Synchronous Technology In Solid Edge ST3 – Part 11

<< Part 10

In a previous post titled “Direct Modeling Is Changing Everything” I wrote:

“Each history based parametric modeling MCAD vendor has taken a different approach to Direct Modeling which has ended up in changing the way their software works.”

Just by looking at the way Solid Edge ST3 works today I can see how different it is from the other MCAD systems out there. Synchronous Technology has changed Solid Edge forever. Completely. Today when a Solid Edge user looks at a feature tree, he thinks very differently as compared to users of other MCAD systems.

Of course, if you wish to stick to your old way of history based parametric modeling, you can still do that with Solid Edge ST3. Set the default mode to ordered and never switch it to synchronous. If you feel like fiddling around with direct modeling a bit they can do that as well. If you want to go all guns blazing and do direct modeling only, Solid Edge ST3 has an extremely powerful set of tools for doing so.

The software is quite intuitive as well. If you open a model with synchronous features only, it starts up in synchronous mode. If the model contains only ordered features, it opens it up in ordered mode. Clicking a feature in ordered mode brings up the Edit Feature Quickbar for fast and easy editing of the feature. Clicking a face in synchronous mode displays the steering wheel for direct modeling operations. And of course, as I showed in the video in this series, there are times when you get access to the steering wheel when you are in ordered mode as well.

Although synchronous features form the foundation of the model, you can bolt on ordered features as you please. You can make synchronous features drive the ordered features. The best part is that Siemens PLM is still developing this technology. A lot has been done and I guess they will do a whole lot more. As a programmer I envy the people at Siemens PLM working on developing this technology. I also congratulate them on what they have done so far. I have watched Synchronous Technology evolve over the past two years. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Siemens PLM is going to take this technology forward.

Although this series has turned out to be eleven parts long, I believe I have simply scratched the surface of Solid Edge ST3. I wrote this series after fiddling around with Solid Edge ST3 for a couple of hours and figuring things for myself. I may have got some of it wrong. I will post updates with corrections as and when required.

Solid Edge ST3 has a host of other new features. For example, you can now create a family of parts from models that have only synchronous features. Family of parts now has member overrides for live rules, dimension variables and relationships.

I believe ST3 will be remembered as an important release that changed the direction of Solid Edge.

Disclosure: Siemens PLM gave me an evaluation license of Solid Edge ST3. That was not necessary because as a Siemens Solution Partner my company gets their software for free anyways. But then I am required to draw a distinction between my role as a partner and as a blogger.

  • Dave Ault

    You hit the nail on the head for the only big problem I know of with ST3 and it is a problem that is there in ST2 also. Save should absolutely not erase the data if you want to undo. Perhaps a cache with the data in it that periodically needs to be flushed BY THE USER would be a good alternative here for SE rather than automatically doing something most of us would prefer it didn’t. In VX I can save and still undo past the save which has bailed me out when things fail. I never know when for any number of reasons, especially at the end of a long run of rural electrical supply where power failures are more common than I wish, I can lose a part because it was not saved.

    It is my only real complaint however and everything else is good. I am happy to be here for sure and just wish the DVD’s would get here quickly. Nice series on a great product and I am glad you took the time to do this.

    • I work on a mobile workstation. So power failures are the least of my problems. The reason I save regularly is because of software crashes. And software don’t always do a good job in recovering data till the last operation.

      I really would like to know why Solid Edge flushes out the undo information on every save. Software doesn’t work like that. It just doesn’t make any sense.

      Glad you liked the series.

      • d3print

        If I remember correct, that save/undo proplem has been in V19, V20 and ST1 also.

        • Cacciatorino Marchetti

          V18 too.

  • Jon Sutcliffe

    Great series of posts Deelip.
    Thank you
    Best regards
    Jon Sutcliffe

  • Do one on synchronous sheet metal next.

  • Thanks Deleep… great read.

  • d3print

    One thing is sure, that we the end users will be more confused with these new features and feature tree we have seen. My opinion is that this kind of trends is going far away from the needs what regular user need. Personally I don`t need and want any feature trees at all when I design something.
    Base idea for all these direct editing tools are good, but the realization is not.

    Just my thought`s.


    • Dan Staples

      I think the point perhaps is you can be as simple or complex as you like. You can simply work in Synchronous — you will never see an Ordered section — you will never see a Simplified section. You will only have Synchronous and all the many benefits that have been described with previous releases — as you note “not needing a feature tree to design”. However, if you want to take the next step and have “ordered” features or a “simplified model” you can and it all works together. I think this is what people are excited about — its up to you to decide what level of capability and/or complexity to take on for a given design or user.

      • d3print

        Yes, I agree. Need some training also.

  • Davidg7539

    What we’d hoped for was the possibility to make a fully constrained basic model that cannot be inadvertently modified with the option to modify it with synchronous tools – reading this blog it doesn’t sound if that’s available in ST3

    • I haven’t tried it but I guess you maybe able to do that by creating dimensions for just about every piece of geometry and locking them.

      • davidg7539

        I have tried that (in ST2) – but it requires far more effort than making a traditional model and, again in ST2 at least, results in very poor performance – dimensions taking more than a minute to update etc. Locked dimensions are also unreliable in some circumstances. The real problem is that with synchronous it can be very difficult, and in some circumstances impossible, to constrain/control elements of a model such that changes are confidently predictable. Applying a grounded relationship to every face is not the answer either – in practice that just makes editing even more difficult. What is needed is exactly the same geometric and dimensional control constraints available in traditional to be available in synchronous as a persistent control when needed by the designer. From what I’ve read I don’t think that’s the case in ST3 – but perhaps it will be in ST4?

  • Theodore Turner

    You can always select all the relevant faces and apply a persistent ground relationship to them. I think the option has been available since ST 1.

  • Binsar

    A few hours of exposure and an 11 part review…..fantastic…. hats off to you Deelip….. I am tempted to use ST3 as well….. 🙂