Electric Motor Design Software and Simulation

What soft­ware is required to design an elec­tric motor and what steps are nec­es­sary to do so. The described pro­ce­dure and soft­ware used for the design can be used for BLDC motors, AC motors and axi­al flux motors. There is a dif­fer­ence between soft­ware for the design of elec­tric motors for ana­lyt­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion and numer­i­cal sim­u­la­tion or also called FEM sim­u­la­tion. FEM sim­u­la­tions can be fur­ther divid­ed into 2D and 3D sim­u­la­tions, which can be per­formed steady-state or tran­sient. For these, there is both com­mer­cial and free soft­ware for the sim­u­la­tion and cal­cu­la­tion of elec­tric motors.

electric motor design and motor simulation

For the sim­u­la­tion of elec­tric motors and the elec­tric motor design, three dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal prop­er­ties have to be inves­ti­gat­ed. There­fore, not only an elec­tro­mag­net­ic sim­u­la­tion is need­ed for the motor design, but also a ther­mal sim­u­la­tion and a mechan­i­cal sim­u­la­tion. Mechan­i­cal sim­u­la­tion nat­u­ral­ly includes the sim­u­la­tion of mechan­i­cal vibra­tions. Such mechan­i­cal vibra­tions can lead to unwant­ed acoustic nois­es. This is also referred to as acoustic sim­u­la­tion of elec­tric motors and elec­tric drives.

1) electromagnetic electric motor design and simulation

In elec­tro­mag­net­ic design, the elec­tric motor design is adjust­ed using ana­lyt­i­cal soft­ware until the per­for­mance of the elec­tric motor is sat­is­fied. The ana­lyt­i­cal design is then ver­i­fied using 2D or 3D FEM soft­ware. A detailed descrip­tion of the elec­tric motor design process can be found here »

2) thermal electric motor design and simulation

After the elec­tro­mag­net­ic design, the cool­ing for the elec­tric motor must be designed. Only with the help of the ther­mal sim­u­la­tion can it be deter­mined how long the elec­tric motor can pro­vide its max­i­mum pow­er. The ther­mal design is checked using a 2D or 3D FEM sim­u­la­tion. If the elec­tric motor becomes too hot, the elec­tric motor design or the cool­ing must be adjusted.

3) mechanical electric motor design and simulation

Final­ly, the elec­tric motor must be designed mechan­i­cal­ly, such as the thick­ness of the shaft or the size of the bear­ings. The strength of the rotor and its dynam­ics must also be checked. This can be done using mul­ti-body mod­els or 3D FEM sim­u­la­tions. If it turns out that the rotor touch­es the sta­tor, the air gap must be increased or the bear­ing adjusted.

Nor­mal­ly, the dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal sim­u­la­tions are per­formed sep­a­rate­ly. For cer­tain oper­at­ing points, it is assumed that the sys­tems do not strong­ly influ­ence each oth­er or remain con­stant. There are also appli­ca­tions with elec­tric motors where it makes sense to use a mul­ti­physics sim­u­la­tion. Here, the phys­i­cal sim­u­la­tions are direct­ly cou­pled with each oth­er, which usu­al­ly requires a lot of com­put­ing pow­er and time.

Commercial Software for Design and Simulation

There is a wide range of soft­ware for the design of elec­tric motors and each soft­ware has its advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages. It is impor­tant to dif­fer­en­ti­ate if the soft­ware is for ana­lyt­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion or numer­i­cal FEM sim­u­la­tion. Anoth­er impor­tant eval­u­a­tion cri­te­ri­on of the soft­ware is the cal­cu­la­tion speed and func­tion­al­i­ty to be pre­pared for future elec­tric motor technologies.


  • Maxwell
  • Jmag
  • MotorXP
  • Speed
  • Emd­tool
  • Motor­solve
  • Femag
  • Motor­wiz­ard
  • Opera
  • Flux­mo­tor
  • Quick­Field
  • Motor-cad
  • Rmx­pert
2D FEM software electric motor simulation

Free Electric Motor Design Software Download

Free elec­tric motor design soft­ware is usu­al­ly not free, but is usu­al­ly sub­ject to a license that allows the soft­ware to be freely used for design for spe­cif­ic pur­pos­es. Often it is also called open source soft­ware, where the source code is open. Please always read the license of the elec­tric motor soft­ware care­ful­ly to find out for which pur­pos­es the soft­ware is allowed to be used. Soft­ware that can be used free for cer­tain pur­pos­es is Onelab, Femm and Elmer. The open source soft­ware or free motor design soft­ware is usu­al­ly avail­able as a down­load on the pages of the respec­tive devel­op­ment projects.