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Typically conceptual design consumes almost a third of project time, with an average of six different design iterations. With 98 percent of companies collaborating on conceptual design, the potential impact on your time-to-market and cost is clear, and transparent data management and communication are critical.

Formerly known as Mechanical Conceptual, SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design simplifies conceptual design and encourages natural collaboration. It is an instinctive, easy-to-use design tool, which provides a way to harness the collective intelligence of the whole design team, customers and supply chain, in order to capture ideas and obtain feedback.

SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design is complementary to SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software, so designers can focus on solving design challenges quickly; develop, verify, and present concepts; and then easily transition to building part and assembly structures.

This product combines the benefits of feature-based and history-free modelling in an unique way to provide a highly flexible, interactive workflow. Wasted design time is eliminated by eliminating the need to start again or drastically rework a design in order to make an underlying change. A single modelling environment merges design history, parametrics and direct editing so users can develop concepts in many different ways - top down, bottom up, layout sketch or master model. 2D concepts quickly evolve into detailed 3D concept designs with automatic mapping of sketch relations into assembly mates and motion drivers

Key Benefits

  • Simplifies complex ideas at the conceptual design stage.
  • Allows more design iterations in the same time, and/or speed time-to-market.
  • Encourages greater design innovation.
  • Intelligent data can be accessed any time from anywhere, safely and securely.
  • Continuous file saving keeps design files and intelligent data current, safe and secure.
  • Access data via the cloud so development teams can communicate from anywhere, any time to ensure easy collaboration.
  • Direct editing easily transforms both native and imported geometry without limits, reducing remodelling time.
  • Realistic predictive behaviour confirms mechanical operation and shows how a model reacts in the real world, toidentify problems and resolve them while designing.
  • Evolve design from layout sketches and 3D geometry to separate parts and assemblies without being constrained by product structures.
  • Confirms mechanical operations and alerts if design goals are violated.
  • Automatic background simulation and real-time analysis during design confirm model operations.


Getting Recycling Ideas to Market Faster with SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design


Karl W Schmidt & Associates, Inc.

The Company

Karl W. Schmidt & Associates, Inc. is a global leader in the design, engineering, and manufacturing of custom recycling systems. Through its focus on innovation, the company has grown steadily and now serves clients in more than 35 countries. In addition to supplying state-of-the-art recycling systems and equipment, Karl W. Schmidt & Associates helps its customers operate more efficiently by providing strategic insights on recycling trends and technologies.

The recycling firm’s commitment to innovation extends to its use of advanced design tools. Karl W. Schmidt & Associates upgraded from AutoCAD® 2D design tools to the SOLIDWORKS® 3D development platform and today continues to use SOLIDWORKS design, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional analysis, and SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM (EPDM) product data management software to support system development and production.

As part of the SOLIDWORKS Community, the company’s engineers attend SOLIDWORKS events to keep abreast of the availability of new solutions. At the 2012 SOLIDWORKS World Conference and Exhibition, Karl W. Schmidt & Associates Engineering Manager Mike Buchli saw the introduction of SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design software and immediately realized how the first SOLIDWORKS solution on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform would help the company tighten and shorten its traditionally long sales cycle.

“I signed up for the Lighthouse Program for SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design because I could see how the software could help us compress our sales cycle, which historically has lasted eight months,” Buchli recalls. “Prior to winning an order, we frequently iterate with customers to finalize equipment design and system layout. With SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design software, we believed that we could substantially reduce the length of the sales process, get new ideas to market faster, and win more business.

“Ideas don’t always fit inside a pretty little box,” Buchli stresses. “With SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design, I can lay my ideas out naturally, collaborate with customers efficiently, and work new ideas back into SOLIDWORKS software to address manufacturing issues. The software helps us get new ideas to market more quickly than is possible working with traditional CAD

Faster conceptual design drives quality, innovation, and creativity

Since implementing SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design software, Karl W. Schmidt & Associates has reduced its sales cycle from eight to four months while completing 80 to 95 percent of system engineering before receiving a customer order. The company has achieved a 50 percent decrease in the length of its sales process by taking the majority of standard production parts and assemblies from its EPDM vault and using SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design to create custom pieces and innovative approaches to specific challenges, which it can quickly and easily share with customers via the software’s social communications capabilities.

“SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design allows us to complete iterations faster while simultaneously cutting the number of revisions required in half,” Buchli explains. “For example, a customer may want 10 changes to a particular layout. Using the powerful direct editing capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design, we can make changes that would take days in traditional CAD in just a few hours. The software lets you push and pull on a part in real time to meet a customer’s unique requirements. With SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design, we can devote more of our time to creating new concepts, increasing innovation, and improving quality.”

“With SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design, we can devote more of our time to creating new concepts, increasing innovation, and improving quality.” — Mike Buchli, Engineering Manager

Eliminating guesswork

Karl W. Schmidt & Associates has realized these dramatic productivity gains because SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design lets the company focus on design rather than manufacturing issues. “It eliminates a lot of the guesswork associated with changing parts in an assembly because we can focus just on the design and don’t have to plan ahead for production until we receive the order,”

 Buchli notes. “We’re a fairly small company competing against some much larger concerns,” Buchli continues. “We modularize as much as we can, but having a tool like SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design gives us a real edge over the competition when it comes to providing customers with more creative solutions to special requirements with fewer revisions.”

Collaborating with customers SOLIDWORKS

Conceptual Design social communication capabilities are an important driver in streamlining and accelerating Karl W. Schmidt & Associates’ communications with its customers. The software establishes a secure, collaborative website, where Karl W. Schmidt & Associates can post design concepts and layouts, and customers can review designs, add comments, and make revisions.

“Instead of sending emails and pictures or checking Outlook, smartphones, or Dropbox™, we and our customers can access and review 3D design information in a single location,” Buchli says. “The information updates in real time and reads like a blog. Having one place to go to access data is so much faster and easier, and is contributing to the fewer revisions and shorter sales cycle that we’ve experienced.”

Using SOLIDWORKS Conceptual Design software, Karl Schmidt Associates not only can develop new recycling concepts more quickly, the company can also communicate more effectively with customers through the software’s social communications framework.


  • Reduced sales cycle by 50 percent
  • Cut number of revisions in half
  • Completed 80 to 95 percent of engineering prior to order
  • Increased innovation in recycling system design