Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Solid Edge ST3 - Part 1 of 4

The Siemens PLM Connection event is over.  Given the change of date and venue due to the flooding of the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, it was a great success. 

There were many excellent presentations and "hands-on" training sessions for Solid Edge (including mine) , and even though a formal announcement of the upcoming ST3 is some time away, we got a sneak peak of several new customer driven enhancements as well as some hint of:
  • A "bridge" to help existing users better adopt Synchronous Technology
  • Simulation enhancements
  • PDM enhancements
  • 1000's of customer enhancements from modeling to the user interface
Over the next few weeks, I'd like to cover some of the items presented around the customer driven enhancements, but please keep in mind there are still a whole lot of items that will not be presented until the official Solid Edge ST3 launch later in the year.

For this post, I would like to cover the User Interface enhancements.
    You now have full control of the Command Ribbon layout. You can add new tabs and groups, as well as move, add, or remove commands from any tab. The customizations can be performed for all environments from a single environment, and customizations can be saved as a Theme.

    A new customizable Radial Menu is available in all environments which will hold 16 commands right where you need them and accessible with the right mouse button.

    Command Bar has been replaced with a horizontal on-screen "Smart Step" ribbon bar where it's easily seen and no longer competes with viewing the Pathfinder...

    and both Pathfinder and the Live Rules pane can now be transparently displayed on the graphics screen which means Edgebar can now easily be left hidden most of the time.
    There is still a whole lot more that I have not touched on, and this is just in the area of UI enhancements.  I will be following up in the following weeks with additional customer driven enhancements in other areas.


    Anonymous said...

    Great previews! Please keep them coming. I am really looking forward to the release of ST3.

    Theodore Turner
    South Africa

    Anonymous said...

    The preview was good.


    P & A said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Anonymous said...

    Awesome preview. Thanks

    David said...

    "You now have full control of the Command Ribbon layout."

    Does that mean the main menu is dockable anywhere again (at last) - I HOPE...

    Schneemann said...

    ST1 was a joke, ST2 was not usable, ST 3 has all the features (as they say) and, as history tells, a lot of bugs, and how much does Siemens charge us to tell them what's wrong with the programm?

    PellaKen said...

    Schneemann, obviously you have some strong opinions about SE, but could you explain why you feel that way? ST1 was quite usable as was ST2. The traditional history based modeling is still in all Solid Edge product versions including ST1 and ST2. In the Synchronous environment, there were some restrictions, but you knew that going into it as it was still growing and it most likely will be for the next couple years. All of the current history based modelers on the market did not start out anywhere near as complete as they are today and it unrealistic to think that the Synchronous modeling environment would be.

    Anonymous said...

    Sorry PellaKen, but for those of us who have to get things done in an accurate and precise way, ST just does not cut it and I have to at least partially agree with Schneemann. However, I will expound as you asked.

    ST is great for imported models, but I can work circles around anyone trying to wrestle with ST for new designs or for changing existing SE models that are drawn right (restrained, dimensioned, associated). Sure, you can get in there and twist, turn, stretch, and pull a whole lot of stuff in a short amount of time with ST, but without any association, documentation, or history of what you are doing, you really can't rely on ST for any precise work. To do so just requires to much work by having to walk on egg shells and having to redraw a bunch of stuff over that is only a simple edit in a history based model. This is because you are working with a loose and flaky pile of goo, not a precise, nailed down model that has everything documented and is all easily editable instead of having to twist, turn, push, or pull your part into the shape you want. When you can't hammer your part into the shape you want, ST requires you to redraw the whole construction sketch from scratch, because ST destroyed all that when you made the protrusion or cutout it was tied to! How can this ever be a good thing and be called any kind of advancement? Please tell me!

    ST is kind of like trying to work on a car without a repair manual, sure, you can turn more bolts not having to worry about what you are twisting on, but at the end of the day you have to make the dang thing run and everything still has to fit back under the hood!

    PellaKen said...

    Well Anonomous, I respect your opinion but would like to point out a couple of disagreements in your synopsis that make me have to ask: Have you actually used Solid Edge ST Synchronous to model parts and did you go through the tutorials?

    To begin with, ST does not destroy your sketches after creating geometry with them. They are still available in the Used Sketch collection and can be turned back on at anytime for reuse. Also, just like the traditional "connected to a sketch" counterpart, geometry in a Synchronous model is not just "loose". PMI dimensions and relationships are used to control geometry so that it behaves in a predictable fashion just like the geometry created in it's traditional counterpart.

