Some companies dip their toes in to new technologies and endeavors, while others cannonball straight in the deep end. For 3D Systems, entrenched as it is since the very beginnings of 3D printing development, there is no choice but to go all in — and under the focused and aggressive leadership of CEO Vyomesh Joshi (VJ), the company continues to charge forward to not only go all in, but work to be an all-in-one solutions provider. During last week’s SOLIDWORKS World 2018 in Los Angeles, 3D Systems introduced 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS.
“We are looking to have management of the whole process, seamlessly, the movement from physical to digital. Those interfaces are where design happens. We want to really create experiences,” VJ said during the SWW press conference introducing the partnership.
“With 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS, we think about how do we enable our customers to create lattice structures, we want to make this smart… we want to take this to SOLIDWORKS.”
Partnering with SOLIDWORKS and its parent company Dassault SystÃ¨mes brings 3D Systems’ well-known software to the fingertips of a broader audience of designers as the companies work to enhance adoption of 3D printing and further advances in design for additive manufacturing (DfAM).
During the press conference, SOLIDWORKS CEO Gian Paolo Bassi noted that while there had been many partnerships announced over the week, he wanted to be sure to help attendees understand what makes this one unique.
“I was very impressed by Geomagic, by 3DXpert; there is a strong digital strategy, a consistent digital strategy here,” Bassi said. “In the end, though, it’s all about the part: Can we make this thing? This is important to us in providing software to our customers: Can they get the job done? This is a testament to the openness of this industry.”
He continued, noting that 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS offers big opportunities: “This is a big message. We need to do our work, too. We have mesh capabilities, sketch and extrude, and we had to expand our geometric capabilities. …Metal 3D printed parts can have better properties than forged or cast parts.”
Vice President of Software Products Roy Sterenthal noted at the event that the intent is to allow for making “more shapes more ways.”
“The first thing is to change the mindset. With custom tools, lightweight parts, part consolidation, surface textures — we are giving designers more geometric structures to create. You don’t have to be an expert to work with 3DXpert,” he said.
There’s a lot behind this partnership, and sitting down for a conversation with VJ and Sterenthal offered an opportunity to not only unpack this announcement, but gain a deeper understanding of 3D Systems’ strategic approach.
“This is a phenomenal partnership,” VJ said in opening. “There are several key messages behind our collaboration here. First, we are giving SOLIDWORKS customers the ability to design more shapes more ways, to achieve the applications they’re looking for. Next, we are addressing gaps in SOLIDWORKS. Roy and his team have worked to provide capabilities so SOLIDWORKS would be 3D printing-smart and -enabled. Finally, we are focusing on the customer journey. We are educating the market; what really enables designers to create more is removing barriers — getting to customers is very important.”
Sterenthal noted that he and his team worked to develop 3DXpert as an all-in-one solution for metal additive manufacturing. I’ve had the opportunity to see the software in action before, and experience how the tools it allows for in design provide a strong basis for designers.
“This is for the professional user, built on CAD systems, with a hybrid engine, functionalities, and workflow,” Sterenthal said. “We have been working the last few months with the SOLIDWORKS team, finding where there were gaps, discovering the capabilities we could bring — such as the ability to create new shapes, volumes, and surface textures. We have come to minimize complexities.”
The 3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS add-on was created as a standard package that every SOLIDWORKS subscriber can download, he explained. However, when a user wants to go beyond that standard offering to more advanced capabilities, upgrades are available for the fuller experience. All capabilities are avail