EDEM Creator

EDEM Creator is the pre-processor for creating an EDEM simulation model.

Use EDEM Creator to:

  • Set up simulations quickly and logically using EDEM's intuitive and user-friendly interface

  • Import equipment geometry from various CAD files (IGES, STL, STEP, and more)

  • Assign motion to equipment (linear, rotational, sinusoidal, force and torque driven motions, and more)

  • Model the particle shape using the highly validated and computationally efficient Multi-Sphere method

  • Automatically create complex shapes using the Sphere Fitting tool

  • Easily create flexible materials and fibers using the Meta Particle feature

About EDEM Creator

EDEM Creator allows you to set up and initialize your model. It is where you import particles and geometries and define the other model parameters.

  1. Creator Tree

  2. Viewer

  3. Creator Toolbar and Menu Bar

  4. Data Browser (Creator)

  5. Tree Filter

Creator Tree

The Creator Tree is displayed on the left side of the EDEM window. It contains information about the Project, Bulk Material, Equipment Material, Geometries, Physics, and Environment.


The Viewer displays 3D representations of your particles, geometry, and fields (if applicable). You can control the rotation, position, and zoom factor of the Viewer using a mouse.

Creator Toolbar and Menu Bar

Icon Name Description
Creator Click to switch to the Creator
Simulator Click to switch to the Simulator
Analyst Click to switch to the Analyst
New Click to create a new model
Open Click to open an existing model
Save Click to save your model
Help Click to view the online Help
Change Time Step Back Move to the first Time Step in the simulation
Change Time Step Forward Move to the last Time Step in the simulation
Start Coupling Server Click to start the Coupling Server
Coupling Server Disabled Indicates that the Server is not running
Server Awaiting Connection Indicates that the Server is started but not connected
Server Connected Indicates that the Server is connected
Stop Server Click to stop the Coupling Server
Filled Display Mode Click to display geometryfilled
Mesh Display Mode Click to display geometry as mesh
Points Display Mode Click to display geometry as points
Display Particles Click to display or hide all particles
Display Cylindrical Periodic Boundary Conditions Click to visualize cylindrical periodic boundary
Add Bulk Material Click to add a Bulk Material to the simulation
Add Equipment Material Click to add Equipment material to the simulation
Save Material Block Click to save block of material for material bed
Transfer Material from Database Materials Click to transfer materials to and from the Material Database.
Rename Material Click to rename the selected material
Copy Material Click to copy the selected material
Delete Material Click to delete the selected material
Open GEMM Wizard Click to open the GEMM Wizard
Add Particle Click to add a particle to the Bulk Material
Import Particle Click to import a particle to a Bulk Material
Export Particle Click to export a particle
Rename Particle Click to rename a particle
Copy Particle Click to copy a particle
Delete Particle Click to delete a particle
Add Sphere Click to add a Sphere to a particle
Copy Sphere Click to copy a particle Sphere
Delete Sphere Click to delete a particle Sphere
Add a Geometry Click to add geometry
Add a Box Click to add a box from the Geometry dropdown list
Add a Cylinder Click to add a cylinder from the Geometry dropdown list
Add a Polygon Click to add a polygon from the Geometry dropdown list
Import a Geometry Click to import a Geometryfrom a 3D CAD file
Rename a Geometry Click to rename Geometry sections
Copy a Geometry Click to copy Geometry sections
Delete a Geometry Click to delete Geometry sections
Merge a Geometry Click to merge Geometry sections
Replace a Geometry Click to replace a Geometry with an alternative one
Add a Motion Click to add a motion from the dropdown list
Add Linear Translation Click to add linear translation to geometry
Add Linear Rotation Click to add linear rotation to geometry
Add Sinusoidal Translation Click to add sinusoidal translation to geometry
Add Sinusoidal Rotation Click to add sinusoidal rotation to geometry
Add Conveyor Translation Click to add conveyor translation to geometry
Add Conveyor Rotation Click to add conveyor rotation to geometry
Rename a Motion Click to rename a motion
Copy a Motion Click to copy a motion and apply to the current geometry or an alternative one
Delete a Motion Click to delete a motion
Move Motion Up Click to reorder a motion
Move Motion Down Click to reorder a motion
Add Force Click to add force to geometry
Add Torque Click to add torque to geometry
Add Factory Click to add a material factory to the simulation
Import Factory Click to import a factory
Rename Factory Click to rename a factory
Copy Factory Click to copy a factory
Delete Factory Click to delete a factory
Change Factory Click to change from static to dynamic factory
Add Material Block Click to add a material block to a geometry
Delete Material Block Click to delete a defined Material Block
Show Scale Grid Show/hide grid while displaying particle shapes
Show Origin Show origin and particles as a mesh when displaying particle shapes
Highlight Surface/Meta-Particle Highlights selected surface of particle shape/selected Meta-Particle
Add Meta-Particle Click to add a Meta-Particle
Rename Meta-Particle Click to rename a Meta-Particle
Copy Meta-Particle Click to copy a Meta-Particle
Delete Meta-Particle Click to delete a Meta-Particle


