Acting on customer feedback, BRO has modified APEX® to augment users' existing SOLIDWORKS applications rather than require a bundled installation. This allows customers to leverage their own SOLIDWORKS software and additional add-ins, making APEX a simpler, more cost-effective, easier to manage, and more extensible engineering software solution for customers.
Yes, APEX is now a SOLIDWORKS add-in that requires a separate, functioning SOLIDWORKS license. For those who do not already have SOLIDWORKS, an APEX add-in license may be purchased.
Yes, on supported versions of SOLIDWORKS APEX may now be installed as an add-in. While APEX is an add-in to SOLIDWORKS, it remains a seamlessly integrated optics- and CAD-software platform. APEX files are SOLIDWORKS files so they can be read by your existing SOLIDWORKS software (and vice-versa), allowing you to make maximum use of your existing software infrastructure.
No, APEX is now an add-in designed as an addition to supported versions of users' own SOLIDWORKS installations.
Yes, another advantage of transitioning APEX to a add-in model is smaller APEX installers that can be made available online. This gives BRO more flexibility to package and distribute software updates to customers. Upon the release of updates, APEX maintenance customers will be directed to a private-download area with software-installer downloads and installation instructions.
BRO now supports the APEX add-in running on the current version of SOLIDWORKS plus the last/previous release.
APEX has at its core the time-proven ray tracing engine in BRO's ASAP®, Advanced Systems Analysis Program, which will model the finest details of optical systems. As with ASAP, APEX users can depend on their simulations to mirror real-world performance. Optical system designers in 35 countries rely on BRO's software packages for virtual prototyping of optical systems with great accuracy and confidence. APEX will continue this legacy.
CAD programs are accustom to modeling surfaces with mechanical accuracies and tolerances. Optical surfaces require much greater accuracy and tighter tolerances than mechanical surfaces because of the exacting computational nature of the interaction of light as a ray with these surfaces. Mechanical accuracies and tolerances are inadequate to produce precise simulation results in some situations. In contrast, APEX is "optics aware" and allows engineers to create optical geometries common to optical engineering with the required accuracy for simulation.
To describe APEX as "optics aware" is to say that while APEX is integrated with the CAD program SOLIDWORKS, it's more capable than a typical CAD program when it comes to optical geometry creation. APEX understands the need for greater surface accuracies and tighter tolerances required of optical components and allows users to define optical geometry types, including lenses and mirrors, with terminology native to optical engineers. Polynomial coefficients, commonly used to define optical surfaces, are one example of such a parameter. If you're trying to define a lens in your typical CAD program, polynomial coefficients won't help much and most likely will not be modeled with the accuracy necessary for optical simulation. APEX accepts polynomials and other optical parameters and will model these surfaces exactly, so a conic surface is mathematically modeled exactly as a conic and an asphere is mathematically modeled exactly as an asphere.
APEX is a new type of optical engineering program available as an add-in to the industry-standard SOLIDWORKS 3D-modeling environment. With the full power and sophistication of SOLIDWORKS melded into APEX, the program enables the design and analysis of even the most complex optical and illumination systems with a simple, easy-to-follow workflow. In APEX, you learn, create, design, and analyze in the same program environment — and that environment is all about ease of use.
BRO offers an introductory tutorial taught onsite at BRO's headquarters and in foreign training centers to enable APEX users to efficiently and accurately solve their optical challenges. In addition, a comprehensive set of training and support documents is available in the BRO Knowledge Base.
APEX is in continuous development by a team dedicated solely to enhancing APEX. APEX development efforts are supported by quality control and technical support engineers — most with Ph.D.s in optical science. All APEX development efforts follow the "best practices" outlined within the SEI CMMI Capability Maturity Model.