SOLIDWORKS Simulation

What is Simulation?

SOLIDWORKS Simulation is a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) program built into the familiar SOLIDWORKS CAD interface.

Simulation provides designers and Engineers the tools they need to quickly test their designs and intelligently iterate on them. Utilizing NAFEMS validated FEA solvers, SOLIDWORKS Simulation can provide accurate, reliable results for a wide range of study types from basic linear static analysis to more complex nonlinear and dynamic analysis.

Speed up the iteration and prototyping phase of your design process with SOLIDWORKS Simulation.

What Can It Do?

SOLIDWORKS Simulation comes in three tiers offering increasing levels of function and capability. Check out these videos to learn what capability is in each package to determine which one best suits your needs.

Linear Static Analysis

Test designs using linear materials under steady-state load conditions to quickly analyze and iterate designs based on stress, strain, displacement and Factor of Safety (FOS) results. The included Trend Tracker tool helps engineers to track the results of design changes automatically.

Motion (Kinemetic) Analysis

Leverages user-defined constraints (mates) in assemblies and mechanical inputs (gravity, springs, dampers, forces, etc.) to accurately recreate the mechanical movement of the assembly and provide designers with reaction forces, position, acceleration and velocities.

Fatigue Analysis

Used to test the life of designs due to fatigue failure, engineers can apply multiple load scenarios including varying and cyclic loads where peak stress is below material yield to understand the expected life-span of their designs.

Frequency Analysis

Also known as modal analysis, this test is used to determine both the modal shape and natural frequencies of both parts and assemblies. This is critical information for an Engineer to have when creating designs that will be subjected to vibration inputs or used in vibrating environments.

Thermal Analysis

This test gives engineers a method to study and understand the heat transfer, both steady-state and transient, through conduction between components as well as both radiation and convection into the surrounding environment. The results of this analysis can be used in a stress analysis to see how the thermal conditions will affect the stress and displacement in a part or assembly.

Topology Optimization

Rather than creating a design and validating it, this study allows engineers to specify the “bounding box”, stiffness, weight and frequency requirements of the component and allow the software to generate the ideal shape to meet those requirements while considering manufacturing constraints.

Parametric Optimization

Allows designers to rapidly test and optimize a design based on variables such as dimensions, and materials with given constraints and overall goals such as weight, strength, frequency and even manufacturing cost.

Buckling Analysis

Used to analyze load bearing structures that are placed under compressive forces to accurately test the Factor of Safety (FOS) against buckling failure of a design.

Drop Test

Provides an easy to use tool for simulating drop test impacts of components and assemblies. Drop test analysis gives full control on the impact surface, height, velocity and angle of the drop to understand how a design will behave when subjected to a drop impact.

Nonlinear Analysis

Rubbers, plastics, Nitinol and other nonlinear materials cannot be accurately tested with a linear solver. Nonlinear analysis allows engineers to use advanced material models to accurately analyze designs that incorporate these materials.

Composite Analysis

Used when designing with materials such as fiberglass or carbon fiber, this study allows engineers to specify fiber orientation and layup schedule for their designs. The results provide information on stresses at each layer as well as interlaminar stresses and composite specific results like Tsai Hill and Tsai Wu.

Dynamic Analysis

Allows designers to test Modal Time History, Harmonic Analysis, Random Vibration and Response Spectrum of components and assemblies. Results such as transient response, peak response, stress, acceleration and displacement can be provided by this type of analysis.

How accurate are the results?

Accuracy and reliability is a common question of all Simulation tools. How do we know the results can be trusted? Fortunately, there is an independent group who handles this. The National Agency for Finite Element Methods and Standards (NAFEMS) tests simulation programs against benchmark studies with known results that have been validated mathematically and empirically. Every study types available in SOLIDWORKS Simulation have been tested and validated by NAFEMS.

Still not convinced? SOLIDWORKS has included setup guides and the NAFEMS benchmark models in the Simulation software so users can run the analysis and compare the results themselves.

Have more questions?


SOLIDWORKS Simulation functions as an add-in for SOLIDWORKS CAD. The workflow and commands closely mirror that of the SOLIDWORKS design process so most users find learning Simulation is a fairly intuitive process. With that said, the results that SOLIDWORKS Simulation provides still need to be interpreted and understood by someone with knowledge of material properties and Engineering principles in order to make good design decisions.

As with all SOLIDWORKS tools, GoEngineer offers in-person and online training for all packages of SOLIDWORKS Simulation.


Yes. SOLIDWORKS Simulation can be shared among SOLIDWORKS users within a company by putting the license on network, regardless of whether your other SOLIDWORKS licenses are on a network or not.


Yes. All tiers of SOLIDWORKS Simulation can be used with all tiers of SOLIDWORKS CAD. Because SOLIDWORKS Simulation is an add-in for SOLIDWORKS CAD, Simulation will function as whichever version of SOLIDWORKS CAD that is utilized.

Example: if your SOLIDWORKS CAD license is 2017, then your simulation will also be 2017 (assuming they are both current through 2017)


Yes. As with all SOLIDWORKS tools that have tiers, there are upgrade paths available when you need to add functionality.


SOLIDWORKS Simulation is specifically an FEA program, designed for analyzing structural and kinematic systems. SOLIDWORKS Flow is a validated and certified CFD program from SOLIDWORKS. Ideal for fluid dynamic analysis and heat transfer, SOLIDWORKS Flow acts as a SOLIDWORKS add-in as well. If you’d like to learn more about SOLIDWORKS Flow, fill out the request form and write “Flow” in the comments section.


SOLIDWORKS Simulation has the same system requirements as SOLIDWORKS CAD. If you are planning to optimize a computer build for Simulation, prioritize component selection according to this list:

  1. CPU clock speed. 3.3 GHz minimum.
  2. RAM. 16 GB minimum.
  3. SSD hard drive recommended.
  4. CPU cores. There is a diminished return beyond 8 cores.


Yes, with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium, longer calculations can be offloaded to another computer that has the SOLIDWORKS Simulation Worker Agent (included with Premium) installed. This allows users to create and setup an analysis on their computer and offload the calculation to another computer, freeing their hardware up to work on other tasks.

Let's Get Started

So now you know what SOLIDWORKS Simulation is and you know how your company would benefit. All that’s left is to discuss your specific needs and where we can help. So what are you waiting for? Let’s Get Started!

Want to see more?

Fill out this form if you would like to hear from one of our Simulation gurus who can answer all of your questions.

If you would like to see a demonstration of SOLIDWORKS Simulation make sure you write “demo request” in the comment section at the bottom.

If you would like to see a benchmark comparing SOLIDWORKS Simulation to a real-world test make sure you write “benchmark” in the comment section at the bottom.