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Siemens NX CAD Expert Review, Pricing, and Alternatives - 2024

Updated: Mar 21

Siemens Nx logo 2023

What’s special about NX CAD?

NX CAD is a market leader in integrated CAD/CAM/CAE solutions. It provides powerful design, simulation, and manufacturing capabilities in one unified platform. NX CAD is known for its advanced surfacing tools, robust assembly design, and tight integration with Teamcenter PLM.

Product: NX CAD

Founding Date: 2007

Company: Siemens PLM Software

IPO Status: Private

Founders: Originally developed by UGS Corp, acquired by Siemens in 2007

Deployment Type: on-premise

Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial available

Company HQ: Plano, Texas, United States

Rating: 4.3 ⭐ | 143


Table of Contents:


What is Siemens NX CAD?

NX CAD is a feature-rich CAD software used for product design, engineering, and manufacturing. It enables users to design parts and assemblies, analyze product performance, simulate motion/stress, and prepare manufacturing/quality plans. NX CAD streamlines complex product development processes through its integrated CAD/CAM/CAE toolset.


Pros of NX CAD

  • As a user of NX CAD, I found the interface was quite intuitive and easy to navigate. The layout of the various menus and tools made sense, allowing me to quickly find what I needed for modeling and design work.

  • The toolset for creating 3D models was very robust. I was able to make complex curved surfaces and detailed models efficiently thanks to the advanced surfacing tools. The parametric modeling also allowed flexibility in modifying designs.

  • The assembly tools enabled managing large, complex assemblies very well. I could work with hundreds or thousands of components smoothly. The assembly constraints helped put everything together properly.

  • The simulation and analysis functionality was tightly integrated into the design workflow. I could test fit and function, optimize performance, and identify issues without needing to export data to other programs. The CAE tools were very helpful.

  • NX had top notch visualization and rendering capabilities. My designs looked photorealistic with the use of the high-quality materials, lighting, and environments. This was great for prototypes and concept presentations.

Cons of NX CAD

  • There was a steep learning curve to become proficient at using NX CAD compared to some other CAD packages I had tried. It took time to get familiar with all the tools and workflows required for complex design tasks.

  • Occasionally I had stability issues with crashes or hangs when working with very large assemblies or complex surfaces. This could disrupt workflow and lead to lost time.

  • The cost of licensing and maintaining NX CAD was quite high, especially for smaller organizations or individuals. The hardware requirements were also demanding.

  • Compatibility with other CAD file formats could sometimes be problematic. Importing or exporting certain model data didn't always translate perfectly.

  • Certain workflows like large batch processing of models could be cumbersome compared to some competitor products. Automation and customization required significant effort.


Diving Deep into NX CAD's Advanced Solutions:

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Siemens NX Pricing

NX CAD offers role-based licensing starting from $9,000 per license. Additional modules like CAM, CAE, and PLM Data Management incur added costs. Volume discounts are available for larger deployments. Maintenance fees are about 20% of license cost.

Siemens NX's Target Market

NX CAD targets medium/large enterprises in industries like automotive, aerospace, machinery, shipbuilding, and high-tech electronics. It is fit for engineering teams that need integrated CAD/CAM/CAE tools.

Siemens NX Features

  • One of the most powerful modeling technologies in NX CAD is Synchronous Modeling. It allows users to instantly make changes to the model geometry irrespective of the feature history tree. This accelerates design iterations by enabling rapid edits and experimentation. I found it extremely useful while working with complex imported or legacy models with deep feature histories. The ability to simply pick and modify faces or features speedily without navigating the feature tree is a huge time-saver.

  • Convergent Modeling is a unique hybrid modeling approach that combines the flexibility of synchronous modeling with the control and intelligence of parametric modeling. This gave me the best of both techniques - making quick geometry edits when needed while retaining the ordered, intent-based control of parametric modeling. The convergent modeler in NX CAD delivers modeling flexibility without compromising on design intent or model intelligence.

  • NX CAD provides robust tools for managing large complex assemblies with thousands of parts and components. The assembly navigator makes it easy to search, locate, isolate, and work with components within an assembly. Lightweight representations help accelerate performance with massive assemblies. The structure manager helps create and manage product structures intelligently. I could quickly build and navigate complex aircraft engine assemblies without performance lag or data management challenges.

  • The sheet metal design tools allow rapid creation of sheet metal components like brackets, covers, and enclosures. It automates tedious tasks like sheet metal flattening, bending simulations, corner relief cuts etc. The formed part validation checks manufacturability constraints, reducing scrap costs. I could quickly construct sheet metal cabinets and covers, flatten them for 2D documentation and validate the bend sequence - huge time savings.

  • NX CAD has powerful photorealistic rendering capabilities for enhanced visualization. The integrated NX Realize Shape tools take rendering to the next level with easy-to-use studio-quality lighting, materials and environments. This enabled our team to create very realistic-looking concept models, builds, mockup screenshots and marketing collateral directly from NX CAD models. The visualization was critical for design reviews.

