Simulation with SOLIDWORKS: Is it Enough?

    by Nathan Sneller on May 21, 2018

    SOLIDWORKS premiumIf you’re a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software user, you’ve likely experimented with different features and read different blog posts on SOLIDWORKS to brush up your knowledge. With so many features offered (and three different software solutions to choose from), it can be hard to know if you’re using your software to its full potential. Keep reading to learn how to get the most out of the Simulation tools within SOLIDWORKS Premium and a chance to attend a fun webcast where we'll analyze the workings of James Watt’s flyball governor using simulation features in SOLIDWORKS.

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      SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2018 and Topology Study

      by Angelle Erickson on April 24, 2018

       using SOLIDWORKS simulationSOLIDWORKS 2018 introduced users to a number of enhancements that makes using SOLIDWORKS Simulation faster and easier than ever before. SOLIDWORKS 2018 also includes a new tool called Topology which is a design guide and study type that adds SIMULIA technology to the simplicity of a typical simulation set up. Together, these tools can improve workflow and help overcome otherwise difficult challenges in the design process.

      As we’ve seen in previous blogs, SOLIDWORKS 2018 has made several improvements to the entire portfolio - from product data management to realistic visualization and electrical schematics; simulation and design validation is no exception. Keep reading to see how SOLIDWORKS Simulation is a design validation game changer and familiarize yourself with Topology.

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        SOLIDWORKS Plastics Simulation - Can Software Replace Human Observation?

        by Nathan Sneller on April 11, 2018

        SOLIDWORKS Plastics Simulation

        I was once treated to lunch by an older engineer whom I greatly admire. He holds many complex patents and co-founded a plastics company that he sold to a large industrial conglomerate. As we talked our discussion turned to injection molding simulation software such as SOLIDWORKS Plastics simulation software.

        He believed the software was unnecessary, and that the results rarely provided information that couldn't be gained from a conversation with an experienced mold maker. He thought that in choosing software over an experienced human, the “richness of the dialogue was lost”, a phrase that has stuck with me for many years.

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          How to Use Design Validation and Virtual Simulation Software

          by Christa Prokos on March 5, 2018

          Virtual Simulation SoftwareVirtual simulation is not only for specialists and final design validation. It’s an intuitive design solution for all product engineers in all industries. Using simulation software, you can set up virtual real-world environments to test your product designs before manufacturing them. If fact, it pays to use simulation software. You will lower your costs and shorten your time-to-market by reducing the number of physical prototypes before going into production.

          To teach you more about how to use SOLIDWORKS design validation and virtual simulation software, we invited SOLIDWORKS Simulation expert Joe Galliera from corporate DS SolidWorks to present a webcast called, Design Better Products Faster with Virtual Simulation. Keep reading to learn more about using simulation software.

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            Top New Features in SOLIDWORKS 2018 Flow Simulation

            by Drew Buchanan on February 23, 2018

            SOLIDWORKS 2018 Flow SimulationSOLIDWORKS 2018 released a ton of new features and enhancements that we’re excited about. In our “What’s New” blog series, we’ve been covering the entire SOLIDWORKS 2018 portfolio. In today’s blog we will be covering some of the great new features in the SOLIDWORKS 2018 Flow Simulation portfolio.

            For an even more in-depth look, make sure to register for my upcoming webinar “Top Flow Simulation Tips and What's New in SOLIDWORKS Flow 2018” that I’ll be hosting on February 27th at 11 AM EST. Let’s get started.

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              What’s New in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2018

              by Drew Buchanan on December 7, 2017

              What's New in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2018-1There are so many new features and enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2018 that we’re excited about. Our “What’s New” blog series takes you through the entire what’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2018 portfolio. In this blog, we will be covering some of the great new features in the SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2018 portfolio.

              Do you want a demonstration? I hosted an in-depth webcast on the newest release of SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2018 covering solutions from stress/deflection, electromagnetics, topology optimization, injection molding scenarios, casting simulation, and more. Let’s get started!

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                Optimize Your Plastic Parts and Injection Molds with SOLIDWORKS Plastics

                by Drew Buchanan on August 16, 2017

                Optimize-Your-Plastic-Parts-and-Injection-Molds-with-SOLIDWORKS-Plastics-In an increasingly technologically driven manufacturing environment, product lifecycles continue to become shorter and shorter. Designers are looking for ways to reduce costly prototypes, and to get a leg up on their competition. With the advent of computer-aided engineering (CAE), designers and engineers are able to test out designs and determine if design changes need to be made prior to prototyping and fabrication.

                SOLIDWORKS Plastics is one of the many tools in the SOLIDWORKS CAE portfolio. Read on to learn more about SOLIDWORKS Plastics and view our recorded 30 minute webcast to see  product demonstrations and examples of how to use the tool in your everyday workflow.

