ANSYS & SpaceClaim Streamline Engineering Design & Simulation Product Development

Wed, 09/09/2009 - 6:59am
David Mantey, Editor, PD&D

SpaceClaim 3D Direct Modeling with ANSYS 12.0 cuts a week of development to a day, a couple of days to an hour.

With traditional-based design and simulation approaches, an engineer would want to explore design modification and the regeneration of the model — which would say that SpaceClaim does not have the overcontraints. A new agreement with ANSYS removes that particular barrier in design exploration and optimization.

ANSYS (NASDAQ:ANSS) and SpaceClaim entered a licensing and distribution agreement this morning to offer SpaceClaim 3D Direct Modeling as an option within the ANSYS Simulation Driven Product Development processes.

The new ANSYS offering will enable product development and design engineers who are not CAD experts to create and modify 3D geometry models. As a result, engineers can import models from any major CAD system, prep with direct modeling and move simulation earlier in the product development process, where it can have the most impact on design and cost.

“SpaceClaim is a much more approachable tool for a typical engineer who is not a CAD jockey,” says Scott Gilmore, a director of product management, ANSYS. “They can easily pick up the program and use it to modify geometries. The same is true with a conceptual design; a typical engineer can pick it up pretty quickly.”

These before-and-after shots demonstrate how ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler finds and fixes problematic areas, creating clean geometry for meshing and analysisAccording to Gilmore, a large portion of ANSYS customers prefer to build simplified models or conceptual models in the analysis environment, coupled with the analysis tools. Engineers can now significantly reduce time-to-market by reducing the overall time it takes to perform repeated analyses when exploring geometry changes. Users will also reduce material costs in using the analysis to figure out how to minimize weight and maintain performance. 

“We have a couple of customers who have gone from four days to one day, from a blank screen to analysis,” says Gilmore. “We have some customers who have gone from two days of model prep to one hour. These are pretty compelling values that the ANSYS customers are receiving.”

Now available to ANSYS engineering customers worldwide, ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler fully interoperates with ANSYS 12.0 and 11.0 software as well as ANSYS Workbench 2.0. It is based on SpaceClaim Engineer, a CAD-neutral 3D direct modeler for importing, repairing and preparing models for intense engineering analysis.

Because direct modeling is highly flexible, it empowers a broader cross section of product development engineers to perform 3D modeling. Users may import CAD models without any baggage, such as existing parametric or history-based settings. Complex models, for example, can have thousands of parameters, any of which may come into conflict with others when the user attempts to modify the geometry. In contrast, direct modeling imports a clean instance of the 3D model from the native CAD system, leaving behind all history-based parameters.

ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler supports shared topology. This brake caliper assembly was imported from ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler into ANSYS Workbench, with and without mesh.“The product is bundled and tightly integrated with the flagship products ANSYS 12.0 and ANSYS 11.0,” says Rich Moore, vice president of SpaceClaim. “This product provides ANSYS customers with the ability to work with 3D direct models. In the past, ANSYS users had to wait for 3D models to come from the detailed design (CAD) systems. Now, using direct modeling, the user can validate and verify upfront – significantly collapsing time-to-market.”

What happens now is that so much IP is included in the detailed design that when it comes to analysis, many of the CAD operators/designers will output models into and IGES or STEP format, which in essence turns the models into dumb models, according to Moore.

Using the ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler, the end users will now be able to take those dumb models and add dimensions and parameters on the fly, turning those objects into something that can be analyzed and optimized.

“Together, SpaceClaim and ANSYS provide an optimal environment for streamlined engineering simulation and can help our customers launch products with a higher probability of market success,” says Jim Cashman, president and CEO of ANSYS.

“Our software is intentionally open and flexible, designed so it can interoperate with the broader engineering simulation ecosystem to extend efficiency and functionality. Part of Simulation Driven Product Development is reducing the hand-offs between different functional groups within an organization — because each hand-off is a potential bottleneck. Through this partnership, we empower engineering analysts to create and modify 3D geometry models early in the product development process, then virtually and quickly test their operational performance. The ultimate benefit is beating the competition to market.”

ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler is designed to enable engineering and analysis teams to collaborate more efficiently by facilitating access to 3D models and data across the engineering team.

These before-and-after shots demonstrate how ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler finds and fixes problematic areas, creating clean geometry for meshing and analysis“If you look at ANSYS’ ability to offer a combination of structural, thermal, fluid and electromagnetic analysis, it creates a situation where the end user needs a direct modeler to do the different types of modeling for each one of those physics,” says Moore.

For example, in structural analysis an engineer wants to remove all the holes and fillets for a quick, smooth mesh and efficient runtime. In fluid analysis, an engineer wants to extract the air and perform a volume extraction. In thermal analysis, he/she wants shared topology — where the topology on the geometry is the same topology that is meshed once inside of ANSYS. These are modeling techniques tailored for the engineering community.

“We’ve been working with SpaceClaim for two years now to integrate their software with the ANSYS Workbench platform to provide bidirectional associativity between the modeler and the ANSYS environment,” says Gilmore. “The user can very quickly build and change geometries within SpaceClaim and those changes are automatically reflected downstream inside the ANSYS analyses. Through the bidirectional associativity, the ANSYS tools can modify the geometric shapes based on the analysis to optimize the behavior of a product and send those changes back up to SpaceClaim”

Traditionally, the history-based approach to modeling often introduces too many constraints. The constraints make it difficult for engineers to modify the geometries in a robust way as part of the analysis. This new agreement will help engineers design products that behave better or are less expensive to manufacture.

“Most of the ANSYS users, the analysis community, are not CAD experts,” adds Moore. “They are not versed in one of the CAD systems, but they can learn SpaceClaim as a direct modeler and it is quite natural and very comfortable.”

In the multiphysics world that the ANSYS community has moved to, a user requires a three-dimensional model. Now a model can either be created or modified using the new software, where in the past an engineer had to wait for someone to deliver a model.

3D direct modeling is now becoming more widely adopted and people understand that it is not for detailed design, that’s why man created CAD. The direct modeler is for engineers that need 3D models to do verification and validation upfront and as fast as possible.

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