First of all when considering SW I would most definitely point you
toward keeping CAD and CAE tools separate. I don't have a problem with
SW producing the "swoopy" shapes needed for aircraft or most anything
else. Salvador, Eaton, Wilson and others have gotten extremely good
results out of SW in that area. I have to ask how large your
assemblies may get.
In the area of interoperability with imported geometry you will
probably have some concerns. SW just doesn't go the whole 100 yards in
this area. But there are addins or better, standalone packages from
places like Capvidia that can do an outstanding job of getting you past
I mentioned in the beginning standalone CAE tools. I am not a big fan
of integrated tools. Documentation of models is one big issue I have.
If you know FEA you know that the results are good for the geometry
used at the time of analysis. It is all too easy to change the model
after an FEA run and lose the geometry. For that reason I prefer
products like DesignStar, Cosmos/M, NEiWorks and NE Nastran. When you
do the analysis you also get a file (either text or binary) that
contains the geometry you analyzed. It can be archived will little
change of inadvertent changes. In addition, standalones don't tie up a
seat of SW while running. I have used all the products I have just
listed. Also, standalone may give you economies of networking fewer
You can't beat Nastran for modal analysis and if you go with NE/Nastran
you can do structural, thermal and they even have a flow package,
though I haven't used it. NE/Nastran uses the FEMAP preprocessor which
is a bit antiquated, but very capable.
In addition for CFD I use CFDesigner. I have also used FloWorks, but I
prefer CFDesigner and own a seat.