With each new release there are always a few additions to SolidWorks Simulation that catch my eye. This year’s 2014 release is no different. I’ll write about several of the enhancements over the coming months but I’m going to start with the conversion of Toolbox fasteners into Simulation connectors.
Using connectors in Simulation allows us to replace physical components with virtual ones which will reduce the time required to solve the analysis. In Simulation 2013 and prior, there are a number of clicks required to set up a bolt connector. The process is start the bolt connector dialog, click on the appropriate edges and/or faces to define the bolt location, adjust the size of the bolt (if necessary), then add a material, strength data and pre-load information. Assuming I know all the required inputs in advance, it takes about a minute per individual connector. For small assemblies this setup time is negligible, however, when you have a few dozen connectors this new feature really shines!
Here I have a portion of a Weldment structure with several components attached with bolts.
There are 36 total fastener stacks in this model comprised of four different sizes. Using the new ‘Convert Toolbox Fasteners‘ option, the setup time can be reduced to a single button click! The new option is found at the bottom of the Feature Manager tree when you start a new Simulation study.
Once you have named the study and click ‘OK’, the bolts are automatically converted into virtual connectors for Simulation. In this example, a pop-up indicates it took 17 seconds to convert all 36 Toolbox fasteners into bolt connectors. (From my experience, the conversion time is about twice what is shown in the pop-up starting from when you click ‘OK’ until mouse control is returned to the user.) How is that for an increase in productivity? What would have taken over 30 minutes to do manually has been reduced to less than a minute!
Once the study is created, I have four folders of bolt connectors in my Simulation Feature Tree. I can edit the definition of any individual or group of fasteners, if I so desire.
Now that SolidWorks 2014 is released, be sure to check out other new features for SolidWorks Simulation. I’m sure you’ll find a few more gems to help improve your Simulation productivity. Now go make your products better with SolidWorks Simulation!
Elite Application Engineer
CAE Technical Specialist