SolidWorks World 2009 Tuesday General Session

February 11, 2009 147 Comments »
SolidWorks World 2009 Tuesday General Session

SolidWorks World 2009

OK folks….it’s a long post…but quite a bit happened in the General Session today. Lots of GOOD STUFF!

Tuesday’s General Session at SolidWorks World 2009 started off with Fielder Hiss, who is the Director of Product Marketing for SolidWorks taking the stage in advance of a long cast of participants. Fielder introduced Tom Salomone of Hewlett Packard (HP) and recognized them as a sponsor of SolidWorks World 2009.

Not long after that Fielder introduced Jeremy Luchini, who is the Certification Manager for SolidWorks. Jeremy and his team does a GREAT job every year planning the CSWP Event and last night’s event was no different. Jeremy showed off some video taken from last night’s events which featured all the CSWP’s putting together Mega Brands iCoasters! Mega Brands stepped up BIG this year and sponsored the CSWP event with LOTS of prizes. After the video was shown Jeremy brought up Yanick Tremblay, the Design Manager for Mega Brands, to discuss how they use SolidWorks to design the very complex parts that make up the Mega Brands product line. They showed many screen shots of SolidWorks models from the development process of their NEO Shifters line of products. They also showed an AMAZING animation of the NEO Shifters that was absolutely stunning to watch!


Jeremy also announced a few new details that will be forthcoming soon with the CSWP program. Candidates will soon be able to take their test in 1 hour increments. This capability will be supported with a new version of the Virtual Tester software that will be available soon that allows managers to view their employees progress as well as many new options for the certified professionals in the program.

Next up was SolidWorks Founder and Group Executive Jon Hirschtick. I met Jon for the first time a little over 2 years ago at SolidWorks World 2007 in New Orleans. I was fortunate enough to sit by him at the press dinner and it was without a doubt one of the most fascinating two hours of my life. I’ve been able to stay in touch with Jon through Twitter and was even able to see him present late last year at a Knoxville SolidWorks User Group Event. Jon as they say, “Is the real deal”. He is as genuine as anyone I have ever met and is incredibly humble in his accomplishments in this industry.


Jon gave his thoughts on where he thinks the future of the 3D CAD industry is going. Right off the bat Jon made the declaration that “Today is still the beginning.” He sees many more changes in the industry down the road and here are a few in particular that he mentioned.

Jon’s first Future Trend was Touch/Motion User Interface. He cited some examples of devices that specialize and innovate in this area which include the iPhone and Wacom tablets. What he showed next was a video that was produced by Kirk Haller who works in SolidWorks R&D. The video shows of a prototype program called Surface Sketching that allows the user to create sketch entities with nothing but their hands on a Microsoft Surface table. What was amazing about this was that users were using MULTIPLE hands from MULTIPLE people. Imagine being able to drag TWO points on a spline at ONCE! That was one of the capabilities demonstrated. Perhaps the coolest part of it was when the users balled up the hands and erased the geometry in much the same way you would erase a chalk board with your hand. REALLY COOL technology. The prototype is on display in the Partner Pavilion. I’ll try to make my way there tomorrow for a closer look! With this and other technologies on the horizon, Jon believes that specialized CAD specific hardware will make its way back into the CAD industry down the road.

Jon’s second future trend was Online Applications. Drawings Now, which is available at SolidWorks Labs was the example that he used of existing technology already out there today. Jon believes that we will see more of this soon but also said that he feels we are still a little far away from online 3D applications.

Jon’s third future trend was the use of Video Game Technology. He believes that more and more of the advanced real time rendering that is being developed heavily for the Gaming Industry will make its way into CAD. Jon mentioned that the Ambient Inclusion option that was added in SolidWorks 2008 has its roots in the video game industry. He expects that more of that technology will make its way into 3D CAD. He also mentioned that he felt that Internet Bandwidth and Gaming Hardware will have key roles in the future as well.

The fourth of Jon’s future trends is 3D printing. He mentioned the importance of early testing with physical prototypes and overviewed how the technology is becoming more and more advanced. Faster build times and complete multicolor prototypes are driving the industry forward.