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                  Come Explore Technology and Design at solidThinking Converge 2017

                  by Chad Zamler on August 15, 2017

                  Come-Explore-Technology-and-Design-at-solidThinking-Converge-2017Throughout history, technology has always influenced design. There are countless examples from coal and pigments to the printing press, and of course computer-aided design (CAD) and computer aided-engineering (CAE) software, such as solidThinking design validation tools.

                  Today, a new wave of technology has emerged and is converging with the design world to inspire new design possibilities never thought possible. This is exactly what we plan to explore at solidThinking Converge 2017 in Los Angeles, California on September 13th.

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                    Meet our Experts: Drew Buchanan - Application Engineer

                    by Angelle Erickson on August 11, 2017

                    Meet our Application Engineer, Drew Buchanan, who is based out of our office in Horsham, Pennsylvania and has been with Fisher Unitech since 2015. Drew has been immersed in Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) technology, also known as design validation or simulation technology, for the majority of his career. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh he continued to Villanova University for his Masters degree.

                    Keep reading to learn more about Drew’s background with CAE, his simulation webcast on SOLIDWORKS Plastics, and how having the right solution can help you spot challenges before they occur during the design process.

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                      Strength Check Your Designs with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional

                      by David Roccaforte on June 21, 2017

                      Strength-Check-Your-Designs-with-Simulation-Professional-1Simulation tools in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software are so user friendly and widespread these days that we often compare them to a spell checker analogy. Almost every application that requires entering text has a built in spell checker. Similarly every seat of SOLIDWORKS has some form of “Simulation” built in. You shouldn’t send on an email without a quick spell check, so why release a design without doing a performance check?

                      Keep reading to find out how to quickly check your design the first time and eliminate repercussions.

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                        Getting Started: SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard

                        by Drew Buchanan on June 5, 2017

                        Getting-Started-SOLIDWORKS-Simulation-Standard-1In an increasingly technologically driven manufacturing environment, product lifecycles continue to be shortened and shortened. Designers are looking for ways to reduce costly prototypes, and to get a leg up on their competition. With the advent of computer aided engineering (CAE), designers and engineers are able to test out designs and determine if changes need to be made prior to prototyping and fabrication.

                        SOLIDWORKS Simulation is one of the many tools in the SOLIDWORKS CAE portfolio. This blog will provide you with a brief summary of SOLIDWORKS Simulation and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard.

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                          How to Deal with Fixture Warnings in SOLIDWORKS Simulation

                          by Drew Buchanan on May 3, 2017

                          How-to-Deal-with-Fixture-Warnings-in-SOLIDWORKS-Simulation-00You sit down at your desk to finalize the design for a new product you are working on. You want to verify that the product does not fail under loading, and expect the finite element model to be fairly easy to set up and run.  However, much to your chagrin you run the model and a warning pops up.

                          If you have been working with SOLIDWORKS Simulation for a long time, you most likely have seen this warning box before. In today’s blog I will show a handy tool which can remedy this issue very quickly. It should be noted that all tips in today’s blog pertain to a traditional Linear Static Analysis, which is available in SOLIDWORKS Premium,  SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional, and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium.

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                            Why You Should Use Simulation and 3D Printing Technologies Together

                            by David Roccaforte on April 14, 2017

                            We often joke at Fisher Unitech that simulation technology, also known as Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), and 3D printing technology are competitors. In reality, for product development, they are engineering partners. Each has its respective strengths and weaknesses.

                            It’s kind of like a buddy cop show. One has street smarts and the other is the brainy young whippersnapper. When they work together they solve tough crimes. Simulation and 3D printing technologies work together to help prevent engineering crimes: such as missing project timing dates and quality and performance issues.

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                              Simulation Tip: Animating Transient Results in SOLIDWORKS Flow 2017

                              by David Roccaforte on March 3, 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.

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                                How to Design a Filtration Unit with SOLIDWORKS and solidThinking

                                by Drew Buchanan on February 22, 2017

                                Recently, as I was drinking a cup of tea, I appreciated having hot and clean water to drink. I thought about the process of obtaining that water. Specifically, about the filtration process. I wondered, what if I could simulate the filtration process within SOLIDWORKS? I quickly realized that I could do more than simulate the filtration process. I could simulate the casting of individual parts as well as the injection molding of specific parts of the apparatus.

                                With that understanding, I set forth to utilize SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Plastics, and solidThinking’s Click2Cast software to optimize the design. In this blog, I will lay out the steps to analyze a filtration unit with three different simulation and analysis solutions. There is also a recorded webcast you can view that includes demonstrations of what I cover in this blog.

