Five Big Advancements in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2015
Shawn Wasserman posted on September 24, 2014 |
Product Portfolio Manager Defines Her Favorite Improvements

The SOLIDWORK Simulation family got a bit bigger in the 2015 release with the announcement of SOLIDWORKS  Simulation Standard. This new package offers affordable simulation and a collection of FEA solutions to fit the needs of many organizations.

However, the SOILDWORKS Simulation portfolio is rather large. Users should consult the functionality matrices to ensure that the product they purchase meets all their requirements. For reference the other packages in the portfolio include SOILDWORKS Simulation Professional, Premium and more specialized packages SOLIDWORKS: Motion, Flow (CFD), Plastic (Injection Molding), or Sustainability (Environmental Assessments).

SOLIDWORKS Sr. Product Portfolio Manager, Delphine Genouvrier, manages the SOLIDWORKS Simulation line. She helped to present the release at the SOLIDWORKS 2015 Sneak Peek. Afterwards, she outlined her favorite improvements to the Simulation side of SOLIDWORKS.

Shell Manager Makes it Easy

Shell Manager.

When making a large simulation model with many thin elements, it can get a little complicated organizing it all. To meet this need, the latest SOLIDWORKS Simulation release includes a Shell Manager to keep all the shell element ducks in a row.

“It can be tricky to define the properties, thickness, and offset of all the shell elements for very large models with multiple parts,” mentions Genouvrier. “The new Shell Manager in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2015, however, can group shell elements together so that their properties can all be defined and modified at once.”

She adds, “The Shell Manager offers the capability to visualize the shells per properties (thickness or material). It streamlines the definition of the FEA model. It’s a good tool to illustrate how to make simulation easier for all users.”

Essentially, the shell manager makes it easier to view and define the shell elements by organizing them all in a single list. The tool can then group these elements together and define their color, on the model, based on position, material, group, and/or thickness. Once you select the group you wish to manage, the changes you make to the properties will affect all elements within the group.

Incremental Results Viewed in Real Time

Non-linear Incremental Results.

We’ve all been there. Starting a long simulation cycle and you forgot to change that boundary condition or connector. Many don’t notice until the simulation has completed the run wasting hours of work. To combat this issue, SOLIDWORKS Simulation has created an incremental results viewer.

“Instead of wasting time with an improper calculation, the new tool can show you the non-linear results while the solver is still working. The Incremental Results viewer can show the step by step deformation of the simulation. Users then have the ability to stop the simulation at any time if they notice the calculation isn’t going as expected. You can then make your fixes and rerun the simulation,” explained Genouvrier.

The Incremental Results viewer will help users find simulation error faster when running large complex simulations. This creates an easier method to iterate to that final result.

Fatigue with Vibration

Dynamic Fatigue Results.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation has updated their fatigue analysis simulations with the addition of dynamic loading. Previously, SOLIDWORKS was only able to assess fatigue through static load cycles. However, the addition of dynamic loads allows engineers to assess the effect of vibrations on the life of the product.

“We had fatigue analysis for years now but not all products are submitted to static loading. To properly assess the lifecycle of these products you need to look at dynamic loading. This is a more sophisticated calculation than linear static analysis and an SN curve. But now it can all be done under the SOLIDWORKS Simulation hood,” said Genouvrier.

Fatigue analysis is ideal to assess the product lifecycle for risk assessments and warrantee agreements. Essentially, it tests if a half a million load cycles represent half of the product life or the whole product life. With the addition of dynamic loading, the lifecycle of many electronics and military products can be predicted.

New Rotating Mesh

Rotating Mesh.

“For years SOLIDWORKS Flow users have requested for the addition of a rotating mesh. We have therefore worked on this for a long time,” said Genouvrier. “It involved upgrading both the mesher and the solver. With it, users can calculate the flow of a fluid in a pump or propeller.”

The rotating mesh works by calculating the rotation velocity, redrawing the model, re-meshing the model, and then re-calculating the pressure and velocity fields. This process is then repeated until the simulation is completed. This improvement will allow designers to iterate pump and propeller designs in CAD as opposed to more robust simulation solutions.

Advanced Cyclic Symmetry

Cyclic Symmetry Applied to the Whole Model.

Finally, Genouvrier notes that Cyclic Symmetry capabilities in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2015 has seen useful advancements. For starters, the capability is now available for non-linear simulations.

Cyclic Symmetry allows users to reduce the size of their model by choosing an axis of rotation. Users can then run the simulation on a slice of the model as opposed to the whole model.

Another advancement in Cyclic Symmetry is the ability to display the results of the slice around the whole model. Often when communicating results it is hard to explain from a slice as opposed to the whole 3D design.

“A knowledgeable users and engineers might be able to see the whole model from a slice. However, that may not be true for non-engineers in your team. Now we can connect the results of the slice to the whole model,” explained Genouvrier.

Do you have a favourite improvement in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2015? Is there something else you would like to see SOLIDWORKS include in the 2016 release? Let us know in the comments.

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