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Simulation Tip: Animating Transient Results in SOLIDWORKS Flow 2017

Today, I was running a SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation (CFD/Computational Fluid Dynamics) model of a blow mold tool. The goal of the analysis is to compare cooling line effects on tool surface temperatures.

Simulation-Tip-Animating-Transient-Results-in-SOLIDWORKS-Flow-2017-1Molding is a transient process and XY plots are important but it’s very useful to see heat migration through the parts via animation. This is one of the big values of design validation. We can visualize phenomena that are difficult to see or measure physically.

In the process, I was using a new SOLIDWORKS tool for animating surface plots and cut plots. It made my life so much easier that I had to stop working and started writing this blog.


The Transient Explorer

The new tool is in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation 2017 and it’s called the “Transient Explorer”. Now, if you want to visualize a cut plot or surface plot from a transient study it’s as simple as using a play button — the way it should be.  You could always create transient plots in Flow with the animation wizard. It’s very powerful,  you can zoom in zoom out and combine different types of plots etc.. . However, it was overkill if you just wanted a simple animation of a cut plot or surface plot.

In summary, you still have access to the SOLIDWORKS Flow animation tool for iso surfaces and more complex animations and now we have the transient explorer for quick feedback between design iterations.

Here are the steps to use the transient explorer:

  1. Go to the calculation control for your transient flow project via RMB on “Input Data”.


  1. From the saving tab, choose how often and what parameters you want to save for the transient explorer.


  1. Now after you solve the project you will have the option to load the transient explorer rather than an individual fld file.


  1. Now you can animate any of the chosen parameters in a cut plot or surface plot without going through the animation wizard.

Here’s an example of using the transient explorer.

Looking for more information? Visit our Simulation Resource Center.

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About the Author

David Roccaforte earned a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has been working with Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) tools since the mid-1990s when he was an engineering coop and later a product engineer with Automotive System Laboratory. Seeing the value that CAE brings to the engineering process inspired him to concentrate on CAE during his graduate studies. While finishing his graduate studies, he worked for Mechanical Dynamics as an engineering intern running vehicle dynamics analysis.

After finishing his graduate studies, David worked in the automotive Industry as an Engineering Analyst with Karmann Technical Development supporting the design of convertible roof systems for North American OEM’s.  From there Roccaforte joined MSC Software, one of the top companies in engineering simulation, where he worked as a Senior Application Engineer until he joined Fisher Unitech in 2010.