With all the simulation options out there, this is a very valid question and it’s one that I asked myself as well. In my day job I use ProE and Ansys which is very powerful, expensive (if I had to buy it), and it’s not very intuitive. I have a side consulting business and in the past I used Solidworks 2011 and Solidworks Simulation.
An obvious option for you would be to go with Solid Edge’s integrated simulation offering which I think is a Femap/Nastran solution. These are really nice because you are always working on your CAD geometry and you have the same interface for CAD and simulation. This environment is great to do a lot of iterations on small parts or assemblies. For example analyze a part, change a radius, re-analyze, repeat. It’s so good at this task that most integrated simulation packages will offer automatic shape optimization based on simulation results. It is one of the main reasons I went with the Solidworks solution for my own business. What I learned since I bought the software is that the only time I really iterated that frequently on a part or assembly is when I didn’t understand what was really going on… which is not good.
When I started to look and Simscale, I wanted a solution that was going to be as efficient as Solidworks Simulation. With simscale you have to export a STEP file from your CAD system and then import it into Simscale (unless you use Onshape). I really thought this would be a deal breaker for me, but when I compared the overall time to perform a simulation this really did not make much difference.
Now I mentioned above that the integrated solutions were very good at quick iterations one after the other. Simscale excels in an opposite way. Once I setup multiple simulations in Simscale, I can launch 5, 10, or more simulations at once.
So, when I evaluated Simscale for my own use, my number one criteria of being as efficient as my current process was met.
My other two criteria I evaluated was the capabilities of Simscale and the total cost of ownership. As far as the capabilities go, Simscale does have one weakness that is fairly critical and that is the lack of shell elements. For some of the thin structures I have done in the past, shell elements were a requirement. I know Simscale is working on this so hopefully this will be fixed soon. Other things, like the lack of local coordinate system support and the inability to mix units, can be worked around. In pretty much every type of analysis I looked simscale was more capable than my solidworks simulation. They also added more capability without making it as cumbersome as a tool such as Ansys.
So when I compared each analysis type, Simscale came out on top of my current tools, but that is only part of the story. My Solidworks Simulation license is only good for static, modal, and heat transfer. There have been times in the past where I have needed to perform a nonlinear analysis or a CFD analysis and I had to defer that work to someone else. With simscale you get everything. If you need to do an impact analysis on your oven or a forced air convection analysis, you will already have the tool.
As far as the cost of the product it is no comparison. I think I paid $3000 for the simulation package I have plus about $1200 a year for maintenance. If I would have purchased the nonlinear and CFD modules, it would cost me over $8000 and around $2500 for maintenance fees. On top of that you need a license of the cad software for the integrated solution and a really high end workstation. I am doing structural analysis and CFD analysis on a $300 chromebook… that’s amazing!
In summary, Simscale is as efficient as my previous tools (and much more efficient than the Proe/Ansys combination) , more capable, and lot cheaper. I can turn out better products because I can perform more robust analysis upfront, I can do this as quickly as before, and it cost me less money.
Sorry for the late night ramble, but I hope I sort of answered your question from my perspective. If you have any questions please ask away.