Leveraging SolidWorks Simulation 2015’s new Shell Manager tool

Shell Manager tool drastically cuts shell definition and modification time.

0 September 29, 2014
by By David Torick, Hawk Ridge Systems

14-Sept-SolidWorks-Hawkridge-sim-shell-manager-1Fall is always a great time of year. Football is in full swing, the World Series is around the corner, there will be snow in the mountains soon, and, of course, new features in SOLIDWORKS Simulation are unveiled.

This year, SOLIDWORKS 2015 has a new tool called Shell Manager, which will drastically reduce the time it takes to define shells and simplify the modification of them in your next simulation. Shells are ideal for the analysis of high aspect ratio parts, like sheet metal, or components that have one dimension (i.e. thickness) that is significantly smaller than the other two.

It seems like just yesterday that SOLIDWORKS 2013 provided the ability to Render Shell Thickness in 3D, improving the visualization of results during post-processing. Earlier this year in our blog post, “Render Shell Thickness in SOLIDWORKS Simulation”, we discussed this enhancement as well as some basics of using shell elements in an analysis, a nice resource to review if needed. If you have already been using shells, or perhaps found them too tedious to setup in an analysis, you will want to read on to learn more about the Shell Manager.

I will be using the Shell Manager anytime I have more than a couple of shells in an analysis. The on-screen feedback and single location to control many properties of my shell definition is a welcome change from having to select each shell individually if changes are required.

Now, I only have to right click on a body or previously defined shell in the Simulation Tree and choose to access the Shell Manager tool. I can enter and/or modify the definition using the property manager or I can input parameters in tabular form at the bottom of the screen. All of the same shell definitions are available through the new tool — such as type, thickness and offset — but now I can also easily define the material in the same interface.


As I create more and more shells in my model, I can always check to ensure my definitions are accurate using the Shell Manager. The Preview Offset allows me to verify that the shells accurately represent my 3D model, while the “Color by:” choices of “Thickness” and “Material” allow for on-screen visual feedback to show which material is used on which shells or if all of my cross-member shells are the proper thickness.


The increased feedback and input options are great during shell definition, but the real time-saver is when I have design changes that I want to quickly implement in my analysis. I can now group shells with the same definition together using Shell Groups. This provides one location where I can change the type, material, and thickness of multiple shells with one dialogue box instead of modifying each individual shell.

In my example, I have 3 Shell Groups to modify instead of the 7 individual shells – imagine the time-savings if I had 30 shells in my model that are now in just 3 Shell Groups. An awesome efficiency improvement for SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2015. Bring on the design changes; I am ready!


For more SolidWorks tips and tricks, check outthe Hawk Ridge Blog.

david torick-avatarDavid Torick is an Applications Engineer with Hawk Ridge Systems who earned his SolidWorks Expert Certification in 2013, and has presented at many user groups in Edmonton, AB. David frequently instructs training courses in SolidWorks and SolidWorks Simulation.

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