SolidWorks CEO Manish Kumar outlines his vision for how to integrate AI into the design and simulation products. Image courtesy of Dassault Systemes.

3DEXPERIENCE World 2024: AI-Integrated Design and Simulation Set to Become Backbone

SolidWorks CEO Manish Kumar Outlines Strategies for User Community

SolidWorks CEO Manish Kumar Outlines Strategies for User Community at 3DEXPERIENCE World

This week, SOLIDWORKS users converged on the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, for 3DEXPERIENCE World, the annual gathering of Dassault Systemes (DS) users. The keynote talks suggested AI-powered design and simulation tools are becoming the norm, not just for the DS universe but for the industry at large. For DS, it would become the backbone of the company's offerings in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. 

Partnership with Cadence to Enable Electromechanical Design

When SolidWorks CEO Manish Kumar said, “For today's big announcement, let's have Michael Jackson join me on stage,” there was a burst of laughter. The guest, Corporate VP of EDA (Electronic Design Automation) software maker Cadence Design Systems, seemed used to the people's amusement resulting from sharing the same name with the King of Pop.

What the two announced was a partnership, bringing the AI-powered PCB design tools in Cadence to SOLIDWORKS users. “SOLIDWORKS users are shifting from product-centric thinking to experience-centric thinking. The change is driving the demand for electromechanical devices. So today, Cadence and DS is unveiling the first cloud-based collaborative electromechanical product, purpose-built for SOLIDWORKS,” said Kumar.

The press release said the product was “for continuous development across PCB, 3D mechanical design and simulation.” Jackson said, “We're launching it in July.” Last month, EDA software maker Synopsys signed an agreement to acquire simulation software maker Ansys. The mergers and partnerships point to stronger handshakes between electronics design and mechanical design, as a necessary step toward system-level simulation. 

Kumar also announced the addition of 3D Mechatronics Creator, DraftSite Creator, and a new Teacher Role on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. “With this role, teachers can create courses and share them using existing templates,” he explained. 

SolidWorks CEO Manish Kumar and Cadence Corporate VP Michael Jackson announce a partnership to enable electromechanical design collaboration. Image courtesy of Dassault Systemes

AI as the Backbone of 3DEXPERIENCE

Long before ChatGPT became a household name in AI, SOLIDWORKS began integrating AI-like features, such as Mate Helper, Selection Helper, and Sketch Helper, Kumar pointed out. Going forward, AI would take on a greater role in design and simulation. 

“Imagine you want to create a bookshelf. All you have to do is provide a bounding box, and the Generative AI will create a bookshelf that fits within that box,” said Kumar. He recalled, “To the same AI program, we fed models of coffee tables. Now, the program could create coffee tables without manual intervention.”

For Kumar and his R&D team, the challenge is to teach the AI program manufacturing constraints. Unlike 2D text-to-image generation programs, mechanical CAD programs like SOLIDWORKS need to confine the generated topology to manufacturable shapes. “For us, to be able to create something manufacturable is hard, but we delivered it,” he said. “SOLIDWORKS AI is not a concept for the future. It's the reality today.”

“There's no company right now that can generate parametric models from picture or text input, and that's what we are focusing on,” said Shrikant Savant, AI and Machine Learning Expert, DS. In the first release of AI-based SOLIDWORKS, “What we want to do is give users a generative AI model that works out of the box, but we also understand that customers would like to further customize the model by training it on their own data. We're keeping it in our mind.”

With the Platform or On the Platform

Purchase options for SOLIDWORKS users are, as Kumar put it, “with the platform, or on the platform.” The platform is DS's 3DEXPERIENCE, which includes complementary apps in the 3DEXPERIENCE Works suite. The platform is activated when the customer decides to begin using content from it.

Kumar said, “Initially, there were customers who bought SOLIDWORKS but would not activate the platform. Now, we're seeing many of them activating it within two days. It means they're getting more and more value from it.”

The key difference is, “on the platform” license is a cloud-hosted browser-based SOLIDWORKS license, allowing you to save your data to the cloud but not to your local desktop. “With the platform” means 3DEXPERIENCE apps come with a locally installed SOLIDWORKS copy, so you can save your data to both your local drive and the cloud. 

Whereas veteran SOLIDWORKS users might be more comfortable with menus and commands in the classic UI, Kumar suspects this may not be the case with the younger generation. “For users like my 14-year-old daughter, they won't care what SOLIDWORKS looked like historically. That generation might want to talk to the software [like they do to ChatGPT],” he reasoned. “We will manage different types of UIs and strive to satisfy both types of users.”

Attendees file into the exhibit hall during 3DEXPERIENCE World 2024. Image courtesy of Dassault Systemes.

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Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong is Digital Engineering’s resident blogger and senior editor. Email him at [email protected] or share your thoughts on this article at

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