Which SOLIDWORKS Simulation Package is Right for my Business?

By Ray Morrogh on

SOLIDWORKS Simulation allows for easily accessible virtual testing of your parts and assemblies in order to help reduce prototyping, remove guesswork in the design process, and optimize designs for any characteristic. But what are the tools you’ll need for what you’ll be designing, and which packages have those capabilities?

If you are already a SOLIDWORKS user, then your license will have access to some simulation capabilities already. SimulationXpress is a first pass stress analysis tool that allows for linear static studies of parts, and it is included in SOLIDWORKS standard and professional licenses. If you have a SOLIDWORKS Premium license, you’ll also get many of the benefits of Simulation Standard, but with some key differences. Let’s look at each level of SOLIDWORKS simulation and see the main features and benefits within that can help you achieve your design goals.

Simulation Standard

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard Software

If you’re only looking to take a step up from SimulationXpress or the simulation features of a SOLIDWORKS Premium license, then a Simulation Standard license may be for you. It allows you to extend your static simulation studies to assemblies, look at stress, strain, displacements, and/or factor of safety. A standard license also allows you to perform some other basic studies: time-based motion studies to determine velocities, accelerations, and movements under typical operational loads and Fatigue studies to estimate the life of components undergoing high cycle fatigue due to loading.

So, what distinguishes the features of a Simulation Standard license from those Simulation features available in a SOLIDWORKS Premium license? Fatigue studies are exclusive to a Simulation Standard license, as well as the trend tracker tool, which compares iterations of a static study to inform you of trends in the results based on input.

If you’ve read this and realized that you have access to Simulation tools but have no idea where to start when running a study, TriMech offers training to make sure that your mesh looks good and your studies are optimized! Check out some of our offerings here.

Simulation Professional

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional Software

Maybe the standard license is a bit too bare bones for what you need, and in that case a Simulation Professional license will include all those tools, plus several new studies and quality of life improvements as your simulations get more and more complex in order to meet your needs. Topology optimization studies utilize generative design to optimize your part for a variety of qualities you may be looking to design for. If you do a lot of work with structures, buckling or collapse simulation studies can be completed with a professional license. Other studies of interest are thermal, drop test, and pressure vessel simulations.

To clarify a bit on thermal simulations, a limitation is that you cannot perform convection heat transfer between two part files. To perform a study like that, you’ll need SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, which can perform CFD analysis. This TriMech blog article is a great place to start when considering a Flow Simulation license.

Another great feature in Sim Pro is sub modeling simulation and 2D simplification. These features are critical if you need to perform simulations of larger assemblies, since they will allow you to observe structural response of a smaller subset of that assembly and can reduce the strain on hardware and the amount of time required to complete your simulations by simplifying geometry.

Simulation Premium

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium Software

If you are frequently working with composite materials, elastomers, or dynamic loads, you’ll likely need Simulation Premium to accomplish studies. In addition to inheriting all the features and benefits of Simulation Professional and Standard, Simulation Premium has the added benefits of linear dynamic simulations, nonlinear simulations, and composite simulations. To demystify what exactly falls under these umbrellas, linear dynamic simulations include modal time history analysis, harmonic analysis, random vibration analysis, and response spectrum analysis. A nonlinear simulation will involve dynamic loading or a complex material model in order to predict component performance, which is extremely helpful in assessing post yield metals, rubber, and plastics. Is your material a combination of metals, ceramics, or plastics? Then a Premium license will still cover it since it can simulate composite materials.

If you’ve just read through everything and didn’t see a solution that fits you, there are a few other options to consider. If you’re on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, you have a whole different set of powerful simulation tools available to you. Check out this webinar to see what those tools look like in action! Still unsure about all these options? Reach out to us and let us know how we can help be your guide in making your business more efficient by using SOLIDWORKS Simulation.