Simulation in Simcenter STAR-CCM+ with parameters connected to your CAD software (part 2)

In this week’s blog post we will look at the connection between Simcenter STAR-CCM+ and your CAD software. We have a thorough description of the CAD Client in a previous blog post,, but here you will find some new tips on parametrization in NX and a look and feel of NX´s latest GUI. You will also learn how to modify parameters in your CAD software and easily update your simulation to use the new geometry. In my example I will use NX as CAD software. 

License types for communication between Simcenter STAR-CCM+ and a CAD software

There are two types of licenses when it comes to connecting Simcenter STAR-CCM+ and your CAD software. The simpler license, CAD-exchange, allows one-way coupling, meaning that you can change your CAD model and update the model in Simcenter STAR-CCM+ after the modification. The CAD-Client license allows two-way coupling which means that you can modify the geometry (using parameters) in either your CAD software or Simcenter STAR-CCM+ and update the model in the connected software.  

The CAD-exchange license (one-way coupled) can be connected to any of the CAD software below: 

  • NX 
  • Creo 
  • Catia V4/V5 
  • Solid Edge 
  • Inventor 
  • SolidWorks 
  • JTOpen B-rep 

For CAD-client license (two-way coupled) you must specify which CAD software you are going to use, so the license (in difference to CAD-exchange) is locked to one of the following CAD software: 

  • NX 
  • Creo 
  • Catia 
  • Inventor 

For Simcenter STAR-CCM+ version 2210 the compatibility with NX is for NX versions 1847 up to 2206. 

Example with pipe flow

To show the features that are unlocked with these licenses I will show an example of pipe flow with geometrical parameters for the diameter and length of the pipe. See picture below for where to enter parameter values (Tools > Expressions). In this example I am using the CAD-client license for NX, to get the two-way-coupling. 

Simcenter STAR-CCM+ NX parameters

In Simcenter STAR-CCM+ you will get a new folder called CAD client models where you will have the imported models. By right-clicking on this folder you can update the models if they are not up to date in connected software. 

Simcenter STAR-CCM+ NX parameters

In the video below you see how to connect Simcenter STAR-CCM+ from your CAD software and modify the parameters, and then update the simulation parameters accordingly. 


If you want to see your CAD parameters in Simcenter STAR-CCM+ you can go to the Simcenter STAR-CCM+ tab in NX and use Design data. Tick in the parameters that you are interested in. 

Simcenter STAR-CCM+ NX parameters

These parameters will then appear in the CAD client models folder in Simcenter STAR-CCM+, see picture below. If you have the two-way coupled license, you can edit the parameters here and update the model both in the CAD software and Simcenter STAR-CCM+ from here. These parameters can later be used as input parameters to a Design manager project if you want to do a parameter study based on the geometrical parameters. 

Simcenter STAR-CCM+ NX parameters

Alternative way of importing the geometry from your CAD software to Simcenter STAR-CCM+

In the video you saw that you can transfer the geometry from NX directly to Simcenter STAR-CCM+, but it is also possible to import your geometry. If you create a part file for your geometry in your CAD software (NX in my case), including your parameters, you can press File -> Import -> Import surface mesh in Simcenter STAR-CCM+. In the pop-up menu for the import, you should select settings like in the picture below, where “Use Simcenter STAR-CCM+ Client for NX” should be ticked in to connect the parameterized CAD to the software. In this way you have created the connection between NX and Simcenter STAR-CCM+ that your license allows you to use. 

Import native CAD into Simcenter STAR-CCM+

Note: In this way you can import the native CAD format of your geoemtry, as can be done for both the CAD exchange and CAD-client license. Worth mentioning is that from version 2020.1 (and onwards) of Simcenter STAR-CCM+ you have this possibility for NX, Catia V5 and Solid Edge even without an additional license. 


We at Volupe hope that this blog post has been of interest to you, and that this information can help you be more efficient in your simulations. If you have any questions, you are always welcome to contact us at 

I would also like to thank Luc Evertzen at Brink climate systems for the relevant input and ideas when writing this blog post. 

Happy new year from us at Volupe! 


Christoffer Volupe

Christoffer Johansson, M.Sc. 


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