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


Saving Lives With SOLIDWORKS: Supacat's RNLI Launch And Recovery System



The Company

Supacat is an innovative engineering design house producing and supporting high-mobility, all-terrain vehicles. Based in Devon, the company develops high performance vehicles for defence purposes, as well as other specialist vehicles and equipment for extreme environments.

The Challenge

To design and  build from a clean sheet, an all-weather Launch & Recovery System for the RNLI that could carry their new 18-tonne Shannon-class lifeboats to the water’s edge and launch within minutes. The vehicle needed to be able to traverse across gravel and shingle beaches and withstand the onslaught of heavy waves and being fully submersed. 

The Solution

Supacat’s design team were able to start the pre-production vehicle from scratch modelling in SOLIDWORKS and used the software for producing all the components of the Launch & Recovery System.

The Results

The new RNLI Launch and Recovery System is now operational at four UK beaches (Dungeness, Exmouth, Hoylake and Ilfracombe), with St Ives due to receive their L&RS in November 2015. The system’s rear cradle can be rotated 360 degrees and allows a boat to be picked up from a beached position bow first and turned around ready for re-launch bow first within five minutes. The RNLI estimates the advanced manoeuvrability of the new Shannon-class lifeboat and the Launch & Recovery System means more than 56,000 people will be rescued in its lifetime and more than 1,500 lives saved.


A customer of NT CADCAM’s since 2004, Nick Baker says it’s important to have an open relationship with their SOLIDWORKS supplier, ‘We need our CAD reseller to be open, honest and to be responsive when we need answers, and NT CADCAM stands up to the mark.” 

“SOLIDWORKS gives us the advantage of being able to flag up any design issues or clashes before manufacture, reduce scrappage and ultimately get the design right first time.”

Nick Baker

Head of Engineering, Supacat