ANSYS Maxwell: Building a Magnetic Gear Model

In this video, PADT’s Kang Li steps users through the process of building and running a magnetic gear from scratch in Ansys Maxwell. The model shows both standard magnets and a Halbach array.

An Ansys Licensing Tip – ANSYSLMD_LICENSE_FILE

Most Ansys users make use of floating licensing setups, and I would say the majority of those actually make use of licenses that are hosted nonlocally but on their network. Within this licensing scheme, there are quite a few different tools and utilities that we can use to specify where we pull our licenses, too. One of the methods that is making a comeback (in my recent experience) as far as success in troubleshooting and overall reliability is specifying the environment variable ANSYSLMD_LICENSE_FILE.

This variable allows you to point directly towards one or more license servers using a port@address definition for the FlexNet port. With just this defined, the interconnect port will default to 2325, but if your server setup requires another interconnect port then you can also specify this using the ANSYSLI_SERVERS environment variable with the same format.

The downside is that this is a completely separate license server specification from the typical ansyslmd.ini approach, so any values specified this way will not be visible in the “Ansys Client License Settings” utility. On the upside, this is a completely separate license server specification! Meaning, if there are permission issues associated with ansyslmd.ini, or the other license utilities experienced some unknown errors on installation, this may be able to circumvent those issues entirely.

Also, for more advanced setups this can be used to assign specific license servers to individual users on a machine or to potentially help with controlling the priority of license access if multiple license servers are present. Anyway, this may be worth looking into if you encounter issues with client-side licensing!

Mechanical Updates in Ansys 2021 R2: External Models, Composites & Meshing – Webinar

Ansys Mechanical delivers features to enable faster simulations, easier workflows, journaling, scripting and product integrations that offer more solver capabilities. 

With the Ansys suite of tools, engineers can perform finite element analyses (FEA), customize and automate solutions for structural mechanics challenges and analyze multiple design scenarios. By using this software early in the design cycle, businesses can save costs, reduce the number of design cycles and bring products to market faster.

Join PADT’s Lead mechanical engineer Doug Oatis to discover the new features that have been added to Ansys Mechanical in the first webinar covering the 2021 R2 release.

Highlights include unlimited modeling possibilities with journaling and scripting in the Mechanical interface and increased meshing efficiency and quality for shell meshing, among many others.

Register Here

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All Things Ansys 092: Recap of Ansys 2021 R1 & Beyond


Published on: July 12th, 2021
With: Eric Miller, Tom Chadwick, Aleksandr Gafarov, Joe Woodward, Ted Harris, Doug Oatis & Josh Stout

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by members of the simulation support team to recap Ansys 2021 R1 and discuss expectations and predictions for 2021 R2.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at we would love to hear from you!



Welcome to a New Era in Electronics Reliability Simulation

Simulation itself is no longer a new concept in engineering, but individual fields, applications, and physics are continually improved upon and integrated into the toolbox that is an engineer’s arsenal. Many times, these are incremental additions to a particular solver’s capabilities or a more specialized method of post processing, however this can also occasionally be present through new cross-connections between separate tools or even an entirely new piece of software. As a result of all this, Ansys has now reached critical mass for its solution space surrounding Electronics Reliability. That is, we can essentially approach an electronics reliability problem from any major physics perspective that we like.

So, what is Electronics Reliability and what physics am I referring to? Great question, and I’m glad you asked – I’d like to run through some examples of each physics and their typical use-case / importance, as well as where Ansys fits in. Of course, real life is a convoluted Multiphysics problem in most cases, so having the capability to accommodate and link many different physics together is also an important piece of this puzzle.

Running down the list, we should perhaps start with the most obvious category given the name – Electrical Reliability. In a broad sense, this encompasses all things related to electromagnetic fields as they pertain to transmission of both power and signals. While the electrical side of this topic is not typically in my wheelhouse, it is relatively straightforward to understand the basics around a couple key concepts, Power Integrity and Signal Integrity.

