Open Source Engineering Software

free design software insight cae

InsightCAE - The Idea

In order to use open source software productive and efficient for everyday tasks, the analysis automation framework Insight CAE is provided by silentdynamics.

Insight CAE serves as a framework for the implementation of analysis procedures. The objective is to provide interfaces to the tools and simulation programs that are needed for a specific computing task.

  • Client customized CFD/FEM workflow's
  • No license costs, benefit for many users and parallel processing
  • For Windows / Linux systems
  • HPC / Cloud support

Our additional services:

Individual open source projects often meet only subtasks in analysis process. To automate repetitive computational tasks, a combination of several open source engineering software tools is often required.

  • Common practice in numerical simulations is a manual workflow

    InsightCAE provides tools to automate simulation workflows:
  • A best practice can be stored for reoccurring tasks
  • The user only needs to provide a minimum number of parameters
  • A graphical user interface (GUI) is provided to edit parameters and see the workflow documentation

We use these open source engineering programs:


OpenFOAM the most comprehensive free computational fluid dynamics program that is currently available.

It has all the features that are necessary for a successful application of computational fluid dynamics. On top of that the source code is completely open and it is entirely free of charge. In conjunction with the good parallel scalability, this opens up great potential for increasing productivity and design safety with simultaneous cost reduction.

The focus of OpenFOAM is on computational fluid dynamics. But through the open and modular architecture, the software is also ideal for solving other tasks, such as calculation of electric and magnetic fields. In particular, highly customized solutions can be developed excellently by the limitless customization possibilities of an open source software.


Code_Aster is the structural analysis program of Électricité de France (EDF). Since 2001, it is available under GPL license for free software.

Compared with other free FEM programs, Code_Aster stands out with its pretty complete functionality. In addition to the numerical solver which works both in serial and parallelized, there is the pre- and postprocessing Workbench "Salome" for editing, meshing and visualizing the models and results.

Since Code_Aster is developed and used for the calculation of nuclear reactors, the code is subject to a comprehensive quality control, which is another unique property.

The special software architecture of Code_Aster enables extensive automation of all calculation processes

Please see our presentation for more details:

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The source code is hosted at Github: (the former Sourceforge repository is no longer maintained)

If you encounter problems, bugs or for development wishes, please create tickets here:

We also have a forum located at:!forum/insightcae

Windows 10

Our software as well as OpenFOAM and Code_Aster are currently pure Linux software. However, it can also be run under Windows 10 (64 bit only) using the "Linux Subsystem for Windows". Virtualization is not used. The processes share the memory with the Windows processes and the files are stored in the Windows file system. For graphical output under Windows, a X server has to be installed. Various X servers are available.

For the comfortable installation of InsightCAE and OpenFOAM under Windows we provide an installer:

Download the EXE file from this link and execute it:

  • It will activate the Windows subsystem for Linux, if it is not already activated
  • Then Ubuntu 18.04 is installed in the WSL environment
  • Afterwards, the current version of InsightCAE and OpenFOAM is downloaded from the Internet and installed in the WSL environment. For this purpose, about 500MB are transferred over the Internet and about 3GB of hard disk space is required.
  • Finally the X-Server vcXsrv is installed.
  • Please note:
    • For the activation of WSL and the installation of vcXsrv administrator rights are required
    • The WSL system is set up for the user running the installer. Other users of the system cannot use the installation.


The releases "Bionic" (18.04LTS) and "Focal" (20.04LTS) are supported.

Add the silentdynamics apt repository and the associated key by executing (as root):

$ sudo apt-key adv --fetch-keys
$ sudo add-apt-repository
$ sudo apt-get update

Install the software by executing

$ sudo apt-get install insightcae-ce

The following statement needs to be added to your ~/.bashrc file to set up the environment:

$ source /opt/insightcae/bin/

You will need to open a new terminal to activate this.

Now you may start the analysis workbench by executing:

$ workbench


The release 7 is currently supported.

Add the silentdynamics yum repository by executing (as root) by pasting the command below on the command line. The third line adds the "Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux" repository, which contains a lot of extra software for Redhat based distributions:

# yum-config-manager --add-repo
# yum-config-manager --enable silentdynamics
# yum --enablerepo=extras install -y epel-release

Install the software by executing

# yum install -y paraview5-insightcae freecad-insightcae insightcae-ce

Build From Sources

Clone the sources from the git repository at Github:

$ git clone insight-src

CMake is utilized for building the software out of source in a separate build directory. Create a build directory, then configure the build using e.g. ccmake and finally build using make:

$ mkdir insight && cd insight
$ ccmake ../insight-src
$ make

Some environment variables need to be set up. A script is provided therefore. It can be parsed e.g. in your ~/.bashrc script by adding to the end:

source /path/to/insight/bin/


Please follow this link to view the documentation.

InsightCAE comprises multiple components. Additional informations for a number of components can be found here:


ISCAD is a script-based CAD program. Features include:

  • based on OpenCASCADE, import of IGES, STEP, BREP
  • fully parametric parts, constraint-based sketches (through FreeCAD), assemblies, part library, drawing export (DXF)
  • entity selection by filtering commands
  • embedded meshing through gmsh and snappyHexMesh

See the User Guide for more informations.


Case builder is an interactive tool to build OpenFOAM cases from feature elements.

See the Tutorial for more informations.

Video Tutorials

Our Services

We implement automated analyses according to your needs and specifications, e.g. by creating new specialized modules for InsightCAE.

This will

  • speed up your routine work
  • reduce human errors
  • make complicated analyses accessible to inexperienced users


Some examples of workflows which we created for our customers: