SIMULIA Community News

October 2015: The Journey from Solve to Innovate

SIMPACK: Multibody Simulation and Working with SIMULIA

By Roger Keene, VP, SIMULIA Worldwide Operations


Dassault Systèmes is, at its heart, a technology company. SIMULIA aims to provide state-of-the-art simulation technology that our customers can confidently use in a production environment. We advance that technology in three ways. First, we continually develop our existing products, adding new features, improving performance and making them easier to use. Second, we broaden our offerings by acquiring companies that take us into new areas of simulation.

Finally, we partner with companies that have products and technology that complement what we provide. In each case, we are always looking to provide our users with the best and latest technology. A case in point is SIMPACK, which was acquired by Dassault Systèmes in July 2014. SIMPACK provides the best, most robust, multibody simulation (MBS) technology available. It can routinely solve problems that other MBS products struggle with. It offers the capability to solve SIMPACK models in real-time, allowing, for example, an automotive engineer to adjust suspension parameters in the model and get immediate feedback on the change in ride and handling using a driving simulator.

SIMPACK models are typically much smaller than FEA models, between 50 and 2000 degrees of freedom with a frequency range of 0 to 10kHz. SIMPACK uses relative coordinates to assemble the system of equations, whereas most other MBS products (and Abaqus models using connectors) use absolute coordinates. While this makes it more complex to develop the equations, it results in far fewer equations overall and hence significantly reduced run times and greater robustness and accuracy. The matrices that SIMPACK solves are dense, unlike the sparse matrices that Abaqus generates. This means that the solvers in Abaqus and SIMPACK are very different, each highly tuned to the types of equations being solved.

SIMPACK complements the rest of the SIMULIA portfolio. Any part in a system model can be made flexible using an Abaqus superelement so the fidelity of the model can easily be increased as the design matures. Loads determined using SIMPACK can drive an Abaqus simulation and fe-safe can calculate the durability of the components. Isight can automate and optimize SIMPACK workflows, CATIA Systems/Dymola can be used for controls, hydraulics and non-mechanical aspects of the system model, and the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform can be used to manage all the SIMPACK data.

Future releases of our products will significantly increase this interoperability. However, SIMPACK will continue to be open using flexible bodies from other FEA tools, controls from Matlab/Simulink, and tire models like F-Tire and CD-Tire, for example.

SIMPACK is particularly strong in three main industries. In the automotive industry, it is widely used to simulate vehicle ride and handling, NVH and driveline as well as engine dynamics. SIMPACK is the de-facto standard for systems simulation in the rail industry and, more recently, SIMPACK has been used extensively to model wind turbines. SIMPACK contains functionality specific to these applications such as models for bearings, gears, belt drives and tires.

The recent SCC reminded me that SIMULIA users like to push the boundaries—using our tools in novel and innovative ways. Great support by skilled technical specialists has therefore always been a key part of the SIMULIA user’s experience. SIMPACK complements this with highly skilled teams in France, Germany, Japan, U.K. and U.S.A. that work closely with customers to ensure that they get the best out of the SIMPACK software.

Integration of SIMPACK into SIMULIA is well underway and will be complete in 2016. Today SIMPACK continues to be sold and supported by the existing SIMPACK organization. In the first half of 2016, the Dassault Systèmes sales teams will take over the commercial aspects of the customer relationship, allowing the SIMPACK experts to focus on support, training and services. We will also add SIMPACK expertise to our Centers of Excellence in countries where SIMPACK doesn’t currently have employees.

SIMPACK is a great addition to the SIMULIA product portfolio and an important part of our multiscale–multiphysics strategy. If you aren't yet familiar with SIMPACK, I encourage you to try it soon.