Dassault Systemes’ plans for their 3DEXPERIENCE platform has implications for SIMULIA products. This post takes a hard look at what it all means.

Simulation FEA Hyperelastic Seal

What does 3DEXPERIENCE mean for SIMULIA?


There’s little doubt that Dassault Systemes’ plans for the 3DEXPERIENCE platform will have sweeping changes for many of their products. As I’ve written before, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform isn’t just some vision, it will be an actual software application that will be basis of all future Dassault Systemes products. The appropriate next question is simple: what does it mean for some of those products?

In this post, we’ll take a look at what it means for the SIMULIA. If you need some background on what the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is all about, you canget up to date in this post. Let’s get started.

SIMULIA Capabilities through the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

Obviously the SIMULIA products like ABAQUS and iSight are being updated with new simulation specific functionality, like improving solve times, the creation and modification of FEA meshes and multi-physics coupling, all the time. Rest assured that Dassault Systemes will continue to invest heavily, perhaps even more heavily, in those areas. However, when it comes to 3DEXPERIENCE provided capabilities, the areas outside of core simulation functionality will be affected more. And interestingly, those improvements may well prove to be just as impactful, maybe moreso in some cases, that improvements to core simulation functionality.

User Interface and Interactions

Let’s start by describing some of the changes that will affect how users interact with the software. At the top left of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform software application, there will be something called the compass. This circular item will have four major buttons, one at each of the north, east, south and west directions like an actual compass. These separate buttons provide access to different apps. Here’s the breakdown of what goes where.

  • 3D – Represents 3D modeling. Includes CATIA and Solidworks.
  • V+R – Represents virtual and reality simulations. Includes SIMULIA and DELMIA.
  • (New symbol, no text) – Represents social and collaboration activies. Includes 3DSWYM.
  • Ii – Represents information Intelligence. Includes EXALEAD and other technologies.

Which leads us to have this user interface item behaves.

New and More Consistent Functionality

Another reality for users of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is that they will start seeing new functionality pop up quickly. This will be the result of more shared functionality between Dassault Systemes brands.

There well be new apps that will be available that offer new functionality. For SIMULIA, I expect there will be a simulation preparation app that takes some of the CATIA and Solidworks geometry manipulation capabilities and uses it for simulation abstraction and simplification. There likely be a simulation visualization app that take cutting planes and other cross sectioning functionality from CATIA and Solidworks and marries it with ABAQUS results viewing functionality.

I know. I know. I haven’t delved into really specific functionality as it relates to simulation. But how these general 3DEXPERIENCE capabilities are applied to that space is interesting, to say the least.

Commentary and Analysis

OK. We now have a better feel for what changes will be coming for SIMULIA products with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. What does it all mean? There’s a concept that will be utilized in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform that is crucial to answer that question. That is skinning apps.

The following tweets are a continuation of the ones above. Read them in order.

And here it gets very interesting. When an engineering organization pursues a simulation driven design initiative, different roles very frequently end up using different software applications. Simulation analysts use the high end software that they can use to push the boundaries of realistically predicting the performance of the company’s products. Engineers might use a simplified and easier to use simulation application that lets them get directional feedback, often embedded within CAD software applications, on performance so they can make design decisions. Engineering managers want to be able to look at results in varying degrees of detail. Practically no software provide today offers a single suite of simulation applications that span all of those needs in an integrated fashion.

The advantage of integrating SIMULIA’s products into the 3DEXPERIENCE platform speaks to that issue. All three of those roles can work off a single set of simulation models and results (i.e. the underlying data). Yet each will use different apps in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Those apps will be tailored to the needs and skillets of each role. The importance of this approach comes to light in a few examples. Follow along.

  • As an engineer needs to be mentored on how to run a simulation, the simulation analyst doesn’t have to jump into an unfamiliar set of simulation capabilities embedded with CAD. Instead, they just bring up the engineer’s simulation model in the analyst’s app. There is no translation required. The analyst stays in their familiar app. They just have more functionality available to them. Same exact data, different user interfaces tailored to the needs of each user.
  • Likewise, when an engineering manager wants to review results from a simulation in a 3DEXPERIENCE platform app, they aren’t looking at a static document with images. They actually view the exact same results that the simulation analyst and the engineer can see. They can interactively interrogate the results as well. However, they don’t have to learn some complicated new specialized software application. The simulation results also don’t have to be exported or published into some intermediate format. Again, same exact data, different user interfaces tailored to the needs of each user.

In my eyes, that is a powerful advantage. This skinning of apps for role accessibility yet still accessing the same fundamental data underneath is a powerful enabler for simulation across the engineering organization.

Summary and Questions

This has been a complicated topic. Let’s recap now.

  • SIMULIA’s Abaqus and iSight product capabilities will be integrated into Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
  • The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a software application providing functionality across all of Dassault Systemes products. The different products can be accessed through the compass in the top left corner of the application.
  • Capabilities will be shared across brands. SIMULIA customers will start seeing apps pop up for things like simulation preparation and simulation visualization, which will both likely use CATIA and Solidworks functionality.
  • Apps in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform working on the same underlying data or models can be skinned differently, providing access to different roles in the organization.
  • For simulation, this could include different apps for simulation analysts, engineers and engineering managers. Each would work off the same simulation model and results. Yet they would be presented with interfaces appropriate to their level of software knowledge and skills.
  • This can enable more collaboration amongst the roles and deeper understanding of simulation results.

So there you go. Those are my first thoughts on what the 3DEXPERIENCE platform will mean for the SIMULIA brand. Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Leave them in the comments section!

Take care. Talk soon. And thanks for reading.

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