SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD is one of the most powerful and intuitive 3D CAD systems on the market. Produced by Dassault Systèmes, it is a solid modelling program that runs on Microsoft Windows.The first product was released in 1995 by SOLIDWORKS, Corporation, then based in Concord, Massachusetts

Trusted by millions

The product is currently used by over three million engineers and designers at more than 245,000 companies worldwide. The user base ranges from individuals to large corporations, and covers a very wide cross-section of manufacturing market segments. Commercial sales are made through an indirect channel, which includes dealers and partners throughout the world.

SOLIDWORKS is a solid modeller, and utilises a parametric feature-based approach to create models and assemblies. Such systems are very good at capturing the design intent of the creator of the part being worked on. Building a model in SOLIDWORKS usually starts with a 2D sketch (although 3D sketches are available for power users).

There are currently several versions of SOLIDWORKS, in addition to eDrawings, a collaboration tool, and DraftSight, a 2D CAD product.

SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD comes in three packages - Standard, Professional and Premium. What are the differences between the three? When does it make sense to upgrade?

Take a look at our matrix to see the different features of each version to help decide which is the right one for you.

Although there are many factors involved, our expert team will be pleased to look at which main functionalities you need and whether upgrading is needed to streamline your design processes.


A fully functional suite of SOLIDWORKS' core 3D design capabilities, allowing the rapid creation of parts, assemblies and 2D drawings. SOLIDWORKS Standard also includes some FEA capability to perform static and stress analysis on parts.

SOLIDWORKS Professional:

All the power of SOLIDWORKS Standard but with additional capabilities:

  • Extensive CAD libraries
  • SOLIDWORKS Costings
  • PhotoView 360
  • eDrawings Professional.
Ultimately SOLIDWORKS Professional will increase your productivity, ensure greater accuracy and help you to communicate design information more effectively.


The complete 3D design system, SOLIDWORKS Premium has the following additional features:

  • Advanced FEA simulation capabilities, allowing static, stress and motion analyses to be performed.
  • A routing feature for tooling and harnessing, including support for rectangular ducting and cable trays
  • CircuitWorks, to create enclosures for circuit boards Automated Tolerance Stack-Up Analyst (Tol Analyst) to determine sizing allowances.

Key Benefits

  • Easy to learn, easy to use
  • Customisable to fit experience and expertise
  • Wizards, experts and diagnostics tools take the complexity out of CAD, with powerful modelling tools making it easy to create the complex forms needed
  •  Sketches update automatically in the 3D CAD model
  • Powerful modelling tools produce sophisticated, beautiful forms that differentiate products in today's competitive market
  • Tools such as copy, mirror and pattern geometry automate repetitive design and development tasks
  • Quickly and easily create design variations from a single model
  • View, rotate and even fly-through complex assembly designs for more clarity
  • Check interferences, clearances and alignment throughout the full range of motion
  • Intelligent libraries of reusable parts, including intelligent fasteners that assemble themselves automatically
  • Create brochure-ready high quality product renderings selecting from a range of options for materials, textures and backgrounds; capture animations of your design to share with suppliers and customers
  • SOLIDWORKS Large Design Review will quickly open, navigate, walk-through, measure, section and create snapshot views of massive assemblies, adding annotations as you go
  • Creates comprehensive 2D drawings that are automatically linked with the 3D model - as the 3D model is modified so too is the 2D drawing updated ensuring all views are up to date and drawings are to scale
  • Standard templates and automated drawing checks streamline common design checking tasks
    Automated creation of bills of material (BOMS), balloons and annotations, plus expert tools for dimensioning and tolerancing


Lightfoot: Creating a Stir in Vehicle Telematics with SOLIDWORKS


Ashwoods Automotive Ltd

The Company

A young, dynamic and visionary company, Ashwoods Automotive Ltd is a leading UK based design and engineering company, combining cutting-edge innovation with an astute understanding of its customers’ needs.  

Ashwoods Automotive designs and develops award-winning market-driven engineering solutions. It is the UK's leading supplier of Hybrid commercial vehicles and has successfully developed its own technology to produce components such as electric motors and battery packs.

The Challenge

After successfully expanding into components for hybrid vehicles, Ashwoods Automotive recognised growing demand from their customers for an interactive driver solution. Customers wanted a system that would monitor and interact with the driver’s behaviour while at the same time retaining telematic data to provide fleet managers with a snapshot of driver performance and key metrics.

The Solution

Using SOLIDWORKS, Ashwoods Automotive began work on Lightfoot, a simple system that modifies driver behaviour by working in-vehicle with the driver. Mechanical Engineer Simon Comerford needed to design Lightfoot’s in-cab display unit that would alert the driver through audible and visual guides. 

Simon says SOLIDWORKS also helped them react quickly to any design changes: "There were numerous versions in development and SOLIDWORKS let us update and improve the design with ease. It is a good, intuitive package and is key in helping us produce new and innovative products, such as Lightfoot, very quickly."

The Results

  • Full design solution from concept to manufacture with SOLIDWORKS.
  • Accelerated development time.
  • Innovative design changes made easy
  • Ease of file sharing.
  • Reduced downtime with technical support from New Technology CADCAM

“The technical support we receive from New Technology CADCAM is superb. They usually sort any queries we have over the phone, but if they can’t they will work on it and always get back to us with a solution. I have never yet been able to stump them.” 

Simon Comerford

Mechanical Engineer, Ashwoods Automotive

Watch a video about how Lightfoot works