While at the media Summit in San Francisco, I large amount of my focus was on simulation technology. Mike Smell, Technical Consultant for Simulation at Autodesk, delivered a presentation on the 2013 enhancements in Autodesk Simulation Mechanical, and what has transpired in the development that fits within the company’s ‘Fast, Accurate, and Flexible’ focus.

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical 2013

Here are the details:


The Simulation Mechanical workflow has been completely overhauled in 2013.

Meshing Geometry Improvements

Meshing was overhauled throughout to deliver much better quality, speed, and mesh performance. Autodesk indicates that users should experience 3-4 TIMES better performance that they have been accustomed to during model preparation. Surface meshing enhancements include:

  • Replacing the geometry kernel with the Autodesk Shape Manager delivers >2x faster imports.
  • Improved surface mesh sizing function

Solid meshing parallelized

Solid meshing has been parallelized in order to leverage multi-core processors. Separate parts are meshed in parallel through as many free cores as users can provided. Thank the Lord, it’s about time!!

Solution time

Memory management, Disk I/O, and Non-linear solution integration were tweaked to deliver 2x better solving performance throughout the array of analysis types.

Ease of Use

The simulation team has worked hard to enhance Simulation 2013 in order to make the product easier to use, less redundant, and more productive overall.

  • Surface assembly support improves Inventor interoperability
  • Inventor-like workflows are included in setup process – Inventor simulation users will have much easier transition to Autodesk Simulation
  • Browser can be unpinned
  • On-the-fly selection type and entity change
  • Direct import of additional file formats by the Inventor Server – Catia, Soldworks, JT, Parasolid, ProE, etc.
  • Entity Grouping – New feature allows surfaces, lines, etc, to be grouped

Contact analysis between grouped entities

Grouped entities can now be analyzed as a single half of a contact analysis, rather than each individual entity. Setup is dramatically improved for components like gears where each tooth surface had to be paired previously. Now simply create a group for each gear’s surfaces, and then create a single contact analysis pair using those entity groups. The analysis will make the remaining determinations..

Multiple time zones in non-linear analysis

Users can now develop multiple time zones in non-linear analysis, permitting more time steps where the solution is more complex, and fewer where it is not. This should provide huge boost to solution efficiency.

Impact plane improvements

Impact plane interaction improved in 2013, including visual feedback in the setup environment, as well as being able to define that in multiple orientations.


Showcase Interoperability

One-click export posts results to Autodesk Showcase. Allows results to be overlaid onto components in the showcase environment. Nice.

Publisher support

Using the fbx file export format, users can include the analysis results in Autodesk Inventor Publisher documentation, which can then be sent out through all of its documentation product support, including 3D PDF and mobile Publisher.


Mike’s information was well delivered and fast paced. I just wish I was able to get you more snapshots of the “what if we build it, what if we drop it, what if we destroy it?” demonstration.

The enhancements in 2013 seem to be solid, user experience improvements. I am quite eager so see the impact plane enhancements and the grouped entity solutions in contact pair analysis. I shouldn’t leave out the Showcase interoperability. That seems like it will be hot too.

Overall I think that these improvements offer a valuable reason for the version upgrade or new product adoption. I’ll let you know more when I get ahold of the released product. 🙂