Contact Sets - New in SolidWorks Simulation 2016
When a designer is putting together an assembly there may be a few missed mates which will cause the part to be free and unrestrained. Usually the designer will need to go back and find the missing mate to fully restrain the assembly. This is a similar concept to contact sets in simulation where a designer must define contact sets or the connection conditions between elements. This was typically a difficult task that involved looking through the model to find the missing contact set.
Consider a crane tower as shown:
We will setup a simulation study for this crane tower where it is fixed on the ground and experiencing horizontal and vertical loads at the top.
Before running the study, the designer now has a new tool to help check for free moving bodies. This tool is found by right clicking Connections then selecting “Find Underconstrained Bodies”
With the new tool selected, the designer may use the tool by selecting “calculate”. This allows the software to run a simplified analysis to find whether there are under-restrained bodies.
The results return by isolating and clearly highlighting bodies of interest and showing all modes in which it is under-constrained. In this case, Body 1 is shown as free floating and can move in every direction.
This is a problem for the simulation analysis.
Upon closer inspection it was determined that this crane tower was originally modeled with a small gap between the elements to account for welding and tolerances.
Usually the designer would need to create individual contact sets to account for the gap, however also new to SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION 2016 is the ability to accommodate small gaps. This option is found under Connections> Component Contacts > Global Contact > Edit definition
Under the component contact option, the designer now has the ability to include “Non-touching faces” by selecting a gap size to treat as bonded.
This is one more tool to help designers be more efficient and effective when using SolidWorks Simulation by spending less time finding missing contact sets and more time analyzing the results.