The Value of Simulation: Which Design is the Best?

Test your parts. Then test again! Product development testing has been a cornerstone of inventions since the beginning to ensure product reliability. Physical prototypes are just as relevant today as they were back then. However, as products became more complex, the cost and time required to test physical prototypes also grew. The dawn of CAD, coupled with Finite Element Analysis (FEA), provided an opportunity to virtualize testing, which helped to reduce the cost of physical prototypes and speed up product development.

Historically, FEA was performed in the later stages of the design phase. SOLIDWORKS Simulation was introduced to revolutionize this process by allowing design validation to be done in parallel with product design.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation is fully integrated into SOLIDWORKS, providing you with tools to efficiently study the initial design and predict the reliability of the digital product, allowing the simulation results to drive the design changes. Design with intent – the real value of simulation. More importantly, SOLIDWORKS Simulation helps answer questions such as “which design is the best?”

Simple design changes driven by simulation results can have a considerable impact on product performance. Take a bicycle crank, for example. We could have a few variations in design, but which is the best and why?

The basic requirement would be to withstand a 300-lb load per crank.

A quick linear static analysis shows us all three designs are below the stress & deflection criteria.


But what about the durability of this part long-term? Repeated use on the crank can cause the part to weaken over time and fail eventually.

Adding more material can surely increase the durability but also increase production cost and weight, which we want to avoid for bicycle part. To get an idea of how long these cranks would last over time with repeated use, we performed a fatigue analysis test. The results showed us the clear choice of the best design!

By providing straight-forward analysis techniques, SOLIDWORKS Simulation can help engineers optimize the performance of products and allows them to cut prototyping cost, create better and safer products while saving time and development cost.

Join us for a new webinar series The Value of Simulation: Which Design is Best

If these types of FEA simulation interest you, please make sure to ​register for our upcoming webinar series on “The Value of Simulation: Which Design is the Best?” Whether you are a designer, engineer or manager interested in integrating simulation into your product design, you will plenty to learn at these webinars.

Join us on April 22nd at 11 AM ET for part one of a four-part series to learn more about SOLIDWORKS Simulation! The first topic we will cover is, Driving Design Decisions using Simulation.  Click here to register.

You can register now for any or all of the upcoming webinars:

May 6th, Got Moving Parts? Motion Simulation can help! Click here to register.
May 20th, Using CFD to drive Product Performance  Click here to register.
June 3rd, Can your Plastics Part be Manufactured?   Click here to register.

Learn more about the benefits of SOLIDWORKS Simulation tools and how you can sign up for the free online product trial by clicking here.




Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.