SOLIDWORKS Simulation provides easy-to-use design validation tools that allow you to test your product and make important decisions to improve quality and performance early in the product development process. Full integration with the SOLIDWORKS environment means that you won’t waste time with redundant data transfer tasks. There is no need to export your SOLIDWORKS model when you want to run a study in SOLIDWORKS Simulation! With this CAD-embedded technology, design engineers can quickly and easily perform virtual testing before ever building the first prototype.
SOLIDWORKS Simulation comes in 3 different packages: Standard, Professional, and Premium. Additionally, there are basic simulation capabilities included in SOLIDWORKS Premium. In this article, we will focus on linear static analysis which is available in all of the packages listed above. Linear static analysis allows us to apply static loads to a part or assembly and calculate the resulting stress, strain, displacement, reaction forces, and other parameters that will allow us to improve the quality and performance of our design. The model we will be analyzing is the wheel assembly for the Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo.
As we saw in a previous blog article, SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium can provide the residual stresses that result from the plastic injection molding process. The seamless integration between SOLIDWORKS products allows us to import these stresses directly from SOLIDWORKS Plastics into a SOLIDWORKS Simulation study, giving us a pre-stressed part to use for virtual testing that reflects the actual condition of the plastic rim after it comes out of the mold.
We can then set up a virtual testing environment to represent a typical loading scenario that the wheel would experience during a race (check out #AlignexRaces on Twitter and our YouTube racing video to see this wheel in action). In the example below, a 1 lbf downward force is applied at the hub to simulate the drone landing on the ground after completing a jump. After running the study, we can analyze the results with SOLIDWORKS Simulation’s intuitive post-processing tools.
We can view stress, strain, and displacement results plotted directly on the model to gain insight into how the wheel assembly will deform under the given loads. We can also plot the Factor of Safety (FOS) and isolate regions that do not meet our minimum design requirement. With the probe tool, we have access to a nearly limitless number of virtual strain gauges! We can click on any point in the model to find the stress, strain, displacement, or FOS.
Another great example of SOLIDWORKS product integration is the ability to import loads from a SOLIDWORKS Motion study into a linear static analysis in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. In this example, we see the wheel assembly rolling over an obstacle. The resultant forces at the moment of impact can be captured and exported to a Simulation study so we can see the stresses and displacements that develop as the wheel assembly deforms under load.
The Design Insight plot is another useful tool for improving your design and reducing manufacturing costs. This plot displays a continuous path between the applied loads and the restraints, which some users may recognize as a load path. The translucent portions of the model carry the load less effectively than the solid portions, so we may choose to remove material from these areas to reduce the overall weight of the design. Again, because we never have to leave the SOLIDWORKS environment, we can make geometry modifications and then immediately re-run the simulation.
If we want to automate this iterative design process, we can use the powerful Design Optimization tool found in SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional. We define the design space by specifying acceptable ranges for model dimensions, applied loads, materials, and other variable parameters. We also define our design requirements in terms of maximum stresses, maximum deflections, and so on. Lastly, we set a design goal. In many cases, the goal is to minimize the overall weight or volume of material. SOLIDWORKS Simulation considers all of these inputs and runs a series of simulations to determine the optimal design for the product.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the full range of design validation tools available in the SOLIDWORKS Simulation suite. We encourage you to explore how these powerful yet easy-to-use tools can save you time and money, and boost your product innovation! Contact us for more information or call 866-378-6829.
Written by Tim Spielman
Tim Spielman is an Application Engineer at Alignex, Inc. When Tim isn't teaching a variety of Simulation courses or developing tailored software solutions for customers, he spends his free time working on his truck or flying airplanes.