Solver and User Interface Key to SOLIDWORKS Plastics Update
The people at Dassault Systèmes were very busy ensuring that every product in the SOLIDWORKS 2016 family has seen its fair share of improvements. As for SOLIDWORKS Plastics, those improvements focus on the user interface following the trend set by the flagship SOLIDWORKS 2016 product. However, perhaps one of the biggest improvements to SOLIDWORKS Plastics is its new default solver.
New Default Solver Improves Speed and Accuracy of Plastics Simulations
A significant change in SOLIDWORKS Plastics 2016 is the selection of a default solver.
Previously, users had to choose between two different solvers based on their application and the direct and indirect solvers.
“The indirect solver is faster but less accurate, and the direct solver is accurate but takes more CPU time,” said Lotfi Derbal, product portfolio manager for SOLIDWORKS Plastics at Dassault Systèmes.
Derbal noted that the new solver, named compressive interface capturing scheme for arbitrary meshes, or CICSAM, is almost as fast as the indirect solver and almost as accurate as the direct solver.
“It isn’t a good user experience to have the user decide on a solver, and we didn’t have a method to tell them what is the best solver for the situation at hand,” said Derbal. “We have decided to make the new CICSAM the default solver, as it can cover any phenomena.”
The direct and indirect solver can still be used if the user prefers to do so; this will typically be for validations and other sanity checks. Because the direct solver is known for its high accuracy, it will likely remain a popular solver in the user community, particularly when CICSAM isn’t accurate enough for their specific simulations. However, over time, Derbal suspects that the indirect solver will be phased out, so take note for any legacy code.
Other solver solutions include:
- The ability to control the number of CPUs used by the solver
- Quadratic mesh options for the warp solver
- Automatic detection of effects in the simulation
Runner Domains for Improved User Interface
Users might find it easier to set up their models, now that they can define the runners within their injection mold as a separate domain to the mold’s cavity.
“In previous versions of the software, we couldn’t make a differentiation between cells from the runner to cells in the cavity,” explained Derbal.
“This wasn’t a problem for the simulation but it made it harder to select the hot runner and runner mesh within the user interface,” he added. “Users often needed to rotate their designs a few times to catch the whole runner if something needed to be defined to the whole runner system.”
Now when a user defines a part’s category, they can choose “runner” as one of the options. If the user wishes to set a parameter for all of the runner, they can then more quickly select all of the cells in the model that have this runner label.
Derbal notes that a situation when this would be useful is performing a warp analysis. “This assessment is calculated when the cavity and the runner is ejected,” he explained. “If we remove the runner before the cavity reaches ambient temperature, then the simulation should only focus on the cavity. So users can now set these two regions to be assigned a different category.”
SOLIDWORKS Plastics 2016 Works on Making Reporting More Legible
Another improvement to the SOLIDWORKS Plastic user experience in the 2016 release can be seen in the report template.
Derbal noted that avid SOLIDWORKS Simulation users will recognize how the Plastic 2016 reports will now look rather similar. This isn’t too surprising, as the Simulation template for the report was provided to the Plastics team from the SOLIDWORKS Simulation team to converge the formats.
Sample report made in SOLIDWORKS Plastic 2016. Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS.
All of the information in the report is the same, assured Derbal; it is now organized in a fashion that looks more professional and legible.
For instance, prior versions of the reports used to be coded in HTML; however, the new release opted for Microsoft Word formats. This will allow for easier amendments of the report by the author.
SOLIDWORKS Plastic 2016 User Interface Aligns with Product Family
Previous releases of SOLIDWORKS Plastics had a user interface that differed from the rest of the SOLIDWORKS product family.
“There were differences like how to deal with features in the dialog box,” Derbal pointed out. “Now, SOLIDWORKS Plastics uses the same general dialog box, fonts, buttons, cursor and sliders. SOLIDWORKS Plastics is now compatible with higher resolution screens just like SOLIDWORKS 2016. Today, SOLIDWORKS Plastics looks like a standard SOLIDWORKS product. It took two to three versions to have this transition. It was requested by the users.”
New SOLIDWORKS Plastics interface aligns with other SOLIDWORKS Products. Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS.
Due to this convergence between SOLIDWORKS and the SOLIDWORKS Plastics user interface, expect to see future updates to the general SOLIDWORKS user interface come to Plastics sooner, if not immediately.
To learn what else is new in SOLIDWORKS 2016, follow this link.
About the Author
Shawn Wasserman (@ShawnWasserman) is the Internet of Things (IoT) and Simulation Editor at ENGINEERING.com. He is passionate about ensuring engineers make the right decisions when using computer-aided engineering (CAE) software and IoT development tools. Shawn has a Masters in Bio-Engineering from the University of Guelph and a BASc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.