Power integrity, as its name suggests, is the idea that we need to maintain certain standards of quality for the electrical power in a device/board/system. While some kinds of electronics are robust enough that they will continue to function even under large variations in supplied voltage or current, there are also many that rely on extremely regular power supplies that only vary above certain limits or within narrow bounds. Even if we’re looking at a single PCB (as in the image below), in today’s technological environment it will no doubt have electrical traces mapped all throughout it as well as multiple devices present that operate under their own specified electrical conditions.

Figure 1: An example PCB with complex trace and via layouts, courtesy of Ansys

If we were determined to do so, we could certainly measure trace lengths, widths, thicknesses, etc., and make some educated guesses for the resulting voltage drops to individual components. However, considerably more effort would need to be made to account for bends, corners, or variable widths, and that would still completely neglect any environmental effects or potential interactions between traces. It is much better to be able to represent and solve for the entire geometry at once using a dedicated field solver – this is where Ansys SIwave or Ansys HFSS typically come in, giving us the flexibility to accurately determine the electrical reliability, whether we’re talking about AC or DC power sources.

Signal integrity is very much related, except that “signals” in this context often involve different pathways, less energy, and a different set of regulations and tolerances. Common applications involve Chip-signal modeling and DDRx virtual compliance – these have to do with not only the previous general concerns regarding stability and reliability, but also adherence to specific standards (JEDEC) through virtual compliance tests. After all, inductive electromagnetic effects can still occur over nonconductive gaps, and this can be a significant source of noise and instability in cases where conductive paths (like board traces or external connections) cross or run very near each other.

Figure 2: Example use-cases in virtual compliance testing, courtesy of Ansys

Whether we are looking at timings between components, transition times, jitter, or even just noise, HFSS and SIWave can both play roles here. In either case, being able to use a simulation environment to confirm that a certain design will or will not meet certain standards can provide invaluable feedback to the design process.

Other relevant topics to Electrical Reliability may include Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) analysis, antenna performance, and Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) analysis. While I will not expand on these in great detail here, I think it is enough to realize that an excellent electrical design (such as for an antenna) requires some awareness of the operational environment. For instance, we might want to ensure that our chosen or designed component will adequately function while in the presence of some radiation environment, or maybe we would like to test the effectiveness of the environmental shielding on a region of our board. Maybe, there is some concern about the propagation of an ESD through a PCB, and we would like to see how vulnerable certain components are. Ansys tools provide us the capabilities needed to do all of this.

The second area of primary interest is Thermal Reliability, as just about anyone who has worked with or even used electronics knows, they generate some amount of heat while in use. Of course, the quantity, density, and distribution of that heat can vary tremendously depending on the exact device or system under question, but this heat will ultimately result in a rise in temperature somewhere. The point of thermal reliability basically boils down to realizing that the performance and function of many electrical components depends on their temperature. Whether it is simply a matter of accounting for a change in electrical conductivity as temperature rises or a hard limit of functionality for a particular transistor at 150 °C, acknowledging and accounting for these thermal effects is critical when considering electronics reliability. This is a problem with several potential solutions depending on the scale of interest, but generally we cover the package/chip, board, and full system levels. For the component/chip level, a designer will often want to provide some package level specs for OEMs so that a component can be properly scoped in a larger design. Ansys Icepak has toolkits available to help with this process; whether it is simplifying a 3D package down to a detailed network thermal model or identifying the most critical hot spot within a package based on a particular heat distribution. Typically, network models are generated through temperature measurements taken from a sample in a standardized JEDEC test chamber, but Icepak can assist through automatically generating these test environments, as below, and then using simulation results to extract well defined JB and JC values for the package under test.

Figure 3: Automatically generated JEDEC test chambers created by Ansys Icepak, courtesy of Ansys

On the PCB level of detail, we are likely interested in how heat moves across the entire board from component to component or out to the environment. Ansys Icepak lets us read in a detailed ECAD description for said PCB and process its trace and via definitions into an accurate thermal conductivity map that will improve our simulation accuracy. After all, two boards with identical sizing and different copper trace layouts may conduct heat very differently from each other.

