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ThomasH (Structural) (OP)
15 Mar 06 14:07
As the subject says I'm a bit curious as to if you prefer Femap or Patran for pre- and postprocessing. Ignore the price and keep it technical. Would a Patran user consider to change to Femap or viceversa because "the other" is better.

Or is the question not interresting, they are equal? Or perhaps one is completely superiour.


GregLocock (Automotive)
15 Mar 06 22:31
Haven't heard many positive reviews of Patran. Haven't heard many bad things said about Femap. There again I don't know many people who have used Patran for any serious work, round here it's Hypermesh or notepad.



Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

GBor (Mechanical)
15 Mar 06 22:46
I know a guy that uses only Patran, but the fact that he sticks in my mind suggests to me that he is different from many others that I've met.  FEMAP over Patran, but like Greg said, I haven't used Patran for anything serious enough to truly compare.
rb1957 (Aerospace)
16 Mar 06 8:02
a major airplane company in canada uses patran exclusively as their front- and back-end processor, have been since the 80s.  they like it.  i've been using FEMAP with a smaller company for the last few years, it was very easy to pick up.

i think PATRAN and FEMAP are just as capable, there could well be things that i'm not interested in that make one superior to the other.  i think PATRAN hasn't been developed recently, so that could be a concern.
stresscalcs (Aerospace)
16 Mar 06 15:02
I have used both programs to earn money. Up to FEMAP v8, but only to Patran 2003(?).
I started with FEMAP and went onto PATRAN.
FEMAP is easy to get going in quite quickly, PATRAN is not.  FEMAP is user friendly but not totally logical in menu layout.  PATRAN is definitely user unfriendly, sometimes rather clumsy to use and I would say is no better in logical  menu layout.  Both could do a lot better.
Both programs have built in errors which you only find when you discover them. Both programs are not too well documented and a bug list would do a lot to help but the producers don't seem to want to admit they have buggy programs. I have spent hours trying to make some commands work only eventually to find out they simply just don't work as described in both programs.

I found that I could do somethings in FEMAP very easily but it was very difficult in PATRAN and visa versa. I could always produce an acceptable model with both programs.  For me, PATRAN always took more time.
One quickly obvious point was that PATRAN supports more solid element types than FEMAP. PATRAN does offer more than FEMAP but consequently becomes more involved and cumbersome.

An interesting point is that FEMAP v9 layout was completely reworked and now it looks to me very similar to PATRAN's layout.
ThomasH (Structural) (OP)
17 Mar 06 12:51
Iv'e discussed the issue with a friend and any insights comparing Femap/Patran to Hypermesh would also be helpful.

And thanks for the input so far.

ykantor (Aerospace)
17 Mar 06 17:29
I have used both Patran (up to now) and Femap ( till couple of years ago). Patran is more powerfull but not friendly, and Femap is friendlier, and easy to learn and run.

In my opinion, unless you need a feature which is unique to Patran , Femap is a better choice.

ttoole (Aerospace)
18 Mar 06 4:07
All 3 softwares are old and none of them have the direct interface to CAD that I would like to see.  The current Patran version goes back 16 years and since then has changed little.  The code is dead and will soon be replaced by MSC.  It was never designed to be a Windows application which is the same problem with Hypermesh.  Hypermesh was designed for the automotive industry.  If I had to pick which one I would use it would be FEMAP.  I think it will be the winner but I hope UGS does something serious with it.
stresscalcs (Aerospace)
18 Mar 06 4:14
Some new news is that the MSC bundle FEMAP/NASTRAN called Nastran for Windows (N4W) is no longer for sale.  MSC have lost the right to market FEMAP.

For those with a N4W license and a current support contract, there is an offer from MSC to change to the combination PATRAN/NASTRAN called FEA2004 at no extra cost. (The meaning of 2004 in the title is not clear to me.) The PATRAN/NASTRAN combination offers more analysis capabilities than the N4W package.

The move from using FEMAP to PATRAN would be a major step but for some it might be a good move as in certain industries PATRAN is certainly the market leader.
dmacx (Mechanical)
18 Mar 06 16:01
If you are a FEMAP user do not expect to just pick up Patran and run with it. The training class at the company I worked at where I learned Patran was done over 5 weeks, 10 hours per week. It certainly is more powerful in some aspects but weaker in others. Overall I would say Patran has more capabilities but many of these few users will use. Do you want to learn PCL for Patran or Visual Basic for FEMAP API programming? The MSC deal does not include the full Patran either. It is a limited version but I am not sure what that limit is. Maybe someone else could explain FEA2004 better. I heard MSC would replace Patran with Sofi or something that sounds like this.
GregLocock (Automotive)
18 Mar 06 21:40
Hypermesh is quite infuriating to switch to from FEMAP, but I'd have to say it is not actually difficult to pick up, I'm learning it myself by doing a tutorial whenever I need a new feature. The big pluses in my book are that it seems to have near-faultless import and export facilities, and that it is bundled with Optistruct. It works fine under Windows, it just has a totally bizarre look and feel.


Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

Helpful Member!  johnhors (Aerospace)
20 Mar 06 3:23
It's hard not view UGS's action of pulling the plug on Nastran for Windows and offering users their own NX/Nastran with Femap as a cynical attempt to win over clients from MSC. UGS will be well aware that MSC's new windows native pre and post processor is not ready for a public launch yet and will thus have the exceedingly difficult task of trying to persuade their N4W clients to temporarily switch to Patran, a code which is long past it's sell by date. Yes Patran is still very popular in the aerospace industry, and there will be users who will be reluctant to switch to MSC's new software when the time arrives. However with these users it's a case of ignorance is bliss as they bury their heads in the sand citing "industry de facto standard".
dmacx (Mechanical)
20 Mar 06 3:57
Johnhors, very well put.
ThomasH (Structural) (OP)
20 Mar 06 5:44
The way I understand it is that since I have spent tha last 10 years or so working with Femap it would not be a good idea to "convert" to Patran just because MSC no longer can deliver Femap in N4W.

Your advice would be to stick with Femap.


johnhors (Aerospace)
20 Mar 06 5:58
It's up to you Thomas, it should be abundantly clear by now that the Patran option will be very very painful, whilst the alternative to stay with Femap means ditching MSC.

I can only guess that work in Bangalore on the new MSC product must have reached fever pitch by now, and all this coming on top of Dassault Systemes buyout of Abaqus which effectively relegated MSC's position with respect to Catia V5 (which IS the de facto standard for Aerospace, Automobiles ??)
ThomasH (Structural) (OP)
20 Mar 06 9:50
My original idea was to find out if Patran is indeed better than Femap. Then I might convert, I'm not against it on principle. Part of the problem is that I have some API-code written for Femap. And I doubt that it will convert itself.

I have to do some serious thinking before making up my mind.

But, anyway, thanks a lot for your input.

Irwin (Mechanical)
22 Mar 06 15:30
I am using both.
Patran is good for solid meshing. That is it!
FEMAP has more advantages. More confortable, better commands etc. You can do everything with it in an easy way!
The only dissadvantage compare to the PATRAN is the displaying of the large model.
Both of them bad for the detailed mesh definition. Sometimes you can realise that you have 2 surfaces with a common edge, but the mesh seed will be different on the edge.
FEMFAP is very strong in the hand meshing or in the modification of an existing shell mesh. You can create very esay beam models too in FEMAP, while in PATRAN this is not so easy!
In FEMAP you can change the color of everything, in PATRAN everything is predefined! Sometimes the colors help us to identify details.
I prefer FEMAP.


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