SimScale has a mission to open up simulation to the masses. Now it’s continuing its democratization strategy at the university level, introducing a program designed to bring students into its cloud-based CAE fold.
Introduced in 2013 as one of the early on-demand, cloud-based CAE offerings, SimScale serves up structural mechanics, fluid dynamics and thermodynamics analysis capabilities via a browser-based platform that is more accessible than traditional CAE tools, encouraging non-experts to make greater use of simulation.
With its new SimScale Academy platform, which offers on-demand courses in engineering simulation along with free access to the software, SimScale is attempting to bring access to simulation software to students early on in the learning process so they become more proficient and comfortable using the technology throughout the design process.
While SimScale currently offers a free community plan, it is targeted at public projects, thus is not well suited for exams and homework where some level of security is required. As a result, SimScale is now offering students a free private account, which can be accessed from a standard PC—not the expensive workstations typically required to run traditional simulation software.
“It’s not that university engineering curriculums lack simulation training, but they rely on one or two software solutions, which are not flexible,” says Netty Zaharia, associate marketing manager at SimScale. One reason for the lack of flexibility is cost, says Zaharia, explaining that traditional CAE software typically requires an investment of up to $40,000 to cover workstation hardware and software licenses.
The other factor is accessibility, as most of the platforms limit students to working with the software from dedicated workstations at an on-site computer lab. “Students can use SimScale from home to do their homework and study from a normal laptop/PC,” Zaharia says. “This is why professors started using SimScale in classrooms, and we want to help them with materials and courses to make it easier to become proficient with our tool.”
Currently, the SimScale Academy offers two courses: The SimScale Biomedical Engineering Workshop and the SimScale CFD Master Class, however the company says more will be added to the platform over time. As a result of its approach, the SimScale Academic program can deliver a complete learning experience to students, who otherwise would have to get access to highly specialized materials, which are difficult to find online, as well as jumpstart a learning process that is difficult to find time for once on the job.
“It is often harder to get started with a new software once on the job,” Zaharia contends. “It requires a month of coaching, professional training and tutorials to become proficient, and many companies don’t have the time.”
In addition to the Academy program, SimScale participates in other efforts to support students. The company is organizing free webinars on a weekly basis, including those that support popular student competitions like the Formula SAE as well as how to apply simulation to drone design, biomedical applications and aeronautics. SimScale is also a sponsor of Formula SAE and Formula Student teams, providing its software to enable more effective designs.
In addition to the public competitions, SimScale is hosting its own contests to encourage student participation in CAE. Its Go with the Flow challenge, for example, invites CFD enthusiasts to showcase their projects to compete for special packages that include SimScale licenses and training.
“We find student competitions a good way to motivate the participants to become proficient with simulation and SimScale and, most importantly, create the best end product,” Zaharia says. “Everything is about learning and that’s our main goal.”
Watch this video to learn how SimScale is looking to empower CAE users.