Figure 4: Converting ECAD information into thermal conductivity maps using Ansys Icepak, courtesy of Ansys

On the system level of thermal reliability, we are likely looking at the effectiveness of a particular cooling solution on our electronic design. Icepak makes it easy to include the effects of a heat exchanger (like a coldplate) without having to explicitly model its computationally expensive geometry by using a flow network model. Also, many of today’s electronics are expected to constantly run right up against their limit and are kept within thermal spec by using software to throttle their input power in conjunction with an existing cooling strategy. We can use Icepak to implement and test these dynamic thermal management algorithms so that we can track and evaluate their performance across a range of environmental conditions.

The next topic that we should consider is that of Mechanical Reliability. Mechanical concepts tend to be a little more intuitive and relatable due to their more hands-on nature than the other two, though the exact details behind the cause and significance of stresses in materials is of course more involved. In the most general sense, stress is a result of applying force to an object. If this stress is high compared to what is allowed by a material, then bad things tend to happen – like permanent deformation or fracture. For electronic devices consisting of many materials, small structures, and particularly delicate components, we have once again surpassed what can be reasonably accomplished with hand calculations. Whether we are looking at an individual package, the integrity of an entire PCB, or the stability that a rigid housing will provide to a set of PCBs, Ansys has a solution. We might use Ansys Mechanical to look at manufacturing allowances for the permissible force used while mounting a complicated leaded component onto a board, as seen below. Or maybe, we will use mechanical simulation to find the optimal positioning of leads on a new package such that its natural vibrational frequencies are outside normal ambient conditions.

Figure 5: A surface component with discretely modeled leads, courtesy of Ansys

At the PCB level, we face many of the same detail-oriented challenges around representing traces and vias that have been mentioned for the electrical applications. They may not be quite as critical and more easily approximated in some ways, but that does not change the fact that copper traces are mechanically quite different from the resin composites often used as the substrate (like FR-4). Ansys tools like Sherlock provide best in class PCB modeling on this front, allowing us to directly bring in ECAD models with full trace and component detail, and then model them mechanically at several different levels depending on the exact need. Automating a materials property averaging scheme based on the local density of traces may be sufficient if we are looking at the general bending behavior of a board, but we can take it to the next level by explicitly modeling traces as “reinforcement” elements. This brings us to the level of detail where we can much more reliably look at the stresses present in individual traces, such that we can make good design decisions to reduce the risk of traces peeling or delaminating from the surface.

Figure 6: Example trace mapping workflow and methods, courtesy of Ansys

Beyond just looking at possible improvements in the design process, we can also make use of Ansys tools like LS-DYNA or Mechanical to replicate testing or accident conditions that an existing design could be subjected to. As a real-world example, many of us are all too familiar with the occasional consequences of accidentally dropping our smart phones – Ansys is used to test designs against these kind of shock events, where impact against a hard surface can result in high stresses in key locations. This helps us understand where to reinforce a design to protect against the worst damage or even what angle of impact is most likely to cause an operational failure.

As the finale for all of this, I come back to the first comment of reality being a complex Multiphysics problem. Many of the previous topics are not truly isolated to their respective physics (as much as we often simplify them as such), and this is one of the big ways in which the Ansys ecosystem shines: Comprehensive Multiphysics. For the topic of thermal reliability, I simply stated that electronics give off heat. This may be obvious, but that heat is not just a magical result of the device being turned on but is instead a physical and calculable result of the actual electrical behavior. Indeed, this the exact kind of result that we can extract from one of the relevant electronics tools. An HFSS solution will provide us with not only the electrical performance of an antenna but also the three-dimensional distribution of heat that is consequently produced. Ansys lets us very easily feed this information into an Icepak simulation, which then has the ability to give us far more accurate results than a typical uniform heat load assumption provides.

Figure 7: Coupled electrical-thermal simulation between HFSS and Icepak, courtesy of Ansys

If we find that our temperatures are particularly high, we might then decide to bring these results back into HFSS to locally change material properties as a function of temperature to get an even more accurate set of electrical results. It could be that this results in an appreciable shift in our antenna’s frequency, or perhaps the efficiency has decreased, and aspects of the design need to be revisited. These are some of the things that we would likely miss without a comprehensive Multiphysics environment.

