SFE Portfolio

Powerful tools for a simulation-driven design process

Welcome to CATIA | SFE

Today, several global developments impact product design and engineering at the same time and drive major transformations in transportation & mobility as well as in other industries.

Higher environmental standards lead businesses and consumers to reconsider and to extend their priorities. New energy and engine technologies, the digitalization of development, the products themselves and progress in automation present a new and ever evolving context for virtual product definition, design and testing. At the same time market globalization is progressing, customization and safety standards keep constantly growing.

Among the major drivers for the design of body structures are

  • Reduction of CO2 emissions and environmental footprint
  • Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrid & Fuel Cell Vehicles
  • Product digitalization
  • Automated driving
  • Growing safety requirements
  • Product customization on a global market
  • Extension of market share
  • Changing geopolitical environment

The 3DEXPERIENCE empowers engineers, scientists, managers and entire companies to navigate this future. The CATIA | SFE Portfolio provides the parametric geometry capabilities for a high-performance science-based process.

Key Challenges

Product development in automotive, aerospace, trucks, trains and related areas today is affected by tremendous and transforming technical challenges of the market.  
CAE teams face growing and often competing demands from a number of disciplines on a daily basis. They are in need of highly integrated software tools that allow the assessment of many crucial attributes of conceptual body structures. The performance in passive safety scenarios, weight, vibrational modes, torsion, stiffness for comfort and driving performance are among them. Highest quality has to be achieved for a growing number of design alternatives in short cycle times.             

  • New structural layouts & design architectures
  • Continued weight reduction
  • Crashworthiness, drivability & comfort
  • Study of many concept variants
  • BIW Platform Approach

To reach the seamless, reliable development, repeated simulations have to be carried out at an early stage of the process, even when many characteristics of the product are still unknown.

Value Proposition

Fast geometry creation and re-usage

CAE and CAD teams in the automotive industry appreciate the fast creation, parametric flexibility and re-usage value of their CATIA | SFE CONCEPT model libraries. That strongly helps in order to have a quick first model representing the project status very early in the process.

Furthermore, CATIA | SFE CONCEPT provides this geometry status as finite element mesh right away, that allows to get feedback of the body structure performance very early as well.

Multi-discipline simulation

At any stage CATIA | SFE CONCEPT is able to create a ready-to-simulate FE mesh including the entire connectivity and load case definitions at a click of a button. The mesh size, quality criteria, the connection representations and other parameters are under full control of the user. This way the FE simulation deck can be created for all required disciplines including crash, NVH and durability derived from a single geometry model.

SIMULIA Abaqus has been established as the ideal partner for CATIA | SFE CONCEPT. In addition, industrial standard finite element solvers like ANSYS, LS-DYNA, NASTRAN, PAM-CRASH, PERMAS or RADIOSS are also supported.

In-depth study for many design alternatives

Model components can be re-assembled, partial models can be combined automatically with existing FE simulation models. The way topologies, surface shape, material and connection attributes are defined in CATIA | SFE CONCEPT allows them to freely adjust their models at any time. This works for single components as well as for entire bodies structures.

Choosing the right combination of tools for their own environment and their own challenges, engineers go beyond the mere post-hoc evaluation of the quality of their product to study the performance of their product in-depth. They use CATIA | SFE CONCEPT to formulate material thicknesses alternatives, shape modifications of section profiles, the relative position of structural components and the existence of optional parts in the structure as variables in an optimization task. The values of these variables – and thus the form of their models – can be controlled conveniently from an MS Excel table.

A fully automated process

Then it is only a small step to the fully automatic process. CATIA | SFE CONCEPT can be coupled to the typical software products for process automation like SIMULIA Process Composer, SIMULIA Isight, LS-Opt, Optimus, ModeFrontier, OptiSlang or Heeds.

The pre-defined variables and their value ranges are imported in the process automation software and managed from there.  This way, an optimization process can be fully automated and comparison of model variations can be run in batch mode "overnight" and deliver evaluations of any number of design variations.

The process automation software, e.g. SIMULIA Process Composer, controls the process and decides for which variable values the next simulation must be evaluated.
These values are then handed over to CATIA | SFE CONCEPT where the geometry model is adjusted accordingly and the ready-to-simulate FE model including the associativity and material information is created.
This FE model is sent to the finite element solver, e.g. to SIMULIA Abaqus, for simulation – and the result in turn is evaluated again by the optimizer software.

Finally, including CATIA | SFE AKUSMOD, a tool for interior acoustics, into such an automatic process will enable a vibro-acoustic optimization process.

CATIA | SFE Portfolio Overview

CATIA | SFE CONCEPT is a leading solution for early phase performance-driven conceptual design. CAE and CAD teams in body structure design invest in CATIA | SFE CONCEPT to create a conceptual geometry quickly and early in the process. They keep modifying it conveniently to study many variants and they create ready-to-run FE simulation models from the geometry on the fly. Read more.

CATIA | SFE AKUSMOD is a powerful tool for setup and evaluation of interior acoustic simulations in passenger vehicle bodies. CATIA | SFE AKUSMOD puts you into a position to check and to improve acoustics/NVH in an early stage by identifying what parts of the vehicle body contribute to noise emission and vibration. Read more.



Benefit from the full power of the 3DEXPERIENCE today. Use 3DEXPERIENCE CATIA data to drive your parametrical SFE CONCEPT geometry. Then leverage the full power of the 3DEXPERIENCE SIMULIA portfolio with the ready-to-run simulation data created in SFE CONCEPT. Read more.



Our CATIA | SFE Center of Excellence team covers a wide variety of expertise in conceptual design, simulation, process automation, project management and enablement. Read more.

2019 Worldwide CATIA | SFE conference

In September, leading automotive OEMs and key players from the transportation and mobility and other industries gathered for the 3rd CATIA | SFE worldwide conference at the Vélizy DS Campus. Their goal is to establish, improve and integrate their design and simulation processes enabled by CATIA | SFE CONCEPT® solutions. In-depth exchanges between users, experts and with the R&D teams of CATIA & SIMULIA have made these two days very enriching. These solutions are being incorporated into the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and a live demonstration of it was an exciting and well appreciated highlight. On this occasion, Philippe Laufer, CATIA Brand CEO shared the CATIA vision with the participants.

Enjoy the video and see you at the next WW CATIA | SFE conference in 2020!

The combined SFE and Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform capabilities will lead to complete coverage of the entire value chain for the transportation & mobility industry. From quick modeling to post processing analysis, to product performance simulation and shape optimization, the full design process is integrated.

Bernard Charlès Vice-Chairman & CEO, Dassault Systèmes