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                                • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION

                                  solidThinking: Empowering Engineers with the Right Design Validation Toolsets

                                  by David Roccaforte on February 13, 2017

                                  If you read a few of my SOLIDWORKS Simulation tutorials and finite element analysis blogs you will notice the recurring “tool” theme. As an engineer and gearhead, I love anything that will help me do my job better, whether it’s extracting a broken bolt from a cylinder solidThinking-Empowering-Engineers-with-the-Right-Design-Validation-Toolsets-1head or determining the optimal amount of material to meet performance specifications. Show me a tool that can help me do it better and I’m listening.

                                  One of my fondest memories as an engineering intern was the day my manager approached me with a tool catalog. This was before online ordering when PO’s were still done by hand.

                                  He said, “Pick out what you think we need for the mechanical lab, and order two of everything.”  As a student with an internship being able to fill up the gas tank felt like a luxury. Now I get to order any tool we might need? I was in heaven.

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                                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION

                                    SOLIDWORKS Simulation Tech Tip: Flow Solver Scalability

                                    by David Roccaforte on December 16, 2016

                                    Back in 2015, I tried an experiment comparing model size (number of cells) to memory needs and solve time. When I used SOLIDWORKS 2016, it was better at taking advantage of multiple cores as shown below. 


                                    The old solver started to lose advantages around 6 cores per job. You can see that the green curve is still upward sloping after 6 cores, that is the new solver.

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                                    • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION

                                      Save a Life – Optimize that Design with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

                                      by Drew Buchanan on November 30, 2016

                                      The beads of sweat drip off my forehead as I drill my climbing anchor into the rock. I maneuver the rope through the anchor’s 9mm slot for the rope to fit through. After the rope is tucked through the anchor, I place the strap through my carabiner and secure it, then begin my climb upwards. As I move upwards my left foot slips on a piece of shale, and my hands lose their grip. I fall backward hoping my carabiner and anchor system holds. Thankfully, the carabiner’s suggested 9 KN engineering rating holds fine, and I fall only five feet instead of the 100 feet to the mountain floor.

                                      I realize many of you may not spend your free time hanging out on the side of a mountain 100 feet in the air on a small rock ledge—trusting that engineers adequately designed a four inch curved piece of metal to hold your weight. Regardless, we all rely on products we use daily that have been designed and optimized by engineers for our safety.

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                                      • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION, CAD

                                        Save Time with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Feature: Blended Curvature-Based Mesh

                                        by Drew Buchanan on November 7, 2016

                                        Finite element modeling (FEM) continues to evolve and makes solving multiphysics problems easier and easier for users. No longer, are the days of dedicated engineers or programmers sitting in cubicles writing code to solve finite element problems. SOLIDWORKS Simulation has set the bar for making FEM easier for users while still being computationally powerful. In this blog, I will cover one of the newer capabilities in SOLIDWORKS Simulation that can save you a lot of time: the “Blended curvature-based mesh” feature.

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                                          The Right Tool for the Job Part 3: Getting Your Fix with Fixtures

                                          by David Roccaforte on September 20, 2016

                                          In the first blog in this series, I introduced SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard, our entry level but high value analysis package. In my second blog, I discussed the single body limitations in Sim Xpress and compared that with the extended capabilities in our more full featured tools. In this post, I will discuss the fixed constraint option in Sim Xpress and compare this to the capabilities of Simulation Standard.  

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                                            The Right Tool for the Job Part 2: The Single Body Limitation in Sim Xpress

                                            by David Roccaforte on September 8, 2016

                                            In my last blog, I introduced SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard and how it is a lot of analysis power for the money. One point that I made is that there are many times when SOLIDWORKS users might be trying to do too much with the free Xpress tools or might not realize what they are missing in a more complete solution like Simulation Standard Professional or Premium. In this blog, I will discuss the single body limitation imposed by Sim Xpress.

                                            Sim Xpress allows only a single body and "fixed" constraints that stop motion on the chosen face in the X, Y, Z directions. The main reason for this limitation is that it prevents users from creating an unstable model by accident. Fix any face in X, Y, Z directions on a single body and you are going to have a stable model. In other words it's a slam dunk that the solver will able to solve for equilibrium and we can find a solution. This limitation guarantees a solution but limits the areas we can accurately extract stresses from and limits the types of situations we can accurately reproduce.

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                                              Join Us at a SOLIDWORKS 2017 Launch Event Near You

                                              by Christa Prokos on September 7, 2016

                                              sw17cropWe are excited to announce that Fisher Unitech and our friends at Prism Engineering will be hosting a series of SOLIDWORKS 2017 launch events beginning next month on October 5th. With hundreds of new enhancements and features, the newest version of SOLIDWORKS promises to be the most powerful release yet.

