Finite Element Analysis. You’ve probably heard the term before but you might be wondering what exactly is it? Finite Element Analysis, or FEA for short, is a simulation technique employed by many different software packages in order to simulate how parts or assemblies will respond under different loading conditions. SOLIDWORKS Simulation packages allow us to quickly and easily interrogate our models to help make informed design decisions and guide the manufacturing process. If you’re not already incorporating FEA into your design process, I’ve got several reasons why you might want to reconsider:

  1. Simulation works with non-native files and fits right in to SOLIDWORKS.
  • Even if you work with imported files from vendors or other sources, SOLIDWORKS Simulation performs the same way. You do not need native SOLIDWORKS files to be able to run FEA on them. Additionally, SW Simulation builds right into the SOLIDWORKS application. You do not need to leave the familiar modeling space to be able to run an analysis on your geometry!
Assembly analysis in SOLIDWORKS Simulation.

2. Physical prototypes are expensive and time consuming.

  • The traditional iterative design process is bottlenecked in terms of how fast physical prototypes are manufactured; not to mention how expensive they might be to produce. SOLIDWORKS Simulation eliminates that bottleneck by doing the prototyping virtually and cutting down on the number of physical prototypes produced.

3. Let the computer work while you don’t.

  • One of the key advantages of FEA is being able to leverage the power of computers and have them churn out results for you while you focus on something else. Once the study is started, the software takes over and provides you results automatically when the study has finished. Work smarter, not harder!

4. “What about…?”

  • Having direct access to the CAD geometry makes it very easy to explore potential changes to the part or assembly file. Rather than having to wait for another physical prototype to be fabricated, changing a dimension here or a mate there takes minutes; and the study can be re-run to explore the effects. Being able to make changes on the fly to both the geometry and the loading conditions of the simulation allows for endless possibilities before the first physical part is even produced.
Design Study varying CAD geometry to explore stress distribution.

5. You might already own Simulation!

For a full list of capabilities for the SOLIDWORKS design validation tools, check out our website:


Get Started With Finite Element Analysis