On a more mechanical side, the effects on stress and strain from thermal conditions are very well known and understood at this point, but there is no reason we could not use Ansys to bring the electrical alongside this established thermal-mechanical behavior. After all, what is a better representation of the real physics involved than using SIwave or HFSS to model the electrical behavior of a PCB, bringing those result into an Icepak simulation as a heat load to test the performance of a cooling loop or heat sink, and then using at least some of those thermal results to look at stresses through not only a PCB as a whole but also individual traces? Not a whole lot at this moment in time, I would say.

The extension that we can make on these examples, is that they have by and large been representative cases of how an electronics device responds to a particular event or condition and judging its reliability metrics based on that set of results, however many physics might be involved. There is one more piece of the puzzle we have access to that also interweaves itself throughout the Multiphysics domain and that is Reliability Physics. This is mostly relevant to us in electronics reliability for considering how different events, or even just a repetition of the same event, can stack together and accumulate to contribute towards some failure in the future. An easy example of this is a plastic hinge or clip that you might find on any number of inexpensive products – flexing a thin piece of plastic like in these hinges can provide a very convenient method of motion for quite some time, but that hinge will gradually accumulate damage until it inevitably cracks and fails. Every connection within a PCB is susceptible to this same kind of behavior, whether it is the laminations of the PCB itself, the components soldered to the surface, or even the individual leads on a component. If our PCB is mounted on the control board of a bus, satellite, or boat, there will be some vibrations and thermal cycles associated with its life. A single one of these events may be of much smaller magnitude and seemingly negligible compared to something dramatic like a drop test, and yet they can still add up to the point of being significant over a period of months or years.

This is exactly the kind of thing that Ansys Sherlock proves invaluable for: letting us define and track the effect of events that may occur over a PCB’s entire lifecycle. Many of these will revolve around mechanical concepts of fatigue accumulating as a result of material stresses, but it is still important to consider the potential Multiphysics origins of stress. Different simulations will be required for each of mechanical bending during assembly, vibration during transport, and thermal cycling during operation, yet each of these contributes towards the final objective of electronics reliability. Sherlock will bring each of these and more together in a clear description of which components on a board are most likely to fail, how likely they are to fail as a function of time, and which life events are the most impactful.

Figure 8: Example failure predictions over the life cycle of a PCB using Ansys Sherlock, courtesy of Ansys

Really, what all of this comes down to is that when we design and create products, we generally want to make sure that they function in the way that we intend them to. This might be due to a personal pride in our profession or even just the desire to maximize profit through minimizing the costs associated with a component failure, however at the end it just makes sense to anticipate and try to prevent the failures that might occur under normal operating conditions.

For complex problems like electronics devices, there are many physics all intimately tied together in the consideration of overall reliability, but the Ansys ecosystem of tools allows us to approach these problems in a realistic way. Whether we’re looking at the electrical reliability of a circuit or antenna, the thermal performance of a cooling solution or algorithm, or the mechanical resilience of a PCB mounted on a bracket, Ansys provides a path forward.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact us at or visit

Introducing Ansys Rocky – Webinar

PADT is excited to share more information on one of the latest Ansys acquisitions, Rocky DEM.

Rocky is a powerful 3D Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) Particle Simulation Software that quickly and accurately simulates the flow behavior of bulk materials with complex particle shapes and size distributions, for typical applications such as conveyor chutes, mills, mixers, and other materials handling equipment.

Rocky is fully integrated with the Ansys Workbench suite of products, providing engineers with the ability to perform coupled analysis of particles simulation together with other physics such as structural and fluids. 

Such coupling can be performed using both 1-way and 2-way approaches, depending upon the nature of the problem to be solved. When Rocky is coupled with Ansys Mechanical software, engineers can evaluate the tension stresses and forces generated by granular matter as it interacts with materials handling equipment, such as transfer chutes and conveyor belts.