    I will agree that not all parts are right for Synchronous modeling yet, for as I stated, it is still in it's growing phase and there are many functions that have not yet been synchronized and there is tuning being done to what has.

    This is very evident by the changes introduced in ST2 as well as ST3 released today.

    I suggest you take a look at ST3 because if you can't get the hang of Synchronous modeling or have parts that don't lend themselves well to it, you can still work in Ordered mode and you can even introduce some Synchronous in small bites to help you get more comfortable with it.

    Anonymous said...

    At the risk of sounding smug, there's a real good chance that I have used Solid Edge ST more than you have. I loaded ST1 the day the box came thru the door. I did the same with ST2 and will do the same with ST3. I probably know ST better than anyone I know, including most of the techs teaching the training classes. Please know I have given ST a more than fair chance to work and will continue to do so by looking into things I may have missed. I have been nice to ST, but it has not always been nice to me. I have drawn up many large and sophiscated jobs with ST that have contained many parts and sub assemblies. I am glad for the experience I gained, but I really wish now all those jobs were in traditional SE because changes are a real pain. As you know, ST establishes no association with any of the other parts in an assembly. As such, if a change is required to one part, all the other affected parts in the assembly have to be changed manually too. With proper association in traditional Solid Edge, all other affected parts are fixed for me by simple changing the driving part. I don't know if ST3 can do that or not, but ST1 and ST2 sure can't. SE traditional has been doing this for a long long and really should not have been something that SE ST threw away.

    I also have to respectivaly disagree with ST reuseablity of sketches. Sure, you can turn them back on, but what good are they? Are the restraints restored? NO! Are the dimensions restored? NO! Are the associations restored? NO! Is the sketches ability to drive geometry restored? NO!

    I know I can put in dimensions and relationships so geometry can be restrainer or edited and that is pretty cool. Or is it? Didn't I already do that when I established the geometry in the first place? Yes I did! My ability in ST to put in driving relationships and dimensions is really just something to restore what does not need to be restored in traditional SE. If I am honest, what I thought was cool is really just something I am having to do over!

    PellaKen said...

    Anonymous, without knowing what kind of items you're modeling, I can't guess whether Synchronous modeling is right for you or not. I guess if it is that uncomfortable for you, don't use it and stick to the Ordered way of doing things which is why both are included.

    I will tell you that Interpart Copies are supported in Synchronous models in ST3 so that may solve your peer to peer feature issue in assemblies.

    I've been using ST3 for many months now and I really like the hybrid approach that's now available. Perhaps you can use some Synch mixed with those features that need such tight control in Ordered. ST3 has been available for download since Oct. 13th.

    David said...

    I really have to agree with Schneerman on just about every comment he makes. Apart from his comments about lack of fundamental control, can I add another area of concern. What do you think about software that, without any warning, makes random changes to dimensions previously explicitly locked by the user?

    PellaKen said...

    David, you're entitled to your opinion and if you want to associate it with Schneemann's, that's fine by me. That's the great thing about opinions, everybody has one... Right, wrong or indifferent!

    Pertaining to your "locked" dimensions that are arbitrarily changing, I would say that is an undesirable situation and if you have had it happen I sure hope you sent the example into your VAR or vendor support for resolution. I've never seen a locked dimension arbitrarily change before, but I can say that if it does, it needs fixed. If you had it happen in Solid Edge, I'm sure we all would appreciate seeing a model that exhibits it.

    David said...

    I had this happen the first time I tried to edit a parasolid in ST1 - reported it and was told it was a bug that would be fixed. It happened again recently in another situation in ST2. To me, as a designer, I would have thought this was among the very worst crimes that any CAD system could commit and I was surprised that it was still happening over a year later so I wrote to Dan Staples and asked what the Siemens policy was on changes to locked dimensions. Listen to his reply - he said that they don't want it, they know it still happens in ST2 and it will still happen in ST3 and they can't eliminate it prior to release of ST4. In the same note he also told me that synchronous as it operates in ST3 is not recommended for the type of design work we do...
    For my part I'd far sooner have a dependable accurate CAD system free of irritating idiosyncrasies than one that has a few more flash gimmicks.
    If you want to see an example of a changed locked dimension I'd be happy to email a file - where do you want it sent?
    PS - I have used SE continuously since V6...