Green design gets a little easier

By Matthew

I remember Kermit the Frog once sang “it’s not easy being green.” I think a lot of designers would agree. Many would like to be more environmentally conscious, but they’re still under pressure to reduce the cost of materials and speed up design times. The bottom line usually wins over being eco-friendly.

At SolidWorks World 2009, we announced a new product we’ve been working on that was going by the code name “Sage.” It’s a tool that integrates seamlessly into SolidWorks that allows designers to see just how eco-friendly the products they’re designing are.

We’re happy to announce that this new product, officially named SolidWorks Sustainability, is now available in beta form from the SolidWorks Labs website. This is the SustainabilityXpress version that will be included with every version of SolidWorks starting with the release of SolidWorks 2010. SolidWorks Sustainability was designed in collaboration with PE International, and leverages their GaBi database

SolidWorks Sustainability allows the designer to submit data about materials, place of manufacture, and a few other variables to set a baseline for environmental impact. You can then change the materials, country, and so on to see how it changes the impact. Specifically, Sustainability measures:

  • Carbon footprint
  • Total energy consumed during manufacture
  • Effect on air quality, specifically regarding acid rain
  • Effect on water quality, specifically regarding algae blooms in coastal waters

The data updates automatically as you change your designs. The “Find Similar” tool even lets you search the built-in material database for close alternatives to the material you have specified, so you don’t have to waste time scrolling through menus. Even if you’re not interested in sustainable design, this could come in handy. And when you’re done, the system generates a report that you can print out, or send to colleagues.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit the SolidWorks Labs site to download the beta version. And finally, here’s a quick video I shot with SolidWorks’ Director of Product Innovation Rick Chin, showing off the program. Enjoy!

Listening for the Bounce in the High-Tech/Semi Market

By Rick
Photo by MichaelMaggs Edit by Richard Bartz

Photo by MichaelMaggs Edit by Richard Bartz

As goes semiconductor, so goes high-tech. That is a common thought within the high-tech community. With the economic troubles over the past year-plus, one of the KPI’s that analysts look at is the health of the consumer electronics and compute markets. Much of the technical innovation behind getting those new, cool, fast, cheap features out there lives within the computer chips driving those products. And it’s no secret that semiconductor companies and employees have been hit hard.

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Many analysts are looking to the beginning of a recovery for 2H09. Others are saying that it’s just wishful thinking and that we are still a ways out on real recovery. In either case, there are two interesting industry events in July that may help give us some more information on where things are going. The first is SEMICON WEST and the other is the Design Automation Conference (DAC). Both are in San Francisco during July.

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SEMICON WEST will cover a broad range of topics, primarily around various types of electronic products and the processes used to build and test those products. It will talk about technology and also give significant coverage to industrial equipment. I can’t attend this year, but I’ll be very interested in reading what industry analysts think. Capital equipment spending is way down this year within semiconductor and much of the manufacturing, assembly and test goes on in Asia. But this event may still be a good indicator of where the bounce may be in those areas. The show will also talk about hot technologies, such as MEMS and Photovoltaics. Both of those technologies have been gaining traction in mainstream markets.

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DAC is a show primarily focused on the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software community. This is the software used to design and simulate the computer chips that will be used in high-tech electronic products. This is the area that is right at the front of the design chain and may be seen as a key indicator on the health of the market. When people buy new design tools and technologies, see key partnerships in the area and hear other big announcements from industry leaders you may be able to draw some conclusions on where IC design activity is going. IC “design starts” drive the products that eventually make it to market. I’ll be there along with a number of our Dassault Systèmes colleagues from the high-tech industry. We’ll be primarily showing the ENOVIA PLM and ENOVIA Synchronicity products that have a strong base in the semiconductor design world. But we’ll also be talking with our partners and listening to other vendors to see what’s seen as important to them.

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I’ll be sure to send in some thoughts and observations from the show. Let me know if you hear of anything that we should be looking for at DAC.

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Best,

Rick

Speed Dating @ DS Campus

By Michael

What happens if you gather 150 business people from various partners and from Dassault Systèmes to let them explore joint sales opportunities? My answer : this very much depends on their openness to share information and on the confidence they bring aboard.

Last week we hosted our community of partners at the DS Campus in Vélizy. After we experienced technology innovation during the DS developers’ conference for two days, the “Connecting Partners” Summit day focused on business collaboration for go-to-market. I was thrilled to see the intensity and depth of exchanges taking place everywhere: during coffee breaks, round tables and as part of a meeting format that we called “business speed dating”, where people can test out “if they want to get something going together”.

A collaborative approach to business is very sensible as any cooperation contains certain elements of competition. In a purely economical approach to business you want to get more than you give. However more and more we see a new way of starting business opportunities in an open exchange of information and ideas based on trust. Here you can take your chances and re-mix the ingredients to find the successful cocktail.

What are the benefits from participating in open-hearted communication : be well known, win followers, be influential and respected by peers. My thesis : active participants in professional communication forums get the pole position for being part of winning business collaborations.

I’m curious to hear your opinion. You are invited to complete all phrases where you agree (multiple choices apply).

Please note that for technical reasons you can take this poll via the perspectives.3ds.com site only (not via the email notification).

Thanks. Results of this poll will be discussed in a week from now.

@++
Michael

P.S.: related posts on this subject Community Spirit, Community Mobility



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