Modeling And Simulation (MODSIM) With CATIA In The 3DEXPERIENCE – What Is It And Why Does It Make Sense?

MODSIM is a term that many of you may have heard, but what exactly is it? And why is it becoming so important at the world’s biggest engineering organizations?

In this post, we’ll take a look at the paradigm shift that forward-thinking organizations are making towards science-based modeling and simulation. We’ll review the history of modeling and simulation, introduce concepts around MODSIM and, finally, we’ll take a look at where MODSIM can take us in the future.

History Of Modeling And Simulation

The concept of computer modeling (CAD) and computer aided engineering (CAE) are not new. In fact, we’ve been slowly building on these technologies since the 1970s. Given the rapid advancement in the speed and availability of computing, these really took their place in the mass market in the 1990s, enabling engineers to tackle larger and more complex design challenges without the need for physical prototyping – at least on the front end of development. Over the subsequent two or so decades, this capability has snowballed into what we know today, where almost all engineering organizations expect to take advantage of at lease some form of computational modeling and simulation, whether that be structural (FEA), fluid (CFD), electromagnetic (EMag) or one of the many new advancing technologies available.

However, until very recently, these two practices were somewhat disparate or siloed. A design engineer would develop a CAD model (with the hope that the design is fit for purpose) and then pass it over the fence (via email or PLM) to a simulation engineer for analysis. The process of simulation would then take place – usually in another department or even site – and results would be fed back to the designer as to whether the design looks acceptable or not. The goal here being to make iterative improvements with every one of these cycles until a viable design is reached. As you can imagine, the time that this takes and the opportunities for mistakes are both significant – are you using the most up-to-date CAD? Has something changed in another department that affects the design? Are all the requirements communicated effectively?


In the late 2000s, Dassault Systèmes realized that there must be a better way to do things. Luckily, they are the developers of both best-in-class CAD tools (CATIA and SOLIDWORKS) and industry-leading CAE technologies (SIMULIA, DELMIA etc.) currently available, so why not combine them? Well, that is exactly what they did – The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform was born! And at its core… the concept of MODSIM.

Modeling and Simulation in the 3DEXPERIENCE

MODSIM represents a paradigm shift in the way that we think about these processes. It essentially unifies them into one PLM-based activity, meaning there is no longer a distinction between the two. In doing so, barriers and friction are removed since we are no longer passing data over any fences. The model and simulation are fully associated with one another, allowing simulation to directly reference features, parameters and connections within the model. This not only makes it possible to speed up the exploration of design alternatives, but it also eradicates the chances of mistakes, spending days working on outdated CAD data and conflict between teams with seemingly disparate objectives.

With CATIA and SIMULIA at the heart of MODSIM in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, users have access to the same great tools that they have always known and loved, but with the added benefit of unrivalled collaboration. Integrating modeling and simulation directly with the PLM system, the often tedious process of sourcing the correct parts for our simulation model becomes trivial, since we can now synchronize our simulation model with the PLM data, bringing significant efficiency savings over today’s legacy disconnected systems.

Modeling and Simulation in the 3DEXPERIENCE

MODSIM is, of course, part of an overall strategy to verify that the product meets or exceeds its requirements and target KPIs. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform has capabilities not only to create and perform the simulations but also to manage the testing verification process, linking the simulations with the product requirements and KPIs. This means linking data with simulation and physical test plans to deliver the verification results in a timely manner. In cases where these verifications raise issues, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can help manage these change requests and the overall product delivery plans and milestones – all from the single integrated environment.

Automation And Democratization

Modeling and Simulation in the 3DEXPERIENCE

In the modern era, it is not enough just to have the latest and greatest modeling and simulation tools. The most efficient organizations are now taking advantage of, firstly, automation, in which expert simulation professionals utilize the tools within the 3DEXPERIENCE to automate repetitive tasks and create out-of-the-box solutions that can be employed on a large scale with little expertise required. This leads to democratization, meaning designers and other stakeholders have the ability to perform more basic and repetitive simulations themselves, leaving the experts to carry out more advanced analyses and develop new methodologies, pushing the envelope and advancing the organization’s product development capabilities.

Final Thoughts

MODSIM in the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is revolutionizing the way that forward-thinking organizations do business. With the benefit of a fully integrated modeling and simulation workflow, time is saved, mistakes are reduced and teams can be utilized in a much more efficient way.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of MODSIM within your own company, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Fidelis today to learn more!

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