                                              So if you’re just as geeked out about SOLIDWORKS 2017 as we are you’ll fit right in! Join us at one of our live launch events to engage with our experts and gain some tips and tricks, along with a deeper understanding of how industry-specific tools can address your personal designing needs.

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                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION, CAD

                                                Simulation Standard: The Right Tool for the Job

                                                by David Roccaforte on August 23, 2016

                                                As the SOLIDWORKS Simulation Product Specialist at Fisher Unitech, I generally blog about tips and tricks using our analysis tools. Today’s blog covers one of the biggest engineering crimes that I witness these days: Trying to make your engineering problem fit the tools that you have, rather than using the right tool for the job.

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                                                • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION

                                                  Simulation Tech Tip: How can I simulate freezing water expansion?

                                                  by David Roccaforte on June 8, 2016

                                                  Now that spring is here ice is probably the last thing on your mind. Unless your designing a product where stress induced from freezing is a problem. One of my customers posed an interesting question.  How might we emulate freezing water in FEA ?

                                                   As you may know water expands when freezing and this can wreak havoc on any structure where water is contained or trapped.  Hence all the lovely pot holes in the spring punishing our fancy alloy wheels.

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                                                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION, CAD

                                                    More Video Opportunities to Learn Simulation and Analysis Fundamentals

                                                    by David Roccaforte on April 13, 2016

                                                    I just received an email from my analysis colleagues at SOLIDWORKS  kicking off a series of Simulation training videos.  This is one of the great things about SOLIDWORKS there are so many places to learn and this is a great team to learn from.

                                                    Check out the video series.



                                                    • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION

                                                      30 Minutes to Smarter Design Decisions with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

                                                      by David Roccaforte on February 23, 2016

                                                      In the past 20 years, I have worked in manufacturing, product design and as a consultant/applications engineer for several simulation software companies. Working with many companies seeking to innovate and differentiate their products, I have seen personally that the decisions engineers make early in the design process often make the difference between success and failure of the products and the companies.

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                                                      • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                                        SOLIDWORKS FLOW SIMULATION: Animating Transient Flow Runs and Solver Iterations

                                                        by David Roccaforte on September 24, 2013

                                                        In this simulation tech tip, I am going to cover using animations to display the auto mesh refinement splitting cells, since it is useful for watching steady state flow solutions develop, as well as viewing multiple time steps in a transient solution.

                                                        1. Make sure we are saving the steps during the Flow solution. Open the "Calculation Control" dialog. This is accessible from the flow feature manager, command manager, and the solver menu window:


                                                        1a. Choose the saving tab and enter how often you want to save results.
                                                        1b. The individual iteration results will be saved in your Flow folder for each iteration as  "r_XXXX.fld"
                                                        These are individual result sets which will be referenced to create your animation. Be careful: this is a good way to fill up your hard drive for larger models with small times steps.CONTINUE READING:

                                                        2. Solve the flow model.

                                                        3. Load the results (last iteration is default) and create a plot that you want to animate, such as a cut plot or surface plot.

                                                        4. To begin creating the animation, either right click "Animation" in the feature manager and choose Insert or right-click the desired result set to animate such as a cut plot and choose Animation.

                                                        5. Once the animation pane appears, you will want to drag the study "control point" all the way until the start of the animation (to the left).

                                                        6. To bring the individual time frames/iteration in, you will then click the "Movie" icon.
                                                        6a. Enter the desired duration of the animation, and click "Next."
                                                        6b. Choose rotation or not; you can still rotate the model using control points and views later if you choose "no" here. The rotation will add key frames for a simple rotation about the global axis. Click "Next."
                                                        6c. Select "Scenario" to animate multiple timesteps. Click "Next."
                                                        6d. Choose "Uniform" or "Proportional" and select the start and finish from the sliders if you don't want to include all the timesteps/iterations results.


                                                        6e. Now you will see a "control point" for each iteration brought into the animation.
                                                        7.  To determine when the features are displayed in the timeline, you can insert and drag the "control points" for that feature.
                                                        7a.  To choreograph different plots, you can adjust "control points" for the individual features to begin and end at different times or overlap etc... (see the video we phase out the mesh cutplot then phase in the flow stream cutplot.)
                                                        7b. To change the view during the animation, you can place "control points" in the animation pane to move from one view to another. First, you must right click the project name and unselect "Lock Orientation." Each control point is a specific view orientation, and when they are connected, the model moves from one view to the next dynamically. To adjust the orientation at a "control point," drag the slider bar to the point and adjust the model view. (See the video below).
                                                        8. Now you can hit the play button and the view orientation will change based on your view "control points." In addition, your feature plots with "control points" will update based on the solver iterations. You can also save the animation as an .avi file by clicking the record button. This can be useful since the frames can take some time to load.
                                                        Watch the video below a couple times and you will see that it's a pretty quick process.

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