Designing machines? Does Event Based Motion ring a bell?

One of the big challenges for machine designers is to understand and test how a design will interact in real life before it goes into production.  There is no prototype in machine design. It’s a one-off– large and expensive, and any issues you have with it could well turn up only at installation when it might be too late or too costly to make changes. Moreover, the delay in putting the machine into service can also have a dramatic impact on cost.


SolidWorks introduced Event Based Motion capability several releases back to let machine designers simulate machine sequencing from sensors and production line events to evaluate the timing of equipment or specific operations.

There is lots of motion in a machine that needs to be well defined and properly dimensioned so the final product works as planned. Think about the conveyor bringing your luggage at the airport, machine tooling in a manufacturing plant, the continuous flow of bottles in a packaging machine…the sequences of each motion are precise, executed at a given time so the entire flow works.

There are two types of Motion: Time based and Event based. Time based motion studies describe the response to time based changes in motion elements on the assembly process. But to do this, you need to know the timing of each motion in your machine.

Event Based Motion studies in SolidWorks Simulation are defined with a set of motion actions resulting from triggering events. Sensors trigger action in the same way that a switch sensor would in the real world, allowing the machine designer to try different sensor locations and activations. This means that such Event Based Motion analysis is the proper one when you do not know the exact time sequence for element changes.


For example, in a manufacturing process that includes components moving along a conveyor belt, motors turn on or change according to the component position on the belt. However, since you do not know the exact time when a component will reach a position before calculating the motion, you cannot determine the time to change the motor value. This is when Event Based Motion simulation can really help machine designers, as you use it to model the conveyor assembly motion, specifying motion from a combination of sensors, times, or previous events.

In this video, we have packages traveling on a conveyor and ejected off based on their height. We define a proximity sensor to detect the package height and use this event to trigger the ejector actuator. So while the motion simulation is running, anytime the proximity sensor is triggered, the package is ejected. Then, we create a trigger for when the ejection task is finished, to move the actuator back to the starting position before the next package arrives.

One of the outputs of the Event Based Motion is a Gant chart of the event interactions (bottom right in the image below). Machine designers know exact times for when events occur, and how long they last.


So if you design machines in SolidWorks, Event Based Motion can really help in more accurately modeling your design and help you improve machine efficiency. Using 3D motion Simulation reduces the design risk and provides you the technical insights you need to make better design decisions.

You can learn more about Event Based Motion on the SolidWorks website.


Delphine Genouvrier

Delphine Genouvrier

Delphine Genouvrier is a Director at Dassault Systèmes