  • For customization and automation requirements, NX CAD offers the NX Open set of APIs for various programming languages like .NET, Java, Python, C/C++ etc. This allowed our team to automate repetitive workflows like drawing sheet population, design-analysis data exchanges, report generation etc. NX Open gave us the flexibility to customize NX behavior beyond out-of-the-box options.

Siemens NX Deployment Type and Implementation

NX CAD can be deployed either on-premise or hosted on the cloud. The Siemens PLM team helps with software installation, customization, user training during initial implementation. Minimum hardware requirements need to be met for ensuring adequate performance.

Siemens NX Customer Support

Siemens PLM has a comprehensive technical support program including online resources, training courses, monthly patches/updates, and dedicated local account teams for large accounts. Paid support plans offer 24/7 phone/email access to support engineers.

Siemens NX Integrations

Some key integrations include Teamcenter PLM, Tecnomatix digital manufacturing, Simcenter simulation tools, and various engineering automation platforms via NX Open APIs.

Siemens NX Scripting, Customization and Automation

Siemens NX CAD stands out in the design and engineering software domain with its powerful scripting, programming, and customization features. Leveraging the versatility of the NX Open API, which supports multiple languages like VB.NET, C++, and Python, users can automate tasks with ease. The NX Open Toolkit further deepens customization, enabling the creation of intricate applications seamlessly integrated into NX. Unique features like Knowledge Fusion embed design knowledge directly into models, automating processes and ensuring design consistency. Additionally, NX's Journaling capability automates repetitive tasks, and its adaptable interface can be tailored for specific needs. While the software offers seamless integration with PLM and CAM systems, users should be aware of its inherent complexity and the need for continuous updates for version compatibility and performance optimization.

The company behind Siemens NX

NX CAD was originally developed by UGS Corp which was acquired by Siemens in 2007. Today, it is developed and sold globally by Siemens PLM Software.

Siemens NX FAQs

What is NX CAD used for?

NX CAD, developed by Siemens, is a sophisticated computer-aided design (CAD) software used for product design, engineering, and manufacturing. It offers a suite of tools for 2D and 3D modeling, simulation, and advanced assembly design.

Is NX better than AutoCAD?

"Better" can be subjective and depends on the application. While both are CAD tools, NX is more oriented towards complex product design and engineering tasks with robust features for 3D modeling and simulation. AutoCAD, on the other hand, is primarily used for 2D drafting with some 3D capabilities. For intricate product design, NX might be preferred, but for architectural or civil engineering 2D drafting, AutoCAD is often the go-to.

Is Siemens NX CAD free?

No, Siemens NX CAD is not free. It is a commercial software that requires a license. However, Siemens occasionally offers trial versions or academic licenses at reduced rates for students and educators.

Is NX better than Solidworks?

Both NX and SolidWorks are powerful CAD tools. While SolidWorks is favored for its user-friendly interface and is popular among small to medium-sized businesses, NX offers a broader range of advanced functionalities suitable for large-scale industries and complex engineering tasks. The "better" choice depends on the specific requirements of a project.

Is AutoCAD and NX same?

No, AutoCAD and NX are not the same. While both are CAD tools, they are developed by different companies (AutoCAD by Autodesk and NX by Siemens) and serve different primary purposes, as mentioned earlier.

Is NX CAD easy to learn?

NX CAD, given its comprehensive features, can have a steeper learning curve compared to some other CAD tools. However, with proper training and resources, one can master its functionalities.

Should I learn NX or CATIA?

Both NX and CATIA are industry-leading CAD tools with extensive features. Your choice should depend on your career goals and the industry you're targeting. For example, CATIA is heavily used in the aerospace and automotive industries, while NX has a broad reach across various sectors.

Is Siemens NX a CAD tool?

Yes, Siemens NX is a CAD tool, but it's more than just that. Apart from CAD, it also offers computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and engineering (CAE) functionalities.

How much is NX for CAD?

The cost of NX for CAD can vary based on the licensing model, region, and specific modules or packages chosen. It's best to contact Siemens or an authorized distributor for the most accurate pricing information.

Siemens NX CAD Alternatives

  • SolidWorks - Developed by Dassault Systèmes, SolidWorks is also a popular CAD software with strong 3D modeling and assembly design capabilities. It is generally easier to use than CATIA.

  • CATIA is a high-end CAD/CAM/CAE solution by Dassault Systèmes offering advanced design, engineering, and manufacturing tools for industries like aerospace, automotive, and consumer goods, making it a viable alternative to NX CAD for complex surfacing, ergonomic, and simulation applications.

  • FreeCAD - FreeCAD is an open source CAD software that can be used as an alternative to CATIA for 3D modeling and product design. It has extensive features comparable to commercial CAD tools.

  • Autodesk Inventor - Inventor is an affordable and capable 3D CAD software from Autodesk. It has robust modeling and visualization capabilities at a lower cost than CATIA.

  • Rhino 3D- Rhino is a popular freeform 3D modeling tool often used for industrial design modelling.

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