Join PADT’s Senior CFD Engineer and Rocky expert Tom Chadwick for a look at what this tool is all about, as well as how it operates in a variety of industries, such as:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Agricultural Equipment
  • Medical Devices
  • And More

Register Here

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

All Things Ansys 091: Heat Transfer & Flow Updates in Ansys Fluent 2021 R1


Published on: June 29th, 2021
With: Eric Miller & Tom Chadwick

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by Tom Chadwick, Senior CFD Engineer at PADT to discuss what’s new regarding heat transfer and flow in the latest Ansys release.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at we would love to hear from you!



Heat Transfer & Flow Updates in Ansys Fluent 2021 R1 – Webinar

Ansys Fluent is the industry-leading fluid simulation software known for its advanced physics modeling capabilities and unmatched accuracy.

This tool gives you more time to innovate and optimize product performance, allowing users to trust their simulation results with a software that has been extensively validated across a wide range of applications. Two key applications that have seen improvements in the 2021 R1 update are fluid flow and heat transfer.

Performing steady or transient conjugate heat transfer simulations determines heat exchanger performance and the impact of thermal stresses. Models developed in Ansys Fluent can include fluid structure interaction, fatigue life prediction and multiphase boiling, condensation and evaporation.

Additionally, new proprietary high-speed numerics in available in this release enable the reliable solution of high Mach number flows without reducing accuracy.

Join PADT’s Fluent expert Tom Chadwick for a presentation on the latest in fluid flow and heat transfer updates in Ansys 2021 R1.

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Simulating Electrical Windings: Solid or Stranded?

In Ansys Maxwell, windings can be added in Eddy Current and Transient Solvers. There are two types of conductors when assigning the windings: Solid and Stranded. What is the difference?

The Solid type considers the conductor as a solid part and therefore, the eddy current and AC effects will be taken into consideration. While the Stranded type assumes the conductor consists of infinite strands of tiny conductors and therefore, there is no eddy current inside the conductor.

Now if there is no time-varying current or magnetic field in the model, will it be the same using Solid or Stranded? The answer is NO. Figure 1 shows a simple geometry of one-turn copper conductor. The cross-section is 1 mm by 1 mm and length of each edge is 100 mm. Assume the winding type is External and the circuit is shown below in Figure 2. The winding is connected to an external resistance (0.003 ohm) and the DC voltage source is 1 V.

Fig. 1 – Geometry of the conductor
Fig. 2 – Winding external circuit.

The question will be: what is the current in the winding? Based on the physical geometry of the conductor, the conductor resistance can be calculated by R=ρ L/A, where L is the length of the conductor, A is the cross-sectional area and ρ is the resistivity of the copper material. The calculated conductor resistance is about 0.006872 ohm. The winding current will be different based on conductor type.

  • Solid type

When the conductor is selected as Solid in ANSYS Maxwell, the winding resistance will be included while calculating the current. Therefore, the winding current will be:

Note: if the winding resistance is changing, the winding current will also change.

And the winding loss will be:

The winding loss calculated by Ansys Maxwell is 70.57 W which is identical to the result above.

  • Stranded type

When the conductor is selected as Stranded in Ansys Maxwell, the winding resistance will NOT be included while calculating the current. Therefore, the winding current will be:

Note: the winding current is a constant no matter the winding resistance changes or not.

And the winding loss will be:

The winding loss calculated by Ansys Maxwell is 763.55 W which is identical to the result above.


  1. The Solid type is needed if the AC effect is of interest.
  2. For Voltage winding type, the DC winding current and DC winding loss will be different for Solid and Stranded types. If the load resistance is much larger/smaller than the winding resistance, this difference can be neglected.
  3. If the user is using the Voltage source and doing the EM-Thermal coupling simulation, it requires more attention as the temperature rise will increase the winding resistance and therefore, decrease the winding current (as the voltage is fixed). In this case, users can either choose Solid or add an additional scaling factor in the material property to compensate for the current difference.

If you would like more information related to this topic or have any questions, please reach out to us at

All Things Ansys 090: Simulating Predictive Lung Modeling in a Rapidly Evolving COVID World


Published on: June 14th, 2021
With: Eric Miller & Jacob Riglin

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by Jacob Riglin from Los Alamos National Laboratory to discuss simulation’s role in predictive lung modeling and experimentation in a rapidly evolving COVID world.