In addition to the icon system, a series of keyboard shortcuts in the Creator Tree help you perform the same tasks. You can use the Delete key for single and multiple selections.

File Menu

  • Open opens an existing model.
  • New creates a new model.
  • Save saves the current model.
  • Save As saves the current model with a specific name, or to a specific location.
  • Geometry Transforms exports geometry transforms.
  • Import Config imports a config (*.dfg) file.
  • Export Config exports a config (*.dfg) file.
  • Creator starts the EDEM Creator.
  • Simulator starts the EDEM Simulator.
  • Analyst starts the EDEM Analyst.
  • Recent Files displays a list of recently opened files. Select a file to open it.
  • Quit exits EDEM.

Tools > Options

The Options dialog box comprises settings for the following items:

  1. Additional Components
    1. RecurDyn Coupling
      When this checkbox is enabled, a new option called Import Geometry from RecurDyn is displayed after you right-click Geometries in the Creator Tree. This allows you to read a *.wall file produced by RecurDyn allowing you to import a geometry from RecurDyn.
      Once the geometry is imported and the coupling interface is enabled, RecurDyn can control the geometry motion in EDEM. The forces experienced by these geometries are passed back to RecurDyn, which then calculates any motions resulting from these forces.
    2. Abaqus Coupling
      When this checkbox is enabled, the EDEM Analyst displays a new option called Abaqus Co-Simulation under the Tools Menu allowing you to couple EDEM with Abaqus FEA.
  2. Data Browser
    Used to configure the color of the data browser text and background.
  3. Display Options
    1. Background Color
      Used to change the fill color of the Viewer background. The background can be colored with a solid or gradient fill. The color change will affect the Creator, Simulator, and Analyst.
    2. User Logo
      Used to apply a custom logo to the Viewer window. The logo can be positioned, scaled, faded as required.
  4. File Locations
    Used to determine the location of the following:
    1. Materials Database
      Displays the location of the users materials database, used to store and transfer materials to and from simulations.
    2. GEMM Database
      Displays the location of the Generic
      EDEM Material Model database, used to set the location of the database to import to EDEM.
    3. Contact Models
      Displays the location of custom (user-defined) contact models, see the
      EDEM Programming Guide for more information on user defined models.
    4. Particle Body Force
      Displays the location of custom (user-defined) particle body force models.
    5. Particles
      Displays the location of particles saved independently of the model for reuse in other projects.
    6. Factories
      Displays the location of any user-defined factories.
  5. Mouse Configuration
    Used to configure how the mouse can be used to alter the display in the Viewer.
    1. Camera Actions
      Changes the mouse button and modifier key used to pan, track, zoom, and rotate the camera. Modifier keys assign keys to perform the specified camera action. Select any unique combination of three mouse buttons and three keys for each motion.
    2. Rotate on Axis
      Changes the mouse button and modifier key used to rotate on an axis. You can also set rotation on the model axis or screen axis for both horizontal and vertical rotations.
    3. Bin Control
      Bin tools and Sensor tools in the Analyst can be moved through mouse selection. First select the bin to change the color from blue to green. Using the Bin Control Modifier (default
      Ctrl), move the bin through the Pan, Track, Axis Locked Rotation, and Free Rotation options. The Bin Control Modifier can be set  to any of the options available in the dropdown.
    4. Mouse Sensitivity
      The mouse sensitivity can be altered independently for tracking and zooming. You can also specify modifier keys for each sensitivity setting.
  6. Rendering Options
    1. Use legacy particle display
      Select this option if EDEM cannot use the Computer Graphics Card and applies when using Remote Desktop or EDEM on computers with out-of-date graphics card drivers.
    2. Display Templates
      D CAD files can be used as particle templates. Templates can be used as a guide (outline) to help define the shape of your particle in the Creator as well as providing, if required, the shape for calculation of the center of gravity and mass moments of inertia, or as a display option in the Analyst.
      When a model containing a particle template is saved, an extra file (.ptf) is created. If this file is deleted, the template information will no longer be stored within the model.Multi-Sphere Particles with Template rendering
  7. Section Options
    1. Creator
      • Timestep on Switch
        Switching to the Creator automatically loads the last Time Step.
      • Hide Electrostatics
        This option should be selected unless using the electrostatics contact model as it enables a series of options in the interface which are electrostatic contact model-specific.
    2. Simulator
      1. Compress Save Data
        When selected, EDEM will compress the simulation data as it is saved to minimize file size. Unselecting this option will reduce the time taken to save but increase the file size.
      2. Timestep on Switch
        When selected, the last Time Step will be displayed when switching to the Simulator, otherwise the current Time Step will be displayed.
    3. Analyst
      • Timestep on File Load
        Models can be loaded into the Analyst with the first or last Time Step appearing first.
      • Display
        • Auto Update Display
          Toggles whether the display is automatically updated when changing display properties, or whether an Apply button is present and must be pressed first.
        • Axis Key
          Turns the display of the Axis key in the Viewer on or off.
        • Domain Box
          Turns the display of the boundary box (marking the domain edges) in the Viewer on or off.
        • Timestamp
          Turn the display of the time stamp in the Viewer on or off.
    4. Data Export Defaults
      • Notation
        Specifies the default format when exporting data via the data export tool. Options are Smart, Fixed-Point, and Scientific.
      • Precision
        Specifies the corresponding default precision when exporting data via the data export tool.
  8. Simulator Engine
    Select the standard or GPU simulator engine. On creating a new simulation, the Simulator Engine will default to the one set in the Tools Menu. In the Simulator, you can change the engine used and this information is stored for every simulation in the simulation_name.dfg file. While opening existing simulations, the displayed engine will have the last saved setting for the simulation.
    When starting a new simulation, EDEM defaults to the Maximum Cores available on the local PC. You can set the default number of cores using the Simulator Engine > Default Number of Cores menu. This can be set once for every user and then EDEM will default to the selected setting.
    Simulator max CPU options
  9. Units Configuration
    1. Used to define the measurement units used throughout EDEM.

