Every now and then, we look back over the functionality that has been added to SOLIDWORKS software over the last few years, and find something that I, (Glenn Whyte, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Product Manager at Hawk Ridge Systems) find useful, but don’t see our customers utilizing when I talk to them over technical support or in customer visits.
One of those features is Submodeling, which became available with the release of SOLIDWORKS 2013, and is part of the SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional package (it also comes with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium).
When running Simulation studies with large assemblies, the Submodeling feature allows you to refine the results on critical components without having to rerun the analysis for the entire assembly. In technical terms, Submodeling helps transfer complex global loads from the entire structure, to local sub regions to obtain accurate stress results in local regions.
Submodeling allows you to start the analysis process on a large assembly by running a “coarse’ parent analysis. This analysis may use coarser mesh than is really needed, might make simplified assumptions about contact conditions, or might neglect connection detail like welds or bolts. Note the relatively coarse mesh in the screenshot below.
Once we have this initial study complete, we can then identify parts that we’d like to investigate in more detail in a submodel. By right-clicking the name of the study and selecting “Create Submodel” you’re presented with a list of which parts you want to select. Loading from the master study is transferred (as a displacement value) to the boundary between the parts included in the submodel, and those neglected.
In the scenario below, I might be particularly interested in the connection between the foot plates and the vessel legs. I can refine the mesh in that area in much greater detail, add the detail of the welding strategy, and run these cases in much faster time than including these details in the master study. At the same time, we’re including the overall mass, stiffness and global loading effects on the model.
There are some considerations to keep in mind when creating a Submodeling study. A Submodeling study is derived from an eligible parent study and should meet these conditions to be eligible for a Submodeling study:
- The study type must be Static or Nonlinear static with more than one body and not be a Submodeling study itself. The parent study cannot be a 2D Simplification study.
- The selected bodies that compose the Submodel may not have No penetration contact with unselected bodies that result in contact pressure across the cut boundary.
- The selected bodies that compose the Submodel may not share connectors with unselected bodies.
By taking advantage of this Submodeling capability we were able to focus our analysis on key components in a large assembly with less effort and higher efficiency. If you haven’t tried this submodeling approach before, I’d highly recommend spending some time investigating this often overlooked, but very powerful feature.