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Editor’s Pick: Integrate Motion and Stress Analyses

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

You know how you see a person in a crowd and they remind of you of someone you once knew well but you can’t pull up the file of who it might be from your memory bank? Something like that happened to me the other day when sifting through the hundreds of press releases that come my way. The product itself — SimWise from DST — is very interesting, and I’ll get to it in a moment. But it was that “I know this well from somewhere” something that gnawed at my memory. Rummaging around DST’s website, I found the key that unlocked my blockage.

SimWise was known as visualNastran, an MSC Software product. MSC had acquired the technology in ’99 from an outfit called Knowledge Revolution, who called it Working Model 3D. The software had been off the market for a number of years when last year DST acquired a license from MSC Software to visualNastran. And now visualNastran nee Working Model 3D has been updated and relaunched under the SimWise name.

Such evolutionary tales aside, SimWise itself is an umbrella moniker for three packages: SimWise Motion, SimWise FEA, and SimWise 4D. In general terms, SimWise is CAD-independent, meaning it can work with geometric design data from most any major CAD system as well as the usual neutral file suspects. The newest edition, version 8.5, also offers associativity with Solid Edge, which adds that mechanical CAD system to SimWise’s list of tight associativity capabilities that already included Inventor and SolidWorks. It has a formula language and function builder as well as an automation interface for programing with C++, Java, and so on. Other features include annotations and markups, and it has Lightworks-based rendering and animation.

SimWise Motion provides 3D kinematic and dynamic motion simulation of assemblies. This makes it of particular interest to those of you who need to evaluate the performance of assemblies of moving parts in, say, aerospace, automotive, and machinery design applications. SimWise FEA provides linear static, normal modes, steady state thermal, and buckling FEA analysis. Each application operates as a stand-alone. SimWise 4D, however, integrates these two packages into a single environment — that’s the 4D. This integration enables you to explore and validate designs by simulating the stresses resulting from dynamic loads induced by motion.

SimWise also integrates with Excel and Matlab/Simulink. The Simulink integration lets you represent a mechanical system in SimWise, meaning you can simulate an entire mechanical system, including hydraulics, electronics, and controls.

When I knew it better in its earlier forms, SimWise was a solid yet under-recognized dynamic motion simulation and structural analysis system. It seems like it still is a solid piece of craftsmanship, and a cost-effective one at that. Hit the link over there and give SimWise a look. It might be what you’ve been looking for.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.