You Don’t Have to Be a Rocket Scientist to Do Simulation

Many kick off the new year with resolutions, and for some, this includes trying new things. If you’re up for that, then I want to challenge you to give simulation a try.

There’s a huge misconception that you have to be a specialist to use simulation software. Wrong! These days you don’t have to have a PhD or even be a specialist to use simulation. I’ve been involved in the simulation industry almost two decades, and software has evolved; but one thing that hasn’t changed are the misconceptions associated with simulation. Today, I’m hoping to change your mind about that.

Let’s look at some of the most common misconceptions. The first misconception is that you need to have a PhD in engineering to use simulation software. Let me tell you why I believe that is false. After talking to hundreds of customers and thousands of users one thing is clear to me. If you understand how your product works in the real world, then you can use simulation. We have developed our simulation software to help you replicate real-world conditions with the software so you can be confident and validate your designs like a pro.

The second misconception is that the software will only tell you if a design option is good or bad. Well, that’s certainly not true. One of the most important simulation results you can see is if you are within your product factory and safety guidelines. So not only are you verifying your designs, but you’re also not over-engineering them. Simulations don’t’ tell you necessarily whether your design is good or bad; it helps you explore various options about your design so you can make informed decisions and reach the best possible option. And, the more information you have about your designs, the more informed decisions you can make.

The third misconception is that simulation software results can’t be trusted. With SOLIDWORKS® Simulation solutions you can relax. Our solutions feature SIMULIA® technology with Abaqus solvers, trusted since the 70’s. With simulation not only can you evaluate product performance, the best material, and the most cost-effective solution, but you can also show your team the results so that everyone is comfortable with the decision and you can make decisions as a team.

There’s a number of other reasons holding people back, like it’s not my job, it’s extra work, etc. but the value of simulation outweighs all of the above. With simulation you avoid rework later, there are fewer physical prototypes, and you create better designs overall.

The whole idea of simulation is to design better! I think we can all agree that the end goal is to make the best product possible, and if you reduce costs and design time along the way, that is a huge plus. Simulation adds value to any design process.

Being with the company for close to 20 years, I’ve seen firsthand how simulation tools can help and how they’ve evolved. Not only are they more accessible with cloud-based solutions, ease of use, and more options based on your role, and level of experience; but also the ability to solve bigger and more complex problems.

SOLIDWORKS has something for all levels, whether you are just beginning or have years of experience—from entry-level to advanced solutions. And the solutions cover all the physics you will need during the product development process, including:

  • Structural – everyone should check to make sure that their designs are both strong and stiff enough for the expected use cases without being too over-engineered.
  • Motion – will your design move correctly? Have you proposed the correct motors and drivers?
  • Fluid flow – understanding the impact of gas and fluid flow in and around your design could be crucial to your products’ long-term performance.
  • Plastics – ensure your plastic parts are manufacturable without knit lines or sink marks. Optimize your mold tools for maximum production rate.
  • Electromagnetics – assess the impact of electrical components on your design performance and each other to minimize costly prototyping and certification tests.

You’re definitely going to want to check out our 3DEXPERIENCE® Works  Simulation roles (a role is a set of apps that enable someone in a specific function to carry out their work and accomplish tasks). Our structural simulation roles, which include Structural Designer, Structural Performance Engineer and Structural Mechanics Engineer are a prime example of our tiered approach, giving you what you need without over burdening you with extraneous functionality.

All our  3DEXPERIENCE Works Simulation roles have three main attributes in common:


  1.       Scalable and flexible– Run simulations on the cloud or on your local computer. Leverage high-performance computing (HPC) on the cloud for more complex projects and longer simulations to free up time on your local computer. They all feature Abaqus solvers, and you can get access to various solvers based on your needs like the Abaqus Implicit Dynamic Solver for solving quasi-static problems such as snap fits or the Abaqus Explicit Solver for nonlinear dynamic problems, such as drop test and impact.
  2.       Associativity with SOLIDWORKS– Access the simulation roles right from the SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD you know and love. There’s no export/import rework—giving SOLIDWORKS users the most streamlined, user-friendly simulation workflow possible.
  3.       Connectivity to the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform– All your simulation data is stored on the cloud so you can access it from any device, from anywhere, anytime and collaborate on the data in real time with your team.


I hope you’ll take the leap in the new year and give simulation a try if you haven’t already. If you’re ready to crush your fear of simulation, I’d be happy to get you a demo. Our team will show you and then you can see for yourself how easy it really can be.

Cheers, and happy new year!

Stephen Endersby is a Director of Product Portfolio Management at Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS. A passionate believer in the benefits of design analysis Stephen is confident that every designer can make use structural, motion, fluid and plastics simulation tools to improve their product designs and performance. With over 15 years of experience Stephen has worked with companies of all sizes to help them overcome the many design to manufacture challenges they face. Well versed in the application of technology to deliver end user value and improve productivity, for Stephen technology changes but his desire to deliver solutions and value remains the same.