SOLIDWORKS 2016 Simulation Motion Tips

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Kansas City SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting. The presentation that night was on Simulation Motion 101 and was given to us by Hari Padmanabhan from SOLIDWORKS. Hari is a R&D Application Definition Manager for this product and many others.

His presentation gave us some good starting points and things to watch out for along the way when setting up a Motion Simulation in SOLIDWORKS Premium.


The first Tip was that Simulation Motion assumes all parts to be rigid during the simulation, meaning that during contacts, no deformations will take place.

He also suggested that you should run a gravity motion to test for un-mated components. Basically if you see some parts fly out into space, you don't have the items mated correctly in SOLIDWORKS.

There are 3 types of motion in SOLIDWORKS.


They are:

  1. Animation which is part of all versions of SOLIDWORKS and allows you to do quick animations for exploded views and rotating camera angles
  2. Basic Motion is also part of every version of SOLIDWORKS and is good to show basic contacts between models. No forces are being calculated, but this does show impact or contacts of moving models.
  3. Motion Analysis is part of SOLIDWORKS Premium and Simulation Professional which allows you to perform physical simulations on moving components. This type of motion supports solid bodies only, and supports Kinematics (Zero degrees of freedom) and Dynamic (more than 1 degree of freedom) motion studies.


We were able to see some examples of various studies that had been created and Hari closed with some final tips for making a motion friendly assembly:

  1. Always have 1 fixed model or part
  2. Fix (f) as many models that don't need to move as possible
  3. Create mates as close to real life as you can (hinge mates for concentric)
  4. Use rigid not flexible assemblies
  5. Use rigid groups in the motion study
    1. Less equations
    2. Faster to solve
    3. Less redundancies

I hope this helps answer some of your questions with Simulation Motion and encourages you to try your hand at this type of analysis in the future.  Also, here is a link to Hari's presentation files and an audio recording of the actual presentation: SOLIDWORKS Motion.


Thank you,

Brian Reel

CATI Field Technical Services Manager

Computer Aided Technology

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