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SolidWorks Simulation Expert Review, Pricing and Alternatives - 2024

Updated: Mar 21

Solidworks Simulation Logo

What’s special about SolidWorks Simulation?

SolidWorks Simulation is the market leader in easy-to-use finite element analysis tools integrated within CAD software. It allows mechanical designers to simulate and validate product designs without needing dedicated simulation software.

Product: SolidWorks Simulation

Founding Date: 1993

IPO Status: Public

Founders: Jon Hirschtick

Deployment Type: On-premise (self-hosted)

Free Trial: 15-day free trial available

Company HQ: Waltham, Massachusetts, United States

Rating: 4.1 ⭐ | 103


Table of Contents:


What is SolidWorks Simulation?

SolidWorks Simulation is an integrated suite of simulation and analysis tools within the SolidWorks CAD software. It enables engineers to perform structural, vibration, heat transfer and fluid flow analysis on 3D part and assembly models. The tools are designed to be easy-to-use so mechanical designers can validate product performance early in the design process without needing extensive simulation experience. Key applications include structural stress analysis, vibration and dynamic response, thermal analysis, plastic part modeling, fatigue testing and more. The integrated workflow allows analysis to be performed directly on CAD models without translations between programs.

Screenshot Demo Solidworks 2024 Worquick

Pros of SolidWorks Simulation

  • The integration of the simulation tools directly within SolidWorks makes the workflow very efficient. There is no need to export models and import them into a separate analysis software. I can set up simulations and analyze results without leaving my CAD environment.

  • The interface is intuitive and user-friendly. Even as a new user, I was able to learn the basic functions relatively quickly. The tools are presented in a logical way that matches the workflow for setting up a simulation study.

  • A wide variety of studies are available beyond just structural analysis. I can run simulations for computational fluid dynamics, heat transfer, vibration, fatigue life, topology optimization and more. This allows me to thoroughly test my designs.

  • The visualization tools help understand the results. I can see stress concentrations, deformation, heat maps, flow trajectories and other visualizations that make it easy to interpret the data.

  • Simulation setup requires less pre-processing work compared to some advanced FEA software packages. The automatic meshing and selection of element types saves time.

  • For basic simulation needs of smaller parts, the results are fairly accurate and can be used to improve designs. The software is very capable of initial concept studies and design optimization.

Cons of SolidWorks Simulation

  • For large assembly models or complex simulations, the tools can be limited. Advanced capabilities may require upgrading to more expensive versions or add-on packages.

  • The automatic meshing and solution setup means I have less control compared to advanced FEA software. It's harder to fine-tune things like mesh density, element types, and solver settings.

  • The computational performance can be slow for large simulations. Complex FEA studies may require longer solution times or better hardware.

  • The results are not as accurate for in-depth analysis with complex contact, nonlinear material behaviour, dynamic simulations etc. Precision is traded off for ease of use.

  • There are occasional errors with simulation setup, meshing, and solving that can be difficult to troubleshoot as an average user. The tools lack the robustness found in high-end FEA programs.


At WorQuick, our dedication to engineering innovation stands out. One of the cornerstones of our expertise is Solidworks Simulation. While many are familiar with Solidworks Simulation for its prowess in structural analysis, thermal simulations, and multibody dynamics, we venture further. We harness its capabilities in acoustics, fatigue and durability analysis, and additive manufacturing simulations. But we don't just utilize these functionalities; we enhance them through custom Scripts, Plugins and machine learning functions. Our vision is to revolutionize the global engineering landscape with unprecedented solutions. For businesses keen on optimizing their design and analysis workflows, our tailored Scripts and plugins offer next-level automation. Ready to elevate your engineering processes? Get in touch to discover how we can redefine your FEA experience.


SolidWorks Simulation Pricing

Based on my experience, the list price for a single SolidWorks Simulation Standard license is $4,195. The annual subscription is $995 per license.

We used network licensing at our company so multiple engineers could access Simulation. This allowed license sharing and cost optimization compared to individual licenses.

The network licensing approach provided more value for our team by balancing access across users while reducing the total licenses needed. It allowed us to make advanced simulation tools available to more engineers.

SolidWorks Simulation's Target Market

SolidWorks Simulation is tailored for mechanical design engineers in commercial industries like aerospace, automotive, machinery, and consumer products. It provides accessible simulation tools for non-experts to validate product performance early in the design process.

SolidWorks Simulation Features

SolidWorks Simulation provides integrated finite element analysis (FEA) tools for validating product performance directly within the SolidWorks CAD environment.

Key features include:

  • Linear Static Analysis - Apply loads and boundary conditions to simulate stresses, deformations, and safety factors. Different study types are available for parts and assemblies.

  • Nonlinear Analysis - Analyze complex material behaviours like plasticity, hyperelasticity, contact nonlinearities, large deformations, and more.

