Transient simulations play a key role in the analysis and subsequent design of structural components with one or more rotating parts. A framework is proposed to this effect, centered around the finite-element solver OptiStruct, consisting of a time integration scheme built on the Newmark family with an appropriate adaptive time-step control. The process accounts for a computationally efficient handling of nonlinearities that might arise through bearings and casings. This solution is detailed starting from the governing equations for transient rotor dynamics to the nuances of the time marching scheme, and this process is applied to a test case from which conclusions are drawn that might be of interest to practicing engineers. These conclusions include insights into enforced motion, operation at or near critical speeds, rotor damping and contact. This work is aimed at producing a user-friendly and robust tool and process for the practicing engineer to perform complex rotor dynamic analysis.