Top 5 SOLIDWORKS Plastics 2015 Features

SOLIDWORKS Product Manager’s Outlines New Features

SOLIDWORKS Plastics combines CFD, material properties, and thermodynamics to assist engineers in the proper designs of plastic molds and molded parts. The analysis takes place within the SOLIDWORKS CAD environment which helps to limit workflows and GUI learning curves.

After the SOLIDWORKS 2015 Sneak Peek, Peter Rucinski, Sr. Product Manager, outlined some of his favourite features of the 2015 release of SOLIDWORKS Plastics.

Nominal Wall Thickness Advisor for Quick Iteration

Nominal Wall Thickness Advisor Results.

“Perhaps my favourite SOLIDWORKS 2015 feature to play with is the Nominal Wall Thickness Advisor,” declared Rucinski. “The number one rule for injection molding is to maintain a uniform mold thickness. If most of a part is 2mm thick then designers should try to make the whole thing 2mm thick. Otherwise, wide variations can cause defects and production issues.”

The Thickness Advisor will therefore act as a first pass assessment for mold quality. The assessment can highlight problem spots before any simulations are run. The tool will calculate the overall average wall thickness and highlight areas in the design that vary significantly to this thickness. Using a classic green, yellow, red color map, the wall thickness deviations will be outlined to the user.

“If a designer looks at the plot and sees a lot of red then the design varies too much from the nominal wall thickness. You won’t believe how many problems, likenon-uniform fill patterns and pressure distributions, can be avoided downstream with this simple and quick assessment,” said Rucinski.

Venting Analysis Assess Air Pockets

Venting Analysis Results.

Another interesting assessment added to the SOLIDWORKS 2015 release is the Venting Analysis.

Rucinski explained, “When a mold closes there is a cavity that will shape the part. But, before it is filled with plastics it is filled with air. This air as to go somewhere. Up until now, any plastic simulation assumes ideal venting, that all the air is properly vented. With this new analysis you can assess how a part will fill based on improper venting, or where a vent should be added to assure a quality part.”

In areas of high pressure designers should add a vent. This will ensure a proper fill patter as the air is displaced. Otherwise, the air might force an improper fill path or other deformations due to the pressure buildup.

“Traditionally you would put a vent in your mold wherever you can get them. But if you don’t know where the air will be pushed to, you don’t know if the vent will be effective or not. Now the venting analysis will tell you if you don’t put a vent here you will have a problem, no doubt about it,” said Rucinski

Symmetrical Analysis Reduces Model Size

Symmetrical Analysis reduces the size of your model.

“In the mass production world, molds can be used to make as little as one part or as many as 128 parts at a time,” explained Rucinski. “These molds will typically make multiple versions of the same part from duplicate cavities and flow paths along an axis of symmetry. This, and proper balancing, will ensure even filling.”

Using this symmetry, SOLIDWORKS Plastics can assess only one part of the mold and apply that assessment to all symmetrical parts. This will reduce the size of the model and make for faster simulations.

With the support of symmetry analysis, you can save simulation time by analyzing a part of a model instead of the full model. The model has to be symmetric about a plane or two planes of symmetry, or an axis (for circular symmetry).  This feature results in significant time-savings for large, multi-cavity mold layouts.

Non-Orthogonal Voxel Mesh Improves Results

Non-Orthogonal Voxel Mesh can increase accuracy.

The Non-Orthogonal Voxel mesh is a new meshing algorithm for SOLIDWORKS Plastics. It will add more elements in areas which need it automatically. This will improve mesh quality and analysis results for more complex designs.

“Unfortunately, plastics often have geometry which if meshed in a hurry can cause problems during simulation. These parts often have smooth curves, ribs, bosses and other features that will need an accurate mesh to assess properly. This new meshing algorithm is designed to handle these more complex geometries. It will follow the contours of the geometry more accurately and refine the mesh where it is needed.”

This new meshing algorithm appears to reduce the need of users to locally refine a mesh or simplify the model.


SOLIDWORKS Plastics E-drawing.

Communication between customers, colleagues and suppliers is key in the engineering world. However, 2D translations of 3D models and simulations don’t always cut it.

As such 3D viewers, which allow others to look and comment on these 3D images, go a long way to express your designs to others. E-viewers is a Dassault Systems freeware tool which meets this need.

“Anyone with SOLIDWORKS plastics can now dump their content into e-drawings,” said Rucinski. “This allows any customer, supplier, or co-worker to view the design without SOLIDWORKS or SOLIDWORKS Plastics. This will allow for better collaboration between teams and organizations.”

E-Drawings also allows users to markup, take notes, and point to features in the 3D model. This markup allows for teams to communicate more accurately.

What are your favorite additions to SOLIDWORKS Plastics 2015? What features would you want to see in the 2016 release? Comment below.

Written by

Shawn Wasserman

For over 10 years, Shawn Wasserman has informed, inspired and engaged the engineering community through online content. As a senior writer at WTWH media, he produces branded content to help engineers streamline their operations via new tools, technologies and software. While a senior editor at, Shawn wrote stories about CAE, simulation, PLM, CAD, IoT, AI and more. During his time as the blog manager at Ansys, Shawn produced content featuring stories, tips, tricks and interesting use cases for CAE technologies. Shawn holds a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Guelph and an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.