A novel simulation method to determine the displacements of machine tools due to thermal factors is presented. The specific characteristic of this method is the employment of original CAD data from the design process chain, which is interpreted by an algorithm in terms of geometry-based allocation of convection and radiation parameters. Furthermore analogous models relating to the thermal behaviour of machine elements are automatically implemented, which were gained by extensive experimental testing with thermography imaging. With this a transient simulation of the thermal field and in series of the displacement of the machine tool is possible simultaneously during the design phase. This method was implemented and is already used industrially in the design of machining centres in order to improve the quality of herewith manufactured workpieces.