SimScale Brings the Price of Computer-Aided Engineering Down to Zero
Shawn Wasserman posted on December 09, 2015 |
Service is free as long as you are willing to let others see what you are up to.

SimScale Looks to Grow an Engineering Community for Simulation

Aerodynamics of a Formula One Race car by a SimScale user. (Image courtesy of Ali Arafat.)

Aerodynamics of a Formula One Race car by a SimScale user. (Image courtesy of Ali Arafat).

Recently, SimScale offered its computer-aided engineering (CAE) software to all of its community members for free.

With it, you can have 3,000 core hours of computation and 500GB of storage – which is considerable.

What’s the catch? Users will have an unlimited number of projects – as long as they are “public.” 

If you want to keep your projects private, an-individually packaged Professional or Enterprise plan is available based on your simulation needs.

Since SimScale offers cloud-based simulation, users are able to access their engineering designs within a browser. Additionally, users will have access to high performance computing (HPC) on demand to solve their simulations.

Lest you think SimScale’s simulation abilities are limited, here is what the free version of SimScale can do:

  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
    • Linear static
    • Modal frequency
    • Nonlinear and dynamic
    • Part and assemblies
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
    • Laminar and turbulent
    • Mass transport within fluid flow
    • Single and multiphase flows
    • Steady-state and transient
    • Incompressible and compressible fluid
    • Porous media rigid body movement
  • Thermodynamics
    • Thermo-structural behavior
    • Conjugate heat flow
  • Other Simulations
    • Particle analysis
    • Acoustics
  • Pre/Post Processing

Without the option for private projects to protect their intellectual property (IP), users will feel the pressure to upgrade to paid accounts (Image courtesy of SimScale).

“SimScale’s vision is to make simulation a standard tool in the software stack of every engineer or designer so they can build a better product,” said David Heiny, managing director and co-founder of SimScale.

“Our approach is to focus on removing the barriers of traditional simulation tools such as cost, access and know-how by delivering a collaborative, web-based simulation environment based on a flexible pricing model,” Heiny continued.

The free community version aims to improve collaboration and networking within the CAE community. “We are excited about the launch of SimScale’s Community Plan. It is a great way for people to show off their simulation work and learn from each other,” said Albert Wenger, managing partner at Union Square Ventures.

What is SimScale’s Monetization Strategy for CAE Simulations?

It is clear that SimScale is targeting entry-level analysis and trying to build a base from which it can upsell to its paid plans for small to midsized engineering teams. We have already seen the public/private pricing distinction for CAD software with Onshape.

The software is free to all community members but all of their projects will be listed in their public projects list. Users need to consider the benefit of no-cost vs the value of their intellectual property (IP).

In effect, this free version of SimScale will likely be viewed as a trial version for those small to medium organizations that are interested in the product. They will not want to risk their internal IP or the IP of their clients.

Hobbyists, students and the occasional simulation software users could be the target market for SimScale’s free community package. However, the academic CAE market has been flooded as of late with free software versions of all the major simulation players.

So how much of a dent will SimScale make for academics? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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