  • Dynamic Analysis - Perform time-dependent dynamic simulation with capabilities like modal frequencies, response spectrums, harmonic forces, and transient loads.

  • Thermal Analysis - Conduct thermal studies like steady-state and transient heat transfer, optimize heat exchanger designs, and simulate fluid flows.

  • Optimization - Tools for shape, topology, size, and topology optimization to refine designs for weight, strength, heat transfer, fluids, and other goals.

  • Fatigue Analysis - Assess fatigue life based on loading conditions and material stress-cycle (S-N) curves. Fatigue plots visualize damage.

  • Frequency Analysis - Determine natural frequencies and mode shapes for vibration simulation and design optimization.

  • Motion Analysis - Simulate joint motions, momentum, accelerations, and other kinetics on assemblies.

  • Plastics Analysis - Specialized tools for injection moulding like cooling analysis, predicting warp age, fibre orientation, and optimization.

  • Automated Reporting - Simulation reports can be generated automatically with visualization of results like displacements, factors of safety, and principal stresses.

  • Visualization - Tools like stress plots, deformation plots, iso-surfaces, vectors, streamlines, animations, and charts help interpret analysis results.

  • CAD Integrated - The seamless integration with SolidWorks CAD means no data translation or import/export between programs.

  • Intuitive Interface - Simulation tools are presented in a logical order that matches typical engineering workflows. The interface is designed for ease of use.

SolidWorks Simulation Deployment Type and Implementation

SolidWorks Simulation is installed locally as an integrated add-in to SolidWorks. It also connects to 3DEXPERIENCE Works cloud for additional simulation capabilities. Implementation involves installation on designers' workstations along with appropriate training.

SolidWorks Simulation Customer Support

Technical support options include self-help resources, user forums, and ticketed support. SolidWorks has a network of resellers who can provide localized sales and training support globally. Support resources include documentation, tutorials, training courses and a community of experienced users.

SolidWorks Simulation Integrations

SolidWorks Simulation connects with 3DEXPERIENCE Works, Dassault's cloud-based design platform. It can integrate with PDM and PLM systems like ENOVIA. The CAD integration allows direct analysis of SolidWorks models. Some data exchange with external FEA tools is possible.

SolidWorks Simulation Scripting, Customization and Automation

As SolidWorks users, we found the customization and automation capabilities to be extremely helpful for optimizing our workflow. The built-in tools like macros allowed us to record and replay repetitive tasks with ease. This saved us time and reduced errors caused by manual work.

We were also able to take advantage of the API and Visual Basic for Applications support to develop customized scripts and add-ins. Although we don't have an extensive programming background, we were able to automate complex workflows by leveraging examples and documentation provided by SolidWorks. The open API gave us control to modify and enhance functionality beyond what's available out of the box.

Another feature we benefited from was the equation-driven design tools. By establishing mathematical relationships between parameters, we could quickly update an entire assembly design by changing a few key values. This automation made iterative design work faster and more efficient.

The main downside we experienced was the learning curve required to utilize these customization features. While power users can get a lot of mileage from them, they may be less accessible to users without coding experience. SolidWorks could improve on making automation and customization more intuitive for non-programmers. Overall, these capabilities enabled us to streamline and optimize our design process significantly.

SolidWorks Simulation FAQs:

Is SOLIDWORKS Simulation good?

Yes, SOLIDWORKS Simulation is a robust and user-friendly finite element analysis tool that is well-suited for design engineers needing to validate product performance. Its integration within the SOLIDWORKS CAD environment is a major advantage.

Is SOLIDWORKS flow simulation any good?

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation provides capable computational fluid dynamics capabilities for simulating fluid flows, heat transfer, and aerodynamics. It excels at basic CFD analysis directly tied to CAD models. For advanced simulations, standalone CFD software is better.

What are the disadvantages of SOLIDWORKS Simulation?

The main limitations are slower performance with large complex models, less control over mesh and simulation settings, and reduced accuracy compared to high-end FEA software like ANSYS.

Is Ansys better than SOLIDWORKS Simulation?

ANSYS provides more advanced simulation capabilities, especially for nonlinear physics. But SOLIDWORKS Simulation is much easier to use for basic simulations integrated with CAD. ANSYS is better for experts doing complex analysis.

Is SOLIDWORKS Simulation free?

A limited version called SOLIDWORKS SimulationXpress is included free with SOLIDWORKS CAD licenses. The full SOLIDWORKS Simulation add-ons have yearly subscription fees starting around $995.

What is better than SOLIDWORKS?

For advanced simulations, ANSYS, Abaqus, and Nastran have more capabilities than SOLIDWORKS Simulation. But SOLIDWORKS is better integrated for CAD-tied design validation. For CAD software, some alternatives like Autodesk Inventor or PTC Creo offer similar 3D modelling features.

Solidworks Simulation Alternatives:

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