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Design simulation

Design simulation helps manufacturers verify and validate the intended function of a product under development in earlier stages of design. Computer-aided design (CAD) designers can integrate simulation to understand how design changes impact performance immediately.

What is design simulation?

Design simulation helps manufacturers verify and validate the intended function of a product under development in earlier stages of design. CAD designers can integrate design simulation to immediately understand how design changes impact performance.

Design simulation helps manufacturers verify and validate the intended function of a product under development, as well as the manufacturability of the product. The word “simulation” is often used as the generic term for computer-aided engineering (CAE). Several design simulation approaches have become standard components of product development in many industries, and they continue to grow in importance as inexpensive, faster computers and affordable, easy-to-use design simulation software allow users to address new technologies and applications.

Simulation models are mathematical equations representing the system's behavior in a physical domain of interest. The complexity of mathematics depends on the availability of data and varies in the function of the application and the design stage.

In early development, typically more simple system representations use analytical assumptions and verify the interaction between several physical aspects on a concept level. In late development stages, typically very complex, application-specific models are used for validation and refinement. The applications can cover aspects such as structural behavior, acoustics, structural dynamics, thermal and flow analysis, fuel economy, control development and much more.

Related products: NX | Solid Edge | Zel X | Simcenter FLOEFD

Blog detailing 2023 release Version 2306 of Simcenter FLOEFD, CAD embedded Computational Fluid Dynamics software

Uncover the benefits

Reduce product development costs and time by avoiding recurrent physical prototype testing and improving quality.

Increase performance

Design simulation helps you design more robust parts and products that meet or exceed performance requirements.

Time reduction

Design simulation helps give designers more immediate feedback on how their part will perform so they can iterate on designs faster.

Cost reduction

Design simulation helps reduce costs and increases design efficiency by removing unnecessary material and weight and reducing prototypes.

Features of design simulation

Fluid flow simulation in a piston valve with Simcenter FLOEFD for NX

Virtual testing and validation

Design simulation can include a wide range of analyses that virtually test the behavior of a product under various operating and environmental conditions. Unlike trial-and-error, a smart simulation process allows targeted implementation of design choices in various stages.

Two men work on a machine part. One person is using Simcenter simulation and test software on a laptop while the other inspects the part.


It includes the simulation of forming, stamping, machining and other processes to determine the design's manufacturability, and the effect of design changes on the manufacturing method.

An engineer looking at a bike design simulation on a screen.

Models vs. physical prototypes

Simulation models offer more flexibility in the product development process than physical prototypes. Creating design alternatives requires only a few button clicks, and testing them does not require a complicated setup.

CAD-integrated simulation

By integrating simulation tools into the same environment that designers use every day, designers can more easily use simulation to guide their design choices as well as initially validate design performance. Siemens offers CAD-integrated simulation solutions in each of these design tools.


With NX CAD, you no longer have to use disparate applications and software tools for simulation in product design and validation. You can perform analysis and CAE early in the design process with built-in CAD-integrated simulation capabilities:

Product design guidance:

  • NX Topology Optimizer: Use structural simulation to generate innovative conceptual geometry
  • NX Performance Predictor: Immediate structural simulation results that update as you change geometry

Design validation:

  • NX Design Simulation: Basic FE-based simulation for linear statics, modal, buckling and thermal analysis
  • NX Motion: Multibody dynamics simulation to understand how your assemblies will move and determine forces needed for things like motor sizing
  • NX Animation Designer: Optimize assembly/disassembly sequencing with color-coded timeline
  • Simcenter FLOEFD for NX: Easy-to-use fluid flow and heat transfer simulation

Manufacturing simulation:

  • NX Molded Part Validation: Evaluate part models for moldability and perform basic filling simulation
  • NX EasyFill Analysis: Evaluate the injection molding process, which can influence part quality

Explore NX

Solid Edge

From digital validation of part and assembly designs and finite element analysis to fully embedded computational fluid dynamics, Solid Edge provides robust simulation capabilities to suit your needs:

  • Solid Edge Simulation: Digitally validate part and assembly designs with built-in finite element analysis (FEA)
  • Simcenter FLOEFD for Solid Edge: Simulate product performance and reliability for fluid flow, heat transfer and electromagnetic effects
  • Simcenter Flomaster for Solid Edge: Model, compute and visualize flow velocity, temperature and pressure drop in pipe works in a 1D environment

Explore Solid Edge

Zel X

Begin your digital transformation journey with Zel X, an integrated collection of tools for collaboration, mechanical design, simulation, manufacturing and operations. With an affordable, easy-to-use, browser-based app, your small business can access the features you need, when you need them.

  • Zel X Advanced: Test and validate designs before they are built

Explore Zel X

Try design simulation software for free

A stress solution result for a trim cover design from a Stress Wizard in NX CAD. The structural analysis colors range on a "heat map" from red to blue.

NX design simulation trial

  • Shorten development and reduce costs by performing simulation directly within the NX design environment
  • Predict product behavior for structural, thermal, and motion performance during design
  • Rapidly iterate designs to quickly understand the impact of design changes on product performance

Learn more


On-demand webinar | Simulation process and data management for ship design

On-demand webinar | Motion simulation for designers


Podcast | Advancing electric motor design and simulation


White paper | Thermal analysis in machine design with a CAD-embedded CFD solution

White paper | How to increase ship design productivity with a simulation-driven approach