.
The nice thing about this approach is that it still allows me to modify the model using the synchronous Move/Rotate command.
Live Rules and all the other synchronous editing tools still apply to the model.
As I modify the model, synchronous features update instantly, followed by the re-computing of any ordered features.
For those of you who attended our productivity seminars, you saw this demonstrated live. Other users have learned this process in one of our many synchronous modeling courses, offered over the last year.
This is just one of many examples where Integrated Modeling allows you to benefit from the new synchronous technology, while still utilizing some of the tried and true methods of the ordered technology. As Solid Edge continues to develop the synchronous features, you may find that you’ll use less integrated modeling. But for now this provides you with a reliable and safe platform to further advance your adoption of this amazing new modeling paradigm we call synchronous technology.
If you’d like to learn more about integrated modeling, you can attend one of our synchronous modeling courses