Learn how Los Alamos used Ansys CFX to predict turbulence and flow structure through the lungs and analyze the impact COVID has on it, as well as patient response to various ventilators.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at we would love to hear from you!



Setting up and Solving a PCB and Enclosure for Thermal Simulation in Ansys Icepak Electronic Desktop

The thought of setting up and running a complex PCB and Enclosure thermal model was something that used to strike fear in the heart of engineers. That is no longer true. In this video, we step through the process of importing, setting up, and solving a PCB thermal simulation.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact us at or

Materials, Composites & Scripting Updates in Ansys Mechanical 2021 R1 – Webinar

Composites provide new solutions for manufacturers looking for stronger, lighter and more cost-effective materials.

At the same time, they pose new modeling and manufacturing challenges because of the nature of the materials. With the right simulation tools, designers can account for residual stresses, predict performance, analyze reliability and potential failures, optimize construction, and export accurate information to manufacturing, all before a physical prototype is built.

Join PADT’s Application/Support Engineer and materials Expert Doug Oatis to learn more about updates made to the composites, materials and scripting capabilities in Ansys 2021 R1.

Register Here

All Things Ansys 089: Design for Autonomous Robotics


Published on: June 1st, 2021
With: Eric Miller & Jonathan Byars

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by Jonathan Byars of AMP Robotics to discuss their recent presentation at Ansys Simulation World 2021, covering how Ansys mechanical aids in the design of quick release gripper mechanisms for autonomous material recycling robots.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at we would love to hear from you!



Ansys – Software for Electric Machine Design

The electric propulsion system has drawn more and more attention in the last decade. There has been a lot of development of the electric machines which are used in automotive and aerospace. It is essential for engineers to develop electric machines with high efficiency, high power-density, low noise and cost.

Therefore, simulation tools are needed to design the electric machines that can meet the requirement. The product launching time can be reduced significantly with the help of the simulation tools. The design process of electric machine involves the area of Electromagnetics, Mechanical, Thermal and Fluids. This makes Ansys the perfect tool for designing electric machines as it is a multi-physics simulation platform. Ansys offers a complete workflow from electromagnetics to thermal and mechanical which provides accurate and robust designs for electric machines.

To design high performance, more compact and reliable electric machines, design engineers can start with three Ansys tools: RMxprt, Maxwell and Motor-CAD. The capabilities and differences of these three tools will be compared and discussed.

1. Ansys RMxprt

Ansys RMxprt is a template-based tool for electromagnetic designs of electric machines. It covers almost all of the conventional radial types of electric machines. Starting from Ansys 2020R2, some axial types have also been included in RMxprt (IM, PMSM, BLDC).

Fig. 1. Electric machine types in Ansys RMxprt.

Users only need to input the geometry parameters and materials for the machines. The performance data and curves can be obtained for different load types. Since RMxprt uses analytical approaches, it can generate results very fast. It is also capable of running fast coupling/system simulations with Simplorer/Twin Builder. Ready-to-run Maxwell 2D/3D models can be created directly from RMxprt automatically.

2. Ansys Maxwell

Ansys Maxwell is a FEA simulation tool for low-frequency electromagnetic applications. Maxwell can solve static, frequency-domain and time-varying electromagnetic and electric fields. The Maxwell applications can be but not limited to electric machines, transformers, sensors, wireless charging, busbars, biomedical, etc.

Unlike RMxprt which uses analytical method, Maxwell uses the FEA approach which allows it to do high accuracy field simulations. Engineers can either import the geometry or create their own models in Maxwell. Therefore, there is no limit of types of machines that can be modeled in Maxwell. It can model all types of electromagnetic rotary devices such as multi-rotor and multi-stator designs.

Fig. 2. Electric machine detailed model in Ansys Maxwell.

