On the first day of SolidWorks World, you can always expect a big announcement. The big one this year is the announcement of SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual (SWMC). Last year they announced it as well, but this time it comes with a release date and pricing. $249/user/mth, available April 2nd. The price is already being discussed and debated online, but after a few discussions and even more questions we were able to determine and verify the overarching direction behind this new product and others to come.

The Conceptual Transition Into SolidWorks

Mechanical Conceptual was announced on the main stage with flashing lights, a multi-screen presentation and a full-on demo with process examples. It was then you found it stuck in a small kiosk at the back of the SolidWorks Partner Pavilion area causing us to wonder why it wasn’t more prominently displayed, you know, being the big announcement of their new flagship product to replace or transition from SolidWorks, or so we (and others) thought. Fact is, it’s not their new flagship product. It just one part of a bigger plan for SolidWorks.

With the announcement of SWMC, there also came the preview of another product, Industrial Conceptual. This will go into beta testing over the summer with a planned released later this year. So now you have SWMC and SWIC. With these two products it just wasn’t clear in the presentation whether they were meant to eventually replace SolidWorks. The messaging was that they complimented SolidWorks, which many read as a soft transition to a replacement for SolidWorks while not disrupting your business. Well, we determined that these new product are not a soft transition to another product and not an eventual replacement. It’s not that they compliment SolidWorks, it’s that they compliment your workflow into SolidWorks. A very, very important point that brings so much more clarity to all of this.

Dassualt is not replacing SolidWorks. You’re not replacing SolidWorks. SolidWorks isn’t dead or dying. It’s here to stay. Here’s how it breaks down. SolidWorks is the central application, the hub product, so to speak. These “apps” compliment your workflow into SolidWorks by adding additional abilities specific to a particular workflow or design process. Mechanical design capabilities for mechanical design, industrial design capabilities for industrial design and, we assume, future capabilities for plastic design, sheet metal design, mold design, etc., each with specific features to compliment the workflow of that discipline.

There a couple items that need more clarity though. The roadmap of the Conceptual product applications and their pricing.

Industrial design is not necessarily separate from mechanical design. Nor is plastic, sheet metal or mold design separate from the other. Often they’re all part of the same design process. Currently, the understanding is that you would just buy all the apps you need to compliment you workflow into SolidWorks. The philosophy behind this is that you are able to move seamlessly between each app and SolidWorks with everything tied together through the integrated project communities. So, all the apps you need in a single, cohesive environment to compliment your workflow into SolidWorks. But how much will all this cost? Currently,vSWMC is explained as being tied to a user and priced at $249/user/mth ($2998/user/year). If that is indeed the cost of one app and each additional app, that, times however many apps you need to compliment that workflow into SolidWorks, can add a lot of cost very fast–Your cost now includes SolidWorks and each app for each user.

For Dassault, this works out very good though. It keeps their users happy, it keeps their reseller channel happy and it adds an additional revenue stream. User can keep their SolidWorks. Resellers can keep their customers. Dassault can keep the revenue flowing in from their SolidWorks investment. That last point is key to all of this. The apps add a passive and increasing revenue stream with monthly/yearly payments. This is all on top of any SolidWorks licenses and yearly maintenance revenue. For the bottom line, it’s a brilliant solution to increase revenue while not disrupting what’s already there. For the users, however, the value, the roadmap needs and the cost needs to be laid out, cut and dry, clear as day. Their concerns need to be addressed straight away without disregard to their thoughts while trying to reinforce the ‘simple’ and ‘cool’ of a new UI for collaboration. We’ll see if Dassault can move fast enough to make this happen. It’s going to be interesting to see exactly how it all takes shape.

More than anything, we’re interested in what you think. Is this even slightly interesting? Is it what you need? Is there a better solution? We’ve talked to some who think there are better solutions, many more who are wondering about pricing and many, many more who want to get their hands on Industrial Conceptual.

To completely saturate your mind with all things SWMC, you can find Eight things you need to know about SWMC on the SolidWorks Blog, read the press release and find even more info on the SWMC product page. Images below show some of the main capabilities of SWMC, including motion, direct editing, how the community works and access across devices.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.