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


The Bradley Collection case study video

The Bradley Collection

A leader in the curtain pole and track industry. The Bradley Collection has built up a reputation for high quality and technically advanced designs. Customer demands for modern styling and track functionality fused with classic and progressive finishes presented and interesting challenge for the company. How would they design a customisable collection that would fit across all styles and mechanisms with different pole diameters, but with one bracket system that would work across all?

SOLIDWORKS Puts The Bradley Collection in Pole Position

Bradley Collection

The Bradley Collection

A leader in the curtain pole and track industry, The Bradley Collection has built up a reputation for high quality and technically advanced designs. It was founded by fashion designer Priscilla Bradley when she couldn't find the right interior products to remodel her home. She decided to take matters into her own hands and used her artisan contacts to custom-design, among other things, her own curtain poles. Word soon spread and in 1992 a brand was born for other discerning clients with a similar set of needs and wants.

The company's portfolio has now expanded to include 12 collections (including two fabric collections) and is established on both sides of the Atlantic, supplying major UK retailers including John Lewis as well as leading hotel and casino brands. Using a wide range of manufacturing techniques including its own on-site blacksmith forge, precision laser cutting and 3D printers for prototyping, The Bradley Collection's single aim is to provide the best quality curtain poles in the world.

The Challenge

The Bradley Collection's most recent challenge was to design a new "Eclipse" curtain pole collection that would meet customer demand for a hybrid style mixing traditional finishes with modern functionality. They needed to design a customisable collection that would work across all styles and mechanisms with different pole diameters (30mm, 38mm and 50mm) but with one bracket system that would work across all of them.

The Solution

In 2002, the design team switched from AutoCAD 2D to SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD. The company wanted to diversify its product offering and needed to revamp its design workflows so it could visualise, communicate and engineer designs faster to react faster to orders and changing customer trends.

As Tom Brewster, The Bradley Collection's Design Manager explained "Being able to visualise design intent is incredibly important to us in innovating new designs. 2D drawings can't always convey the design intent but visuals and exploded visuals are an incredible tool. With SOLIDWORKS, the advantage is that we can tweak the design as we go and get drawings from the updated designs instantly. We can then send out technical information to manufacturers or visuals to clients extremely quickly."


Reduced Time to Market
Previously working in 2D, a new collection would have taken The Bradley Collection 18 months to complete from conception to launch. Working in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, the company delivered the new Eclipse Collection in just six months. Tom says, "SOLIDWORKS lets us experiment with different design principles along with varying scale and control options before committing to a design. This meant the design was pretty much finalised before we prototyped, leading to massive time and cost savings."

Fast Bespoke Orders with SOLIDWORKS Simulation
Previously at The Bradley Collection, any customised curtain pole orders would have to be manually tested or over-engineered to make sure the poles and brackets were strong enough to bear the weight of the curtains - a very extravagant and time-poor way of testing the designs. Now using SOLIDWORKS Simulation, Tom and his team can analyse and verify their designs in hours rather than days.

Zero Waste With SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal
Working with SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal helps The Bradley Collection reduce manufacturing costs by enabling them to specify cuts and blends in the designs before sending the drawings to manufacture.

Working with NT CADCAM

"SOLIDWORKS reseller NT CADCAM has been with us throughout our whole journey into 3D CAD. Its technical expertise and support is fantastic. Because SOLIDWORKS is very reliable, we don't have to call NT CADCAM for much support anymore but when we do, even with the silly small issues, the team there can solve any issues with a couple of clicks, saving us any frustrations or delays."

"SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD truly allows us to innovate, squeeze down and push our designs further than ever before. Everything we strive for in our curtain pole and track designs - simplicity, clarity of purpose and elegance can be achieved using SOLIDWORKS. Not only do our designs turn heads but SOLIDWORKS also gives us a big advantage over our competitors."

Tom Brewster,
Design Manager, The Bradley Collection

Download the full case study or watch our customer testimonial video below to find out more.