This past week, two other engineers and I had the privilege of attending the SOLIDWORKS World Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. This event is held annually, but this is the first time that United Equipment Accessories has participated.
For those not familiar with SOLIDWORKS, it is a 3D/2D modeling software that covers all aspects of the product development process. From initial part design and assembly, to simulation analysis and bills of materials, SOLIDWORKS is the main tool that UEA engineers use on a daily basis for designing slip rings and hydraulic swivels.
The conference included four days of training and seminars, as well as an expo for the software and related products. One of the most important lessons we learned from our first time attending was to sign-up early! With over 5,000 attendees, getting in to some of the “hands-on” classes proved very difficult, and compared to the lectures, the hands-on classes were a huge benefit. Most of the lectures focused on very specific details for people who had been using that particular feature or add-on for some time. The hands-on class I attended was much more general and beneficial.
The expo portion of the event was probably the most interesting as we were able to witness some of the 3D printers and small machining centers in process, as well as see some of the add-on software in use. Hopefully in the upcoming years one of these 3D printers will be added to the UEA engineering department to help with Research and Development.
We will be evaluating our visit to help determine if it's worth sending a couple of engineers on a yearly basis. As of now, I believe it would be beneficial to have a couple new people attend each year to learn and keep up on the new advances in SOLIDWORKS.