New Surface devices perfect fit for engineers with Siemens NX Certification


Extraordinary Robot
Jun 27, 2006
Chicago, IL
We’ve seen great momentum across a range of industries and use cases for Surface devices – especially from engineers, who are some of the most creative people in the world. They are often responsible for designing some of today’s most complex and sophisticated products – from trains and planes, to automobiles and medical devices.

Today, we’re announcing Microsoft Surface devices, including the new Surface Studio and Surface Book with Performance Base, which are all certified to run Siemens NX software, one of the world’s most advanced product design software applications. This will give engineers the confidence in their ability to utilize Surface devices to help them design and create such innovative products.

The Siemens NX team joined us in New York City for our recent launch and I was fortunate enough to sit down with Joe Bohman, Vice President of Product Engineering Software for Siemens’ product lifecycle management (PLM) software business, where he told me more about why he thinks Surface represents the future of devices for engineers like himself.


How do you think the new Surface devices will change how Siemens NX customers work?

With the new generative design approaches of Siemens NX Convergent Modeling and Siemens NX Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), the latest Surface devices allow people to completely rethink the way they design and develop products. For the first time, they can use their device to simultaneously design and edit scanned, organic and engineered shapes, allowing engineers to create products that could never have been manufactured before. With Surface, they can fully immerse themselves and create directly with their hands, making the process more tactile and creative.

Surface Studio and Surface Book offer our users a more flexible and creative platform for design thanks to a combination of touch, pen and traditional inputs to develop ideas in a more natural manner.

Surface Studio and Surface Book offer our users a more flexible and creative platform for design thanks to a combination of touch, pen and traditional inputs to develop ideas in a more natural manner. The high-resolution display on Surface Studio really gives a greater sense of confidence and precision when looking at complex shapes and offers a better understanding of the aesthetics during the design process. Adding Surface Dial brings a whole new degree of flexibility and control especially when interacting and changing designs.

What are the unique use cases you see for each of the devices?

With Surface Book, it’s about flexibility and performance. People have the combination of power and mobility that lets them take their work from the office to the manufacturing floor without missing a beat.

On the other hand, Surface Studio is perfect for designers who have, up until now, been relegated to pen and paper, or multiple devices, to do one job. Studio is ideal for those who want to mix activities such as complex modeling with Siemens NX™ software and freehand sketching with Siemens Catchbook™ software, on a device that feels natural and comfortable. Surface Dial enhances both devices by offering an entirely new way for engineers to view, edit and render their designs.

In one Surface Studio use case, we created a fabrication of an engineered plate to repair damage to a human skull. With Siemens NX, we brought in a 3D scan of the injured individual’s skull, designed the plate needed to repair it, and then combined to accurately and precisely make edits for a perfectly designed fit. This type of simultaneous “Convergent” modeling has never been possible before. The potential is truly incredible.

What does the Siemens NX certification mean for Surface? What is the significance?

We’ve worked closely with Microsoft and feel confident in certifying both Surface Book and Surface Studio to run Siemens NX software.

The Siemens NX certification is granted only to devices that have passed our series of hundreds of tests, which weigh a device’s ability to deliver a highly satisfactory end-user experience. Our customers, including numerous major airplane and auto manufacturers, require and depend on this certification to tell them what devices will offer their team the best user experience. To do so, our team tests device capabilities like processor performance, graphics systems and more.

We’ve worked closely with Microsoft and feel confident in certifying both Surface Book and Surface Studio to run Siemens NX software. For us, the most important outcome of these certifications is that our customers have the confidence that Siemens and Microsoft are committed to them.

What type of functionality does Siemens NX have for Surface Dial?

Surface Dial lends itself to a number of key functionalities within Siemens NX™ software – including manipulating view attributes, zooming, panning and rotating of 3D models – all of which are a massive part of a typical Siemens NX user’s daily routine. Going a step further, we also looked at how Surface Dial can support dynamic geometry manipulation, such as changing sizes and adjusting attributes. These functions can all be performed more smoothly and reliably with Surface Dial versus traditional mouse dragging or even touch, allowing for much finer control over changes.

We also looked at how people can access their favorite, most commonly used commands via Surface Dial; this increases productivity by removing the need to move to the ribbon UI to select common commands and ultimately saving time.

Overall, the numerous uses of Surface Dial make it a very powerful accessory for any Siemens NX user.

What business problems are Surface Studio, Surface Dial and Surface Book helping to solve?

We have had a lot of feedback from our customers about devices like Surface Book and trust when they tell us that Surface Book’s power and mobility are exactly what they’re looking for in a device. These factors are so important for the needs of engineers and designers who have to be more flexible about their work locations due to the need to visit customers and/or remote factories. We see this as a result of the increasing globalization of business and the increased levels of partnership between companies around the world. They need a device that supports this changing landscape.

We’ve heard from our customers through our social media channels and they’re very excited about Surface Studio and Surface Dial. The high resolution and high power combined with the flexibility to run Surface Studio in both traditional and flat configurations is turning heads in our community. We expect more and more people to ask, “How can I try one of these new devices?”

How does Siemens software take advantage of the best of Surface devices?

Siemens has been in the business of manufacturing for over 150 years. Design, engineering and manufacturing are all about the ability of users to create, participate and collaborate. Powerful mobile devices like the new Surface Book with Performance Base enable engineers to use NX to design and revise products in locations they never could before, like in the field or sitting with customers.

Drawing naturally, yet accurately, on digital devices and enabling anyone to participate in design has been a longstanding goal. Surface devices have enabled us to realize this with our new Siemens Catchbook™ mobile app that you can download from the Windows Store.

Siemens NX is arguably the most powerful and capable design application on the planet and is on the forefront of this next generation of rich, immersive, touch and stylus interaction. Surface devices give us the new direct and precise interaction methods that our customers want, and we at Siemens are thrilled to see this manifest and allow Siemens NX to become even more powerful and accessible.

The team here at Microsoft is so proud of how Surface Studio, Surface Book with Performance Base and Surface Dial can help engineers and professionals get things done, no matter where they are. We love hearing how our partners like Siemens see Surface benefitting their customers, and how Microsoft can help bring their vision to life. Thanks to Joe and the full Siemens NX team for their partnership and letting us tell their story.

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