Maxwell can do more detailed electromagnetic simulations for electric machines, for example, the demagnetization of the permanent magnets, end winding simulations and magnetostrictive effects. With Maxwell, engineers are able to run parametric sweep for different design variables and to do optimizations to achieve the optimal design. Maxwell is also capable of creating equivalent circuit extraction (ECE) models. The ECE is one of the reduced order modelling (ROM) techniques, which automatically generates an efficient system-level model. There are several Ansys customization toolkit (ACT) available for Maxwell to quickly create efficiency map and simulate impact of eccentricity. Furthermore, Maxwell can be coupled with Ansys Mechanical/Fluent/Icepak to do thermal and mechanical analysis.

3. Ansys Motor-CAD

Ansys Motor-CAD is suitable to make design decisions in early design phase of electric machines. It includes four modules: electromagnetic, thermal, lab and mechanical. Motor-CAD can perform multiphysics simulations of electric machines across the full torque-speed range. Motor-CAD uses a combination of analytical method and FEA, and it can quickly evaluate motor topologies and optimize designs in terms of performance, efficiency and size.

Motor-CAD is capable of simulating the radial types of electric machines. With its lab module, it can do the duty cycle simulations to analyze electromagnetic, mechanical and thermal performances of electric machines. The thermal module is a standard tool in industry which can provide fast thermal analysis with insight of each thermal node, pressure drop, losses. Motor-CAD mechanical module uses 2D FEA to calculate the stress and deformation. Engineers can also manually correlate the models in Motor-CAD based on the manufacturing impacts or testing data.

Fig. 3. Ansys Motor-CAD GUI and machine types.

Motor-CAD can provide links to Ansys Maxwell, Mechanical, Icepak and Fluent for more detailed analysis in the later phases of motor designs.

  • What to use?

RMxprt and Motor-CAD both can handle most of the radial types of electric machines. RMxprt can also model some conventional axial flux machines. RMxprt can purely model the electromagnetic performance of the machines, while Motor-CAD can simulate electromagnetic, thermal and mechanical performances.

Maxwell can simulate any types of machines (radial, axial, linear, hybrid, etc.) as it can import or draw any geometry. Both static and transient analysis can be conducted in Maxwell.

  • When to use?

RMxprt and Motor-CAD are most suitable in the early design stages of the electric machines. Engineers can get fast results about the machine performance and sizing which can be used as a guideline in the later design phase.

Maxwell can be used in the early design stages for more advanced types of electric machines as well. Maxwell is also capable of doing more detailed electromagnetic designs in the later stage and can be used to do system-level transient-transient co-simulation (coupled with Ansys Simplorer/Twin Builder). More detailed geometries, advanced materials and complex electromagnetic phenomenon can be modeled in Maxwell. In the final stages of running more advanced CFD and NVH analysis, Maxwell can be linked with Ansys Fluent/Icepak/Mechanical to ensure the design robustness of the machines before going into prototyping/production.

  • Who can benefit?

RMxprt and Motor-CAD do not require strong FEA simulation skills as no boundary conditions or solution domain need to be set. Engineers with basic knowledge of electric machines can get familiar with the tools and get results very quickly.

Maxwell requires users to setup the mesh, boundary and excitations as it uses the FEA method. Engineers will need to acquire not only the basic concepts of machines but also some FEA simulation skills in order to get more reasonable results.


RMxprt: It is a template-based tool for initial electric machine designs which uses analytical analysis approach.

Maxwell: It uses FEA approach model both 2D and 3D models. It is capable of simulating either simple or mode advanced electromagnetics in electric machines.

Motor-CAD: It is suitable for initial machine designs which uses analytical and FEA methods. It can do electromagnetic, thermal and initial mechanical analysis.

If you would like more information related to this topic or have any questions, please reach out to us at

All Things Ansys 088: Taking Simulation To The Moon


Published on: May 17th, 2021
With: Eric Miller, Tyler Smith & Connor Nail

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by Tyler Smith and Connor Nail from the ASU Luminosity Lab to talk about their recent presentation at Ansys Simulation World 2021. A team of students at the ASU Luminosity Lab was awarded funding from NASA to develop a system for exploration of the permanently shadowed regions of the lunar poles.

Through this project titled VELOS (Variable Exploratory Lunar Observation System) the team designed, built, and conducted proof-of-concept testing to successfully validate operation of their prototype system. Learn how Ansys helped make their success possible.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at we would love to hear from you!