COSMOSWorks 2005

31 Oct, 2004 By: Jeffrey Rowe

Comprehensive analysis features for SolidWorks.

COSMOSWorks is a design analysis automation application integrated into SolidWorks. It employs the finite element method for performing FEA (finite element analysis). It simulates the working conditions of SolidWorks models and predicts their physical behavior.

This version of COSMOSWorks has something for just about everyone. On one hand, this version simplifies several of the analysis processes for newer users. On the other hand, several analysis capabilities are expanded, which should appeal to more experienced users. This version of COSMOSWorks also exhibits a tighter integration and higher degree of interaction with SolidWorks.

When installed, COSMOSWorks adds its own menu heading name at the top of the SolidWorks screen, as well as its own tab at the top of the SolidWorks FeatureManager design tree panel. Users can add a COSMOSWorks toolbar to the SolidWorks window. COSMOSWorks has its own Help system separate from SolidWorks' Help system, handy for locating information specific to COSMOSWorks.

 Figure 1. The new drop test capability in COSMOSWorks 2005 produced this stress distribution report for a camera dropped  from a height of 5.
Figure 1. The new drop test capability in COSMOSWorks 2005 produced this stress distribution report for a camera dropped from a height of 5.

Like SolidWorks, COSMOSWorks 2005 is available in several different configurations for specific types of analysis. For this review, I looked at COSMOSWorks Professional, which performs the following analyses, or study types in COSMOSWorks vernacular: linear stress, frequency, buckling, thermal, and drop test.

Analysis studies are organized in the COSMOSWorks Manager tree, which is analogous to the FeatureManager tree in SolidWorks. It creates a folder for each study, and study parameters reside in subfolders. Menus can also be used to accomplish all of this, but the tree is much more visual and intuitive—a good thing for new users.

For AutoCAD Users
For AutoCAD Users

Regardless of the study type, all analyses follow the same basic steps:

  • 1. Define the analysis type and options.
  • 2. Define study parameters for their impact on a design.
  • 3. Define material properties (skip this step if material properties were defined in SolidWorks).
  • 4. Specify restraints and loads.
  • 5. Mesh the model (divide it into small elements for analysis).
  • 6. Define as many as 100 what-if design scenarios.
  • 7. Run the study or selected design scenarios.
  • 8. View and compare the results.

Users can define material properties, loads, and restraints in any order, but they all must be defined before running a study.

Of the various types of analysis that COSMOSWorks 2005 performs, I found the most interesting one to be the new drop test (figure 1), especially for an analysis product in this price range. This test helps users design products that survive being dropped from a specified height or impacting a planar surface at a specified velocity.

cosmosworks 2005 professional
cosmosworks 2005 professional

Setting up a drop test study involves defining the drop height, the acceleration of gravity, and the orientation of the impact plane. No rotations of the model can be considered until the initial impact occurs. Analysis results can be viewed as contour plots of stress, displacement, and strains for all locations on a model, or at preselected locations such as vertices and reference points.

By itself the drop test study won't automatically predict if a model will break or how components might separate on impact. Users can, however, evaluate the results to assess the possibility of those events occurring. For example, they can compare the maximum stresses with allowable values for predicting material failure.

COSMOSWorks 2005 is a capable analysis tool that works well in tandem with SolidWorks. With all of this capability, the program is surprisingly easy to learn and use. Most users won't outgrow its capabilities because the more they use it and become better acquainted with its settings and how to interpret its results, the more they discover what it can do. Highly Recommended.

ART (ADVANCED RELATIONAL TECHNOLOGY) continues to develop and improve its CAD application—Chief Architect 9.5—aimed at residential designers and builders. Chief Architect has been around for more than 10 years and has earned a solid reputation among its target group.

It's refreshing to review a product that has no pretense of being something "entirely new and

Jeffrey Rowe is an independent mechanical design and technical communications consultant. With offices in Colorado and Michigan, he can be reached at 719.539.8549 or

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