Next, Jon shared some video of two customer visits he made recently to New Balance in Boston and Sony Ericsson in Sweden. First up was the New Balance video. In the video Jon was toured around the New Balance facility by Matt Dunbar who is the Senior CAD Designer. Matt is a CSWP and former Reseller AE and after this presentation was over, it was obvious to everyone that Matt is doing some incredible work at New Balance. Matt revealed that New Balance produced over 100 3D print models a month spread across two 3D Printers. He shared some detail on how he gets concepts from industrial designers and then produces approximate prototypes for basic scale and styling checks. After the design is refined quite a bit, Matt and his team model the ENTIRE SOLE OF THE SHOE IN SOLIDWORKS!!!! Absolutely amazing! New Balance also used their 3D printers to build molds which are used to create treads that can be glued onto prototype shoes for actual testing! After the video was shown, Jon introduced Matt, who came up on the stage in person to continue the presentation. New Balance and Matt were nice enough to share some details about their SolidWorks models with some AMAZING screenshots showing the FeatureManager of a multi-body part file containing over 1300 features!!! WOW! Matt says that they have models that contain as many as 1800 features! I’ll bet they are using 64 bit Operating Systems and some highly powerful Workstations for those designs! This was one of the most impressive customer presentations I have ever seen at SolidWorks World!

Next Jon shared another customer visit with the attendees by showing a video of him visiting Sony Ericsson in Sweden. Jon visited two departments at Sony Ericsson. He visited both their Industrial Design departments and their Design Engineering departments. At Sony Ericsson, the Industrial Designers often get involved with 3D modeling EARLY in the project. This data is then passed along to the Design Engineering department where the models are made to manufacturing specs and the multiple components are split out for production. Sony Ericsson also has an in house 3D printer and from the sounds of it prints around 100 models a month. They showed off some basic shapes where they had a form factor model of a phone that had two different keypad configurations. (One on one end and one on the other.) After the video was finished, Jon invited Tom Waldner, Senior Design Manager for Sony Ericsson, up on stage. Tom shared many of his 30 years of experience in the cell phone industry with the crowd. One of the things he stressed that reminded me of Richard Branson’s speech from yesterday was that they spend a lot of time examining the want/needs of their customers and also do quite a bit of work understanding the styling & fashion trends of the markets today. The common theme here is GET TO KNOW YOUR USERS!

That concluded Jon’s portion of the General Session. It was a welcome sight to see Jon back on stage. I hope the folks at SolidWorks are listening when I say this: Jon needs to be on stage EVERY year! Now all we need to do is figure out how we can get Vic Leventhal back on stage. :-)

It appeared as if the General Session was wrapping up but there was one more surprise left. Dr. Steven Endersby who I believe is heading up the SolidWorks Simulation product line now came on stage and before he could get started really a voice announced a contest called “Will it Break?” First introduced was the first contestant, a 265 pound Sumo Wrestler whose name I can’t remember. The opponent was a 65 pound pink scooter. The funny part of it was when SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray rode out on the pink scooter wearing a pink helmet. The Sumo wrestler climbed on the scooter and rode all around the stage with no problems at all! Round two of the match involved the Sumo wrestler picking the scooter up above his head and dropping it to the ground! Simulation Studies of both the heavy stress (from the Sumo Wrestler) and the drop onto the stage were shown as well.


Well, that’s all for the Tuesday General Session. Tomorrow is the big day…Wednesday’s General Session will reveal the location of SolidWorks World 2010, SolidWorks 2010 will be previewed, and there are rumors flyin around of more surprises! I just so happened to catch a hint tonight of one of the surprises tonight….but my lips are sealed…you’ll all have to wait till tomorrow! :-)

Tomorrow is my wonderful wife’s birthday. I have the coolest wife in the world without a doubt! I think I’m still going to have some making up to do for being away at SWW today! :-) Happy Birthday honey! Love Ya!

Stay tuned….MUCH MUCH more to come….Live from SolidWorks World 2009!

UPDATED 2-11-09 – 4:33pm EST

Well, if you are looking at this post and seeing the 115+ comments….that’s not a bunch of SolidWorks users!  It seems as if my wife has been having some fun with me today..which I probably deserve for being gone to a conference on her birthday!  :-)  My phone was going off this morning this morning like nobody’s business.  So much I had to charge it mid way through the day.   :-)  Some folks might get upset with this but my friends and I here at the conference have been laughing like crazy!   So again…Happy Birthday Dear….I’ll be home tomorrow to provide you some well deserved relief!  – Ricky

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  • Southern plate is great! Sorry for the rhyme. Anyway, just sharing some birthday love for Christy and her great blog.

  • Sharon

    Hey Ricky, LOVE your wife's blog. Have a great time at Disney!

  • MichelleChell

    Your wife rocks and so does her blog!!! You better take care of her good for her Birthday!!!

  • Maria

    Hey Ricky! LOVE your wife’s blog!” Got some awesome recipes on there that my kiddo LOVES.. to bad shes not old enough to enjoy yours.