View Menu

  1. Show Particles
    Turns the particle display in the Creator on or off.

  2. Parent-Child Lines
    Select to turn the particle display in the Creator on or off.

  3. Themes
    Shows the EDEM interface with Legacy Theme (default) or Dark Theme.

Displays Menu

Splits the EDEM view window into multiple displays, allowing multiple viewer windows to review different view-points of the model within each window.

Help Menu

  1. Help
    Provides relevant information about the
    EDEM interface.
  2. About EDEM
    Provides information about the current version of
    EDEM . The EDEM Version and Revision number are useful for EDEM technical support when discussing support cases.
  3. About Altair Simulation Products
    Provides access to the Copyright notices, Altair website, License Agreements, and Customer Support.

Data Browser (Creator)

The Data Browser is an .html page that displays detailed information about your model. The information displayed differs between the Creator, Simulator, and Analyst. Right-click in the Data Browser and select Save to save the information in an .html file.

The Data Browser (Creator) comprises the following sections:


The description is provided in the Project section of the Creator Tree.


  1. Gravity
    Displays details of the gravity acting in your model as specified in the Creator Tree.

  2. Materials
    Lists all materials used in the model and their properties, as specified in the Materials Editor.

  3. Energy
    Displays the total energy in the model at the current time, which is the sum total of the kinetic energy, potential energy, and the energy in any contacts taking place.


  1. Domain
    Lists the dimensions of the domain as specified in the Creator Tree.

  2. Sections
    Lists each section(model) and its properties.

  3. Geometry Totals
    Totals the details of the number of elements that make up each section of the geometry.


  1. Particles
    Lists each particle type used in the model and their properties. This contains either sphere data for Multi-Sphere, and Sphero-Cylinder data or mesh data for polyhedral particles.

  2. Factories
    Lists the details of each factory used in the model and their properties as specified in the Creator Tree. The total number of particles created by each factory is also listed.

  3. Particle Totals
    Lists the total number of particles in the model at the current time and for each particle type are also listed.


  1. Interactions
    Lists the interaction types taking place in the model as specified in the Materials Editor.

  2. Contact Totals
    Lists the total number of contacts in progress at the current time. The contacts are broken down into contact types: For example, the number of particle A - particle B contacts or number of particle B - surface A contacts. The total number of collisions that have taken place during the Time Step are also listed.

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