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  • Hichem Djadoudi

MSC Patran Expert Review, Licence Pricing and Alternatives - 2023

Updated: 16 hours ago

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What’s special about MSC Patran? Patran is the most widely used FEA software; nearly every structural engineer is familiar with it. And due to its wide adoption, collaboration and file sharing between companies and their clients is seamless; you won’t need to convert files to access their contents.

Product: MSC Patran

Founding Date: 1963

Company: Hexagon (Through the acquisition of MSC Software Corporation)

IPO Status: Public

Founders: Richard H MacNeal and Robert Schwendler

Deployment Type: On-premise (self-hosted)

Free Trial: Not available

Company HQ: Newport Beach, California, United States


What is MSC Patran?

MSC Patran is a well-known, enterprise-grade pre- and post-processing software for Finite Element Analysis (FEA). It can perform modelling, meshing, analysis setup, and post-processing for several FE solvers including MSC Nastran, Abaqus, ANSYS, and many more.

With MSC Patran, engineers can import geometries directly from the CAD software they use, then define loads, boundaries, and material properties, run simulations under various conditions, visualize results, and ultimately get a better understanding of the link between design decisions and product performance parameters.

WorQuick Patran 2023

Pros of MSC Patran:

  • Patran is perhaps the most widely used FEA software. If you’re familiar at all with these kinds of products, chances are, you’ve already come across or used Patran before.

  • Because of how widely used Patran is, collaboration and file sharing between businesses and their clients is easy; there’s no need to convert files to access their contents.

  • Patran is quite comprehensive; it’s got use cases for acoustics, additive manufacturing, design optimization, fatigue and durability analysis, multibody dynamics, nonlinear analysis, process automation, structural analysis, thermal analysis, and much more.

Cons of MSC Patran:

  • Several users encounter bugs when moving from MSC Patran, the pre/post processor, to Nastran, the solver.

  • Patran’s GUI is quite outdated (almost a Windows 2006 look and feel) and could use a modern touch.

  • Patran is quite rigid with limited room for customization.

  • If you’re a small business that’s just starting out, Patran isn’t the best FEA solution for you. It is on the pricier side and a hassle to implement. There’s also a steep learning curve with it.

  • There’s a lack of visual resources such as videos that new users can access for free to learn the software. Paid resources are available, but also quite limited.

MSC Patran Pricing

The pricing of MSC Patran isn’t disclosed upfront. Based on industry feedback (and our own knowledge), it costs around 5000$ per license a year. By filling out a form, you can request a price quote for Patran from MSC Software’s website. Their Sales team will get in touch with you to understand the size and scope of your project, and then provide you with an estimate accordingly. Demos are also available upon request.

MSC Patran'sTarget Market

Patran is designed for growing businesses and enterprises across verticals Aerospace, Automotive, Defense, Manufacturing, Machinery, Medical, and Shipbuilding

MSC Patran Features:

  • Importing geometries from CAD systems: Patran allows users to import geometry from many of the popular CAD systems to create FE models. It can also support many industry-standard geometry exchange formats including (STP, IGES, STEP, and Parasolid). All finite elements, loads, boundary conditions, and material properties can be associated with the geometry.

  • Geometry creation, modification, and feature recognition: Besides the ability to import geometries from other CAD systems, Patran has several FE geometry creation tools built in. It also has a robust feature recognition capability that allows users to remove or edit holes, fillets, and chamfers.

  • Works with several FE solvers: Patran supports both MSC Nastran and MD Nastran, enabling advanced engineering analysis and enhancing designs using Nastran’s Design Optimization and Topology Optimization capabilities. In addition to MSC Nastran, Patran can also work with other solvers developed by MSC (Marc, Dytran, and MSC Sinda) as well as third-party solvers such as Abaqus, Ansys, LS-Dyna, and Pamcrash, enabling you to stay in the same environment even if you are working with multiple solvers for different analyses.

  • Post-processing and reporting tools: Patran enables you to report on results for structural, thermal, fatigue, fluid, magnetic analyses, and more. You can also visualize results in post-processing, and export images and videos in several formats.

  • Patran Command Language (PCL): PCL is a programming language that you can use to extend Patran’s capabilities. For example, you can use it to write applications or site-specific commands, create menus, perform variational modelling, and more.

MSC Patran Deployment Type and Implementation: MSC Patran is a self-hosted product, which means you’ll need to download and install it on your computer and host it on your servers.

MSC Patran Customer Support: MSC Software has a support portal with downloadable guides. They also offer training courses upon request. If assistance help is needed, customers can contact the Support team through the web form, or by email/phone.

MSC Patran Integrations: MSC Patran does integrate with other products within MSC Software’s ecosystem such as MSC Nastran and MD Nastran.

The company behind MSC Patran: MSC Patran is owned by MSC Software Corporation, which was founded in 1963. During that time, the company was heavily involved in aerospace software development and had just launched their first product “SADSAM” (Structural Analysis by Digital Simulation of Analog Methods).

A couple of years later (1965), MSC was contracted by NASA to create a structural analysis software solution that would later be known as Nastran (NASA Structural Analysis). Since this achievement, the company continued to develop or acquire many of the technologies that are currently being used by engineers worldwide.

MSC Patran Customization and Automation:

MSC Patran provides extensive automation and customization features. The software allows users to create macros and script using Patran Command Language (PCL) to automate repetitive tasks and tailor the user interface, menus, and toolbars. However, some advanced features require a learning curve and can be challenging to master.

A minor drawback of the software is that finding documentation online can be difficult, which can hinder users in troubleshooting issues or accessing relevant resources. Despite this, MSC Patran is still an industry-leading choice for engineering professionals who require powerful automation and customization capabilities.

MSC Patran FAQs:

What is Patran software used for?

Patran is a pre/post-processing software for Finite Element Analysis (FEA), providing modelling, meshing, analysis setup, and post-processing capabilities for multiple solvers including MSC Nastran, Abaqus, ANSYS, and more.

What is the difference between Nastran and Patran?

Both Patran and Nastran are owned by MSC Software Corporation. The primary difference is that PATRAN is the pre/post processor, i.e. it’s what you use to create and mesh models, etc. NASTRAN on the other hand, is the solver, i.e. what you use to perform calculations.

Is Patran free?

Students from recognized universities can access the student edition of MSC Patran or Nastran for free. Businesses, however, must pay to use the software.

MSC Patran Alternatives:

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