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Install the Simscape Multibody Link Plug-In

What is Simscape Multibody Link?

Simscape™ Multibody™ Link is a plug-in that you install on your CAD application to export your CAD assembly models. The plug-in generates the files that you need to import the model into the Simscape Multibody environment (using the smimport function). You can install the plug-in on three CAD applications:

  • SolidWorks®

  • Autodesk Inventor®

  • PTC® Creo™

Alternatives to Simscape Multibody Link

You can export an assembly model from Onshape® CAD software using the smexportonshape function. This function generates the same files as the Simscape Multibody Link plug-in—one an XML multibody description file, the rest a set of body geometry files.

If you use a different CAD application, you can create a custom application based on the published Simscape Multibody XML schema. This approach requires some knowledge of XML. See the schema web page for an example.

If you can export a multibody model in URDF format, then you can also import that model using the smimport function. This approach may suit you if your CAD application is not among those supported and you have little experience with XML schemas.

Before You Begin

You must have a valid MATLAB® license and one of the supported CAD applications:

  • Autodesk Inventor software

  • PTC Creo software

  • SolidWorks software

Your MATLAB and CAD installations must have the same system architecture—e.g., Windows 64-bit.

Step 1: Get the Installation Files

  1. Go to the Simscape Multibody Link download page.

  2. Follow the prompts on the download page.

  3. Save the zip archive and MATLAB file in a convenient folder.

    Select the file versions matching your MATLAB release number and system architecture—e.g., release R2015b and Win64 architecture. Do not extract the zip archive.

Step 2: Run the Installation Function

  1. Run MATLAB as administrator.

  2. Add the saved installation files to the MATLAB path.

    You can do this by entering addpath('foldername') at the MATLAB command prompt. Replace foldername with the name of the folder in which you saved the installation files—e.g., C:\Temp.

  3. At the MATLAB command prompt, enter install_addon('zipname').

    Replace zipname with the name of the zip archive—e.g.,

Step 3: Register MATLAB as an Automation Server

Each time you export a CAD assembly model, the Simscape Multibody Link plug-in attempts to connect to MATLAB. For the connection to occur, you must register MATLAB as an automation server. You can do this in two ways:

  • In a MATLAB session running in administrator mode — At the command prompt, enter regmatlabserver.

  • In an MS-DOS window running in administrator mode — At the command prompt, enter matlab -regserver.

Step 4: Enable the Simscape Multibody Link Plug-In

Before you can export an assembly, you must enable the Simscape Multibody Link plug-in on your CAD application. To do this, see: