Friday, 4 November 2011

SolidWorks Premium - Simulation

SolidWorks has a fantastic range of tools that allows us to design a vast array of products.  A key question in the design process is will the product work?
Is it strong enough?
With SolidWorks Simulation embedded within SolidWorks Premium, these questions can be answered quickly allowing the design to progress along the right path. 
How often is a product designed, with many man hours expended only for it to fail when it's sent to be analysed?
It takes time to export the files out so that other tools can test and
then this needs to be repeated each time a new test is required.
SolidWorks Simulation is built-in. 
It's just an extra tab on a toolbar.  Here is an example:
I am part of a design team working on a bench
mounted mitre saw and have designed a new
Yoke component.  Is my design any good?  Can
it withstand the forces it will experience during
operational use?
To get the answer we set up a
quick study.  The values I used
were from a previous test:
We removed any parts that were already tested to
ensure that the results were calculated even quicker.  The study looked like the image below:

Running the analysis only took a minute, but the great thing about SolidWorks Simulation is that it does not tie up SolidWorks during the calculation.  We can still use SolidWorks to progress other areas of the design or other projects.
Once the analysis is complete we can generate vast amounts of data to interrogate the result.  Here we see a Factor of Safety plot looking at the performance of the part measured against the yield strength of the material used. 
In this test the minimum is over 7 (The load could be increased sevenfold and the part would still not fail) so we should reduce weight in the part.  A quick model update and we can run the test again:
The minimum is now just over 2.5.  This is an acceptable value for this project so we can now finish the design sure that this part will withstand the operational loading.

This is just a small example of how SolidWorks Simulation can help the engineers and designers to ensure that they are not only designing better looking products, but also ensure that they are fit for purpose.  It all happens within the same familiar design environment and there is minimal additional skills required to get some truly useful and detailed results.

To see a video of Simulation in action, click here

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