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What’s New SolidWorks 2020: Simulation

Thursday January 30, 2020 at 11:00am

SolidWorks 2020 has now been officially released and Simulation has seen some great, new enhancements. The user interface, solving performance, and the quality of results have all had been added to. We have listed below the 10 major enhancements to come through to Simulation. These enhancements add up to make a more intuitive experience that allows models to be analysed faster and more accurately than ever before. So grab a cuppa and see how Simulation 2020 could help you.

User Interface

1. Collapsing Simulation Tree folders

The Simulation tree can now be collapsed using Shift + C. Alternatively, right click on a category in the tree and select ‘collapse tree’. This is a simple, yet time-saving feature that will come in handy setting up complex simulations or large assemblies.

2. Simulation Evaluator

A simulation overview is now provided by the simulation evaluator, allowing critical information to be accessed all in one place. The evaluator can be accessed by right clicking the study name > simulation evaluator. One can check conditions related to:

  • The results folder location
  • Storage capacity of the results drive
  • Materials used in the simulation
  • An overview, including% difference, of mesh volume vs. 3D model volume

If conditions in the study prevent a successful simulation run, the Simulation Evaluator dialog box also provides useful information for which corrective actions to be taken.

3. Stability Improvements Between the Model and Results Files

Locating results files back to the model has been improved by enhancing the search routine. It can now open up and view result plots if the analysis terminates before completing. This search routine looks in three locations to establish a link:

  • The results folder specified within the study's ‘properties’ option.
  • The folder of the model file that generated the results originally.
  • The results folder specified on the Default Options > Results tab.

If the link still is not found, then it can be manually re-established through the properties or simulation evaluator. Note that once the results file has been located (the .cwr file), mesh data stored in the model and results file are compared to validate they were produced by the same model.

4. Ability to delete and repair corrupt studies

Previously, when a simulation study became corrupted, there was no option to remove the study as loading would crash the program. The Simulation Cleaning Utility had allowed users to remove all simulation data from a model but this would also delete studies that were not be corrupt. In SOLIDWORKS 2020, studies can now be deleted without activating or loading up study data. Corrupt studies can therefore now be removed without affecting other studies, as well as cleaning up unnecessary studies will be faster.

5. Searchable Material Library

This is a SOLIDWORKS-wide feature but a valid tool within the simulation setup. Any material can now be searched for, using the search box in the upper left corner of the material dialog box. This includes custom libraries so that your company specific materials is closer than ever before.


6. Solver Performance Improvement

Multiple subtle but helpful improvements have been made to make certain simulation scenarios more efficient. The scenarios affected are listed below, the main aspect to keep in mind is it will manifest as faster and more accurate solving.

  • The solver correctly calculates the zero-stress state and zero frequencies for rigid body modes.
  • The calculation of stresses at bonded interfaces with unmatched (incompatible) meshes is also improved, producing fewer stress singularities and smoothing stress results at incompatible mesh contact.
  • The default option for bonded component contact can now be set (compatible or incompatible) under Simulation Options > Default Options > Contact.
  • In 2019, performance gains were seen for force, pressure and torque loading when using the load case manager with linear static studies. In 2020, remote loads with force and moment components see the same performance gains.

7. Draft and High Quality Mesh Definition in One Study

An improved mesh formulation for linear static studies allows both draft and high-quality solid elements to exist in a single mesh definition. High quality elements are shown in blue and draft quality in orange. This allows high quality mesh for the parts you are interested in, and draft quality for the rest. This has the potential really improve performance by delivering high quality results quickly and where you need them.

In 2020, the hybrid mesh is currently only available for linear static studies with solid bodies. However, results from linear static studies with hybrid meshes are valid as input for dependent study types such as Fatigue, Pressure Vessel, Design, and Sub-Modelling studies.

8. Distributed Coupling Option for Pins and Bolts

In 2019, a ‘distributed’ as well as a ‘rigid’ connection type was added for remote loads/masses. In 2020, this option is now also available for pins and bolts. The ‘rigid’ formulation prevents the nodes associated to the load bearing entity from deforming relative to each other. This can cause artificially inflated stress results. The ‘distributed connection’ option allows these nodes to deform relative to each other and provides a more representative stress magnitude and distribution.

9. Free Body Forces for Non-Linear Studies

2020 now allows free body forces in non-linear analysis. The forces can be shown at each time step as the forces are loaded onto the model. A loading profile can then be shown for selected entities to display the free body forces in a graph. This is a real winner for diagnosing the forces acting internally in a model within a non-linear movement, such as on the clip face represented below.

10. Stress Averaging at Mid-Side Nodes

In 2019, an improved stress-averaging algorithm was introduced that yields better stress results for the mid-side nodes of high quality elements, most notably within areas of high curvature. In 2020, this capability is extended to linear dynamic studies and now covers all study types.

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