What is SAM?

SAM (Synthesis and Analysis of Mechanisms) is an interactive PC-software package from the Dutch company ARTAS-Engineering Software for the design, analysis (motion and force) and optimization of arbitrary planar mechanisms.
SAM linkage design optimization & simulation software

Mechanisms can either be generated via the design wizards or they can be assembled from basic components including beams, sliders, gears, belts, springs, dampers and friction elements. SAM integrates pre-processing, numerical analysis and post processing, such as animation and xy-plots, in an easy to-use environment offering pull-down menus, mouse support and help facilities.

The mathematical foundation of the analysis kernel, which is inspired by the well-known finite element approach, offers a large number of features and overcomes many of the problems of traditional mechanism programs. Open loop, closed loop, multiple loop and even complex planetary mechanisms can equally well be analyzed due to the finite element formulation. Even the most complex mechanisms, including planetary gear trains, can be modeled within minutes.

SAM is a popular tool for everybody involved in the conceptual design, motion/force analysis and optimization of mechanisms as applied in equipment, automotive industries (roof mechanisms of convertibles) but also in medical, lifestyle or domestic products. It has been using in many educational institutes and professional companies in Europe and around the world.

History, Present and Future
The development of SAM already started in 1985 (on a Kaypro-X computer and CP/M operating system) by Dr.ir. Adrian M. Rankers from ARTAS Engineering Software in The Netherlands. However it took until 1991 before the first DOS-version of the program was released and since then many enhancements have been added. A brief overview:
  • 1985 : SAM 0.0 Start of development (Kaypro-X, CP/M as O.S.)
  • 1989 : SAM 0.1 First DOS version
  • 1991 : SAM 1.0 First official release, kinematics only
  • 1991 : SAM 1.1 Printer/plotter drivers
  • 1992 : SAM 2.0 Kinetostatics of linkage mechanisms
  • 1993 : SAM 2.1 CAD import added
  • 1994 : SAM 2.2 Polar and relative node definition, formula parser
  • 1995 : SAM 3.0 First Windows version
  • 1998 : SAM 4.0 CAD-interface, various display options, ...
  • 1999 : SAM 4.1 Engineering units, project documentation, ...
  • 2001 : SAM 4.2 Kinetostatics of belt and gear, CAD-tool, ...
  • 2003 : SAM 5.0 Design Wizards, optimized analysis kernel, ...
  • 2005 : SAM 5.1 Non-linear spring, more and new input motions, ...
  • 2007 : SAM 6.0 Optimization, Context sensitive right mouse button
  • 2010 : SAM 6.1 Clamped cubic spline, extended automated optimization, new display features, automated updates, videos in GIF format, ...
Future plans for SAM include:
  • Extension toward modelling of to model rack/pinion and cam mechanisms
  • Synthesis of cam mechanisms
  • Dynamics module next to the existing kinematics and kinetostatics
  • Link to Matlab/Simulink
European Academic Software Award
SAM was submitted twice for the "European Academic Software Award" (EASA). Both times, after being evaluated very thoroughly by various international experts, SAM reached the final of this prestigious competition, which has been created to stimulate the development of high quality software for education and research. EASA is a joint initiative of various European institutes from Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Scandinavia, Spain and Switzerland. The event is even supported by the European commission (directorate XIII).