Alignex Blog

Which SOLIDWORKS Version is Best for You?

The Alignex Team on May 22, 2017 at 3:30 PM


Whether you’re thinking about taking the leap into the world of SOLIDWORKS for the first time or you’re a SOLIDWORKS user looking for additional functionality, choosing the best SOLIDWORKS version for you can be confusing. SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software is available in three packages—Standard, Professional, and Premium—packed with capabilities developed to help you meet your specific business goals.

Let's take a tour of what is offered in each version of SOLIDWORKS and explore what version might be right for you.

Standard SolidWorks Version

is the introductory point for most users into the world of Computer-Aided Design. It's intended for the casual user looking to take the next step in being more efficient with their product design. SOLIDWORKS Standard focuses on the core capabilities including:

  • Parts
  • Assemblies 
  • Drawings

Also included in SOLIDWORKS Standard are add-ins that help you take your design efforts to the next level.

Add-ins include, but are not limited to:

  • 3D Interconnect 
    • Allows you to include CAD files from other systems into your designs without translation
    • Updates the original CAD file whenever you make changes, ensuring that your design is always up to date
  • FeatureWorks
    • Does parametric feature recognition on dumb solids so you don't have to start from scratch
  • SimulationXpress
    • Gives you the ability to do basic stress analysis on individual parts
  • Treehouse
    • Plans how your assembly will be arranged before you actually start designing
  • Weldments
    • Design a weldment structure as a single multibody part, sketch the basic framework, create structural members with groups of sketch segments, and adding elements
  • Sheet Metal
    • Gain the flexibility to quickly and cost-effectively create sheet metal part designs
  • Interference Detection
    • See where two parts interfere with each other and verify that components can be assembled properly before going into production

Professional SolidWorks Version

SOLIDWORKS Professional includes everything found in SOLIDWORKS Standard, with several productivity boosters intended to help the everyday user do their job faster and more efficiently.  

Add-ins include, but are not limited to:

  • SOLIDWORKS Toolbox
    • A built in library of over a million standard components that can be dragged and dropped into your assemblies
  • SOLIDWORKS Costing
    • Allows you to consider cost estimates for different design alternatives before prototyping 
  • Task Scheduler
    • Automates common tasks like file conversions and batch printing to help save time
  • Design Checker
    • Automatically identifies elements that may be inconsistent with your organization's design standards
  • Tolerance Analyst (TolAnalyst)
    • Automatically checks the effects of tolerances on parts and assemblies to ensure consistent fit of components
  • CircuitWorks
    • Share, compare, update, and track electrical design data between electrical CAD (ECAD) and mechanical CAD (MCAD) designers

SOLIDWORKS Professional also includes two photo rendering add-ins that allow you to see your finished product well before it ever goes into production.

These include:

  • Photoview 360
    • Creates quick concept renders while working within SOLIDWORKS
  • SOLIDWORKS Visualize
    • A standalone add-on used to create hyper realistic, photo realistic renderings of your finished product 

Premium SolidWorks Version

SOLIDWORKS Premium is designed for the power user. It adds a variety of specialty tools that allow you to see your designs in action, helping identify any problem areas that may arise before your product goes into production.

Add-ins include, but are not limited to:

  • Simulation
    • Tests your parts and assemblies for stress, deformation, and factor of safety under static loads
  • Kinematic and Dynamic Motion Simulation
    • Helps you visualize range of motion, calculate velocity, acceleration, and reaction forces so you can size motors and other components before physical testing
  • SOLIDWORKS Routing
    • Provides libraries and intelligent information for piping, tubing, ductwork, and electrical wiring 

Aside from those, SOLIDWORKS Premium also enhances 3D Interconnect, allowing you to open native CATIA models without requiring an additional translator.

Still Don't Know Which Version is Best for You?

No problem! Contact an Alignex representative and we'll help you sort out which package is best for you and your company. Plus, check out our Guide to Buying SOLIDWORKS or compare features in our product matrix.

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