Would you recommend Simscale and why


#1

Hi, my name is Michele and I work for a small company in the U.S. where we custom build industrial ovens, where each design is different from the last. From small drawer ovens to conveyor ovens to large walk in ovens. Several different heating types, with and without air flow. We are considering the hiring of an engineer with some thermal simulation experience and I am currently the only 3D drafter working with Solid Edge.

So the owner of Intek would like feed back from those who have used SimScale. How well it works for you and how it has improved the work you do. All input is welcome.

Thank you so much!

(I debated on where to post this. I hope this location is ok.)


#2

Hi Michele,

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.

Thanks,
Christopher


#3

Christopher, I think you’ve summed it up really well. I agree with everything you’ve said. I just wanted to add a few more comments.

ParaView can be used to post-process SimScale results. ParaView is incredibly powerful and can do things that are just not possible with other, more well known, simulation packages. One feature that I could not live without now is the ability to do multiple side-by-side comparisons of different simulations. You can have numerous simulations, all with different geometries, loads, constraints etc. and compare the results side-by-side. Zooming, panning and rotating on one, applies to all. ParaView has too many features to go into here but it’s definitely an asset.

You said you work for a small company (as I do). SimScale gives me access to features and performance that historically were only available to big business. With SimScale it does not matter what type of simulation you perform (mechanical, thermal, CFD, particle etc) you just pay for the core hours used. That makes it very adaptable to changing needs.

SimScale’s technical support is exceptional! Because it is cloud based you can share your project with the support team with the click of a button. They can review your set-up and provide advice/feedback or whatever you need. If you’re stuck, your project will often be returned to you with a complete solution. I’ve been using SimScale for about 18 months now, I’ve asked for help countless times, they’ve never let me down and they always go above and beyond what would be expected to help me out.


#4

Thank you both. This is exactly the information I was looking for. You’ve been most helpful.


#5

You welcome! If you need any help evaluating Simscale for your particular need let us know in the forums and we will be happy to help out.

Christopher


#6

Hello,

@cjquijano and @BenLewis put a very interesting point, and I also wanted to throw in a word. As a disclaimer I have to add that I might be a bit bias since I work for the company :wink: Yet before I joined the team, I hassled a lot with OpenFOAM, and here would like to talk about total cost of ownership, mentioned earlier by Christopher.

My main expertise is in CFD, so I will stick to that. In general we could consider 3 scenarios:

  1. get an on-premise software
  2. get an open-source code (OpenFOAM- OF)
  3. get SimScale

I think one of the main reasons people go with the first solution are because they know the software and/or got used to having a certain workflow with particular tools. Of course these tools provide excellent functionality and are well suited for desired application. Then comes the price factor. Not only license, but computers, maintenance costs, required training and so on. I will close the first scenario here, since the total cost of such software gets just ridiculous.

In the recent years more and more engineers started moving towards fully open-source solutions. Lots of small and medium businesses investigated it, and all of the big industry players and universities at least tried it out. “We will use it because it is free”, says every boss, forgetting that worker’s/student’s time has a price. Lets address the distinction between open-source and free. First I want to share with you my experience with setting up OF from scratch. It was quite time intensive. Some might say “hey, download the repository and install”. Well, not all of us were immediately Linux masters, and cluster to do the calculation does not appear from nowhere. Then there is the time before you understand the how OF works, the structure of data files, setups and all the nice folder-file configurations. Long story short, it took me half a year to start my first “serous” run.
And with a time frame set, lets look at the cost. Imagine that we hire an engineer to use “free” OF for us, with a salary of 2500 eu before tax. Lets say that the guy is smart and manages to make the thing run in 3 months. With this, we just “paid” 7500 euro in order to start working with OF “for free”. Now ask yourself- how much is your time worth? Plus, add to this the cost of a powerful computer for simulations or rental of supercomputer power, cost of time you spent to maintain the system, etc. The total cost of ownership gets pretty high.

Finally lets look at the third solution. Consider adding the cost of a yearly subscription, dedicated professional training and the engineer we hire. With SimScale he will be running simulation latest after a month. You roughly saved 50% of the initial required input. Plus you have a partner who will help you out. On top of that you have all other types of simulation available, clusters, automatic updates, no maintenance on your side, tutorials, workshops, support, public projects and more! I think it is quite a good deal :smile:

All the above shows why I really believe in the idea behind SimScale.

Anyway, hope this brings a look on the perspective of going “free” with full open-source and why it might we worth trying to go with SimScale.

See you on the platform! :smile:
Pawel


#7

Thank you @psosnowski, you definitely made a good point about how “free” isn’t always the better route to go. Thanks for your thoughts!

Michele


#8

@michele_intek I hope our users feedback was helpful