SolidWorks has great tools for analyzing your designs. SolidWorks Simulation has tools for doing Stress Analysis, Thermal, Vibration, and many more. What the different capabilities are and how you can get them is often confusing for many people. Jay recorded a video blog entry going over the different analysis types and what version of Simulation or SolidWorks you need to be able to perform that type of analysis.
We've been generating a lot of video content lately for Simulation so there is now a Simulation Playlist over on our YouTube channel where you can access all of them from one location.
With the announcement of the HSMXpress I got to thinking about all the Xpress tools available to SolidWorks users. There are nine of them by my count. Generally an Xpress product is a lite version of an addin tool for SolidWorks. Often they have limitations that allow the user to gain an understanding of the tool and gain some benefit. The hope is they will see the power of the tool and compell them to purchase the full featured version. Since some of them require an independant download from the developer its easy to lose track of them all. Here they are with a little bit about what they do and my thoughts on them.
The Xpress tool that started it all. Originally CosmosXpress this is the FEA solution from SolidWorks that allows users to get their feet wet with Simulation. A wizard interface guides users through the process of setting up simulation studies that when complete mimic exactly the full SolidWorks Simulation product line. Users are limited in their mesh control, load types and fixtures (aka boundary conditions), as well as post processing analysis. When the study is complete they can even do a simple optimization study similar to the capabilities in Simulation Premium. Simulation Xpress is a great first pass FEA tool for the product designer.
FloXpress is a simlified version of SolidWorks FlowSimulation CFD solution. Users can study how air or water flows through their assemblies. They are limited to a single input and output.
DFMXpress is a tool from GeoMetric Technologies. This tool allows users to analyze there parts for details that make them difficult to machine. It check for things like inside radius and deep holes. I have little knowledge of the full versions of DFMPro. Geometric was the original developer of eDrawings for SolidWorks so they know their way around SolidWorks for sure.
DriveWorksXpress is a basic rules-based design tool based upon the offerings from DriveWorks. If you use a lot of design tables or do design or build-to-order DriveWorksXpress is a way to get started with Design Automation. Integrated into the SolidWorks Task Pane the tool allows you to capture model dimensions, features, and properties to automate with a user defined form. At the end of the process the system will make new versions of your parts assemblies and drawings for each custom job you specify. DriveWorks does a good job of explaining their limitations in their marketing literature for their entry level paid solution DriveWorksSolo.
SimpoeXpress is a tool for doing mold fill analysis. It came along to fill the void (pun intended) left after AutoDesk discontinued development of MoldFloXpress. The restrictions are the same allowing the user to add a single injection location control and choose from a preset library of materials. When the analysis is complete the tool predicts if your part will fill completely or if you end up with a short shot. I learned about it recently from a customer who was raving about it. I donwloaded it to try it and was quite impressed.
SustainabilityXpress is another tool based upon an offering from SolidWorks. This tool allows you to analyze the environmental impact of a single part at a time. It considers the material and manufacturing of your product as well as where its used and how its transported. The tool then produces a professional report on a number of environmental impact factors. If Green is a goal of your company SustainabilityXpress is a great way to demo it before investing in SolidWorks Sustainability, which works on full assemblies.
CAMWorksXpress is another CAM tool from Geometric Technologies. This is another 2.5 Axis machining option. Unlike most other Xpress tools it is not free. A free trial can be downloaded, but once the trial is up it lists for $995.
SolidCAM Xpress (download)
Another CAM tool available with an XPress version. SolidCAM Xpress claims to offer 2.5 Axis machining as well as 3 Axis Surface Machining functionality. A free trial is available but it also costs money. The price is not published.
That's quite a list. Let me know if I missed any. Or if you've had any experiences with the tools you'd like to share. I have not used them all and would love to hear your impressions of them.