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Surface: The fastest-growing mobile CAD device for Siemens Solid Edge users

Written By published April 26, 2016

Phillip Norman: designer, engineer and Surface fan

In the worlds of engineering and manufacturing, iteration is everything—the ability to incrementally improve an invention, over and over again, until it finally does precisely what customers want it to do. But whether engineers are designing spacecraft, automobiles, televisions or toasters, they have until recently needed powerful desktop PCs, or heavy-duty laptops, to run the 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software they depend on to first design products, and then repeatedly improve on them. But no longer.

Surface Book

Microsoft Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 allow engineers to innovate like never before, giving them the lightweight device they want and the computing power they need to collaborate and innovate on the move, whether into the field or onto the manufacturing floor. When we designed Surface, we imagined creating devices that would allow people to do their work from anywhere, no matter how demanding the software. Engineers use some of the most intensive and complex programs on the market and the combination of software and hardware is critical to their work.

Surface is Siemens Solid Edge Certified

Today, we’re pleased to announce that Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book have been certified by Siemens for use with Solid Edge, one of the world’s leading CAD programs.

To achieve this certification, Siemens put Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 through a rigorous testing process to ensure that Solid Edge runs optimally. Engineers worldwide rely on Solid Edge to bring their ideas to life, and Surface’s certification gives them confidence that they can use this powerful software and rely on the performance of Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book to do their work anywhere—the response has already been exciting to see.

“Surface is the fastest-growing mobile device platform with our Solid Edge user base for 3D CAD.” 

John Miller, SVP Mainstream Engineering, Siemens PLM Software

From Artist to Self-Taught Engineer

One Solid Edge user who has seen a great benefit using Surface is Phillip Norman. Phillip is a self-taught engineer with an artistic background, who now runs a robotics company called Ross Robotics. We recently spent some time with Phillip to hear more about his company and how he uses Surface Pro 4.

Phillip spent most of his life focused on artistic pursuits, including writing, painting, illustrating, making ceramics and furniture, and designing buildings and landscapes. Though some of these activities were closer to engineering than others, he never considered himself an engineer, emphasizing aesthetics over function. His family background, going back generations, includes many engineers and artists, often one and the same. Possibly because of this heritage, he found himself caught up in advanced technology as a means of experimentation and creative expression.

Surface and Solid Edge deliver a dream mobile CAD solution

At Ross Robotics, Phillip uses his Surface Pro 4 to the fullest extent—Surface’s portability and power has changed the way he works. He runs CAD software applications like Solid Edge on trains, planes, in client meetings and the shop. And as a design-driven person, he appreciates Surface’s aesthetic quality.

Taking Surface device along to a client means engineers can review a 3D rotatable image of a piece in real time with no need to go back to base to redesign it. Aside from its lighter weight and versatility, Surface’s pressure-sensitive Surface Pen, touchscreen and long battery life are key advantages to both Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.

Just being able to take my work with me anywhere—any sort of work, even amazingly, CAD—shows the Surface is a powerful workstation, as slim and neat as a small pad of paper, and exponentially more adaptable. The Surface is very smart, slick, light and powerful and sends out positive messages about design, technology and high quality manufacturing, which reflect flatteringly on the person using it.” –Phillip Norman, Founder and CEO, Ross Robotics

Nothing is Cooler than Robots

Ross Robotics has developed a sophisticated modular robotic system that serves as a platform for robotics applications to perform critical tasks in places that are hazardous or impossible for human beings to access. The major benefit lies in the fact that many different applications can be set up and run without serious complication, time, cost and effort. The baseline robot platform can become a very different device in the hands of different users, depending on their requirements, but all who use it benefit from the radical standardization of parts, software and simplification of the user method. And Surface is core to how Ross Robotics develops and iterates on its platform.

Ross Robotics

Phillip at Ross Robotics are just one example of the amazing work engineers and manufacturers are doing to create new and iterate on existing designs using Surface devices. And with Surface’s certification on Siemens Solid Edge, we’re excited for what’s to come.