  • Hello! Just another Southern Plate fan dropping by to leave a comment…hope you have a great trip and an even better time at home when you get back. I appreciate your wife's blog. :-) I'm sure your's isn't bad, it's just not southern cooking. ;-) Have a blessed day!

  • Chery

    I love your wifes website and blog! Tell her Happy Birthday for me!

  • Jennifer

    SouthernPlate rocks! Best Blog ever!

  • Your wife's blog is THE BEST! I hope you love her as much as we do and will bring her something really good from Mickey's place! Maybe next year you could take her with you.

  • Bill Gent

    Hey Mr. Southern Plate!
    I'm glad you know what a blessing you have in Christy. Her blog is great. I hope you surprise her with something good! She's a hoot.. even when she talks about you being dropped on your head when you were a baby. God Bless both of you.

  • Beverly

    Ricky, just wanted to let you know how blessed you are to have Christy as your wife. She is so talented and man can he cook! She has an awesome cooking blog that I read daily. I can't go a day without checking in to see what delicious food she has cooked next. Being away from her on her birthday must be very hard for you! I know she sure wishes she was with you! Be sure and take her with you next time so she doesn't have to spend her BIRTHDAY alone again!!!! lol.

  • Micha

    Hey this is another one of your wife’s fans. Christy rocks. WooHoo!

  • Glenda

    Boy you are in the dog house now! Wait till you see what is going to happen today!! You a have a lovely talented wife that you better be buying the best birthday present in the world for. Shame on you leaving her at home with the kids on her birthday!! LOL Hope you will be home by Valentines Day to make it up to her. Have a great day. By the way I just love your wifes blog. You a very lucky man.

  • Kathy

    Hey Ricky,
    Another of Christy's fans.Love her blogs.She is an awesome lady.Remember to buy her something super nice for her Birthday your missing.

  • Kristine

    I LOVE your wife's blog…she is my inspiration!

  • Hey Ricky! LOVE your wife’s blog! Southern Plate is the BEST!!!

  • Somer

    Hey Ricky! Love your wife's blog! You have some making up to do when you get back from Disney World.

  • Joan

    I think you should fly your wife to Disneyworld to meet you for her b'day, as she loves it so and she is having to spend her b'day at home with the kids!!

  • Paula

    Ricky – I LOVE your wife's blog…SOUTHERN PLATE is sooo AWESOME!

  • Angie

    You sure do have some makin' up to do cause your wife's blog *rocks*! Happy Birthday Christy!

  • Fan in Bama

    Southern Plate is fabulous and so is Christy!! Happy Birthday to Christy!!!

  • Mary Alice

    Good morning Ricky: I love your wife's blog, and I sure hope you're bringing home something wonderful for her birthday, which she is celebrating ALONE AT HOME WITH THE KIDS. You have a good day now…..

  • Tonia

    Hi Ricky! I just LOVE your wife’s blog. Have fun in Disney while she is at home with 2 kids on her birthday.

  • Amy

    Hey, Ricky! You should be ashamed of yourself…leaving your wife at home with 2 kids on her birthday while you are in Disney! She is the greatest and I love….You must do really something special for her birthday when you get home.

  • rollingstonemom

    Southern Plate is absolutely fabulous! Christy’s recipes are great and her sense of humor kieeps me rolling on the floor! You have a fantastic wife! Enjoy your time in Disney as your wife is home with 2 kids on her birthday!

  • Saundra

    Hey Ricky! I hope you already have the best thing eber planned to make up for your wife's birthday you missed!Oh and her blog..incompareable to anyothers. I LOVE it!

  • Belinda Stubbs

    What a beautiful, talented wife you have! I know she misses you on her Birthday today! Hurry home to her soon!!!!

  • Hi Ricky, just dropped in to say that your wife's blog is AWESOME!!!!! I love all her recipes! You better get her an awesome gift for her birthday, since she has to be home with the kids while you're in Disneyland.

  • Linda

    Hi Ricky! What a sweet southern belle of a wife you have! I read her blog everyday, and it always takes me back to my roots in Mobile Alabama. Speaking of Mobile…you know Mobile is only about 40 miles from Gulf Shores. We are having spring like weather here already. A weekend at Gulf Shores might make a great belated birthday surprise……I bet your favorite mother in-law would keep the kids!

  • Kelli Ogren

    BRAINSTORM– I just had an even BETTER IDEA for a present !! Why don’t you buy her some of those Fire King plates/bakeware that she likes????? You can get it on Ebay. You know you are just sitting around down there and probably have like 20 computers with you- get on one of them and start bidding !!!!!!!!!!! :)

  • Love Me Some Southern Plate

    Hey Ricky! Your wife's blog is amazing! Loooove it!

  • Cee

    Wow man, you sure are in the dog house! Christy does have a wonderful blog, and all her recipes are wonderful to try out…. hmm wonder if you need to pick a few of them out and present her a wonderful meal prepared by you (you might as well video it or capture it via camera) and present it on her blog….. that and jewelry always work….. and dont forget Valentines day either… I'd hate to see a grown man sleeping in his car ie…. doghouse…….. lol… Heck, while your at it, might as well bring the kiddos something too!

  • Elizabeth

    You better bring your wife back something pretty great from Disney for her birthday since you abandoned her with the kids to go have fun! Doesn't she have the greatest blog? Love, Love, Love the recipes and stories!


    Hey there Ricky, You have got to be the luckiest guy! Getting to sample the wonderful meals and snacks your beautiful wife prepares. She really has a great website, even my own husband will agree to that. I have become a better cook because of your wife. :) She really does ~*ROCK*~! And I really hope her Birthday does ~*ROCK*~ as much as she does!

  • BeckySue

    Hi Ricky! This looks like an….interesting blog, but I have to say your wife's blog totally rocks! She makes me a better wife/mom/homemaker. She's awesome and I hope she has a happy birthday in spite of the fact you're at Disney and she's stuck at home! :-) Good luck, dude!

    Happy Birthday Christy!!!

  • ttrenta

    Hey Ricky. Your wife is so funny and has a great blog!

  • Your wife's blog rules. Hope you bought her something good for her birthday!

  • Angela

    Happy Birthday to Christy!! Her blog is AWESOME and oh so EVIL!!!! LOL I have made at least 10 recipes so far and my fam has been SOOOOO very happy. =)

    You gotta get her something good from DW!!!! Princess diamonds are the best!

  • jnetstlngs

    poor christy thinking about all those cinderellas with her fella. not really but i would think she deserves the glass slipper from DW for her birthday.

  • Linda

    Hi Ricky,
    Sure hope you are having a good time in Disney World while your wife is home on her birthday with 2 kids and without her huband. :) Enjoy yourself and don't forget the “bling” as her present for being home alone on her birhtday with 2 kids whille you where in Disney World. :)

  • cookie

    I'm sure that you've figured out by now, how much we adore your wife!! Our dedication has turned us into co-horts…lol. I would say, 'hope you have a good time down there' but since she's not with ya, I can't. The poor thing ;) I'm sure she'll be on your mind all day today…lol

    Take care, be sweet to her.

  • Playful Pandora

    I must say, this was not as interesting as Christy's blog, u know, the loving wonderful wife you left at home on her BDay with two kids while you romp and frolic in the land of Disney…and as for having SOME making up to do…thats a bit of an understatement ;)
    We love you Christy, and thats from my whole family, who happened to be watching toons and playing WoW while I try to figure out which of ur lovely recipes will be dinner tonight in honor of ur BDay. Hehe, no hard feelings Rick ;)

  • Cherrill

    Hi Ricky,
    I hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather in Orlando while hanging with Mickey. I hope that Christy survives this Birthday I honestly think she may bust a gut by the end of the day laughing at the thought of your phone going off almost every few minutes. I'm sure this will be a birthday to remember…..Happy Birthday Christy

    Oh, by the way just thought you'd like to know southernplate is off the hook!

  • Hey Ricky! I love you wife's blog and hope you are thinking about her while you enjoy Disney World

  • hey Ricky,

    you should visit southern For some reason, I think you and her would get along great :oP

  • Hey Ricky! Your wife's blog rocks!!

    :) Big grin. I think she's stinkin' brilliant for this plan.

  • Pat

    Hi Ricky, Hope you're having fun in Disneyworld. BTW, I love Southern Plate. Your blog is nice also. ;-)

  • Donna

    Hey, Rickey!!!
    I Just love Your Wife's blog Please tell her Happy Birthday for me!!!

  • Donna

    Hey Ricky – Just a note to tell you how much my family enjoys Christi's blog and recipes.

  • Sincerely Gina

    Hey There Ricky,

    I’m going to simply cut you some slack…being that today is my Birthday as well and my hubs is working too……
    Southern Plate Blog Rocks, the recipes are awesome….southern gals do it better…lol
    Christy seems very charming and has an incredible personality but of course she’s an Aquarius as I am…..
    I’m more than sure Mr J. has a great Birthday gift coming your way….
    Best wishes to the both of you…

  • Swedie

    Hey Ricky,

    Your wife's blog is the greatest! You must eat wonderfully well! Hope your blog is someday as successful as hers. She does appreciate you very much.