Category Archives: Research brief

Model-based systems engineering tackles product complexity

Automotive and off-highway were the first industries forced by the mechatronics revolution to move their engineering practices out of habits rooted in 1950s-era product architectures, into 21st-century methods grounded in simulation-led, systems-driven product development. Today’s smart, connected, self-aware and situationally aware cars, trucks and agricultural and construction equipment—managed by ultra-sophisticated onboard mechatronic systems-of-systems—are almost as far advanced from earlier-generation mechanical devices governed by primitive electromechanical (if that) control systems as relativity and quantum mechanics were from the classical physics of Newton and Maxwell. Products of that complexity simply can’t be successfully developed, integrated and validated using last-century tools and methods that leave discovery and remediation of system-level design flaws until detail design or even, disastrously, delivery to market. Continue reading

PTC, ANSYS to develop platform solution enabling digital simulation for the Industrial IoT

PTC and ANSYS partnered to accelerate the industry-wide move to bring engineering modeling and simulation to the Industrial IoT.

Just before the start of LiveWorx 2017, PTC’s annual mega-event around all things IIoT, the two leaders agreed to develop a solution that will let ANSYS engineering simulation technology be rapidly added to applications built on the ThingWorx Industrial IoT platform from PTC. Development of a connector between these two technology platforms will let customers transform raw data into new forms of actionable intelligence, the companies said. The connector will integrate intelligent digital simulation models with products as they exist and operate in the real world, the companies explained. The aim is to open up new opportunities for companies to create value by enabling them to optimize operations and maintenance and to integrate them into their product development processes. Continue reading

VIRES acquisition by MSC Software accelerates Hexagon’s simulation portfolio and autonomous X strategy

Intelligent, self-aware and situationally aware products capable of autonomous or semi-autonomous operation—reliably and without fail, under every possible set of conditions and circumstances—is fast becoming a, if not indeed the, key competitive mandate for virtually every discrete manufacturing industry today.

A powerful suite of engineering modeling and simulation technologies to help fulfill that mandate will now become available from MSC Software. A unit of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, MSC just announced an agreement to acquire VIRES Simulationstechnologie GmbH, recognized and respected as a leading provider of a software toolchain that supports the development, testing and validation of automated driving, driver assistance and active safety systems. Continue reading

Looking forward in software development: An interview with MSC Software VP of Product Development Doug Neill

Doug Neill is an expert in the aerospace industry, and a recognized, respected voice in the engineering community. He is best known for his work on multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) technologies in the aerospace industry, and for his involvement with various organizations such as AIAA (the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics), where he was a leading member of the MDO technical committee for two tours across seven years.

After joining MSC Software, Doug became the company’s representative on the Aerospace Flutter Dynamics Council (AFDC), a private technical committee focused on aeroelastic simulation methods for the aerospace industry. MSC is the only software vendor that is a permanent invited member of that committee, because of MSC’s expertise in, and early and ongoing commercial support of, the relevant technologies. From all his experiences—beginning as a technical contributor, researcher and aerospace engineer, to his management of contracts, aerospace vertical applications, Nastran products and now MSC’s product development organization—Doug has a developed a unique philosophical outlook on leadership. Continue reading

Fieldscale SENSE and Charge: Engineering modeling of touchscreens on the cloud

Declaring “the dream that drives all our operations is to extend the boundaries of simulation,” Fieldscale says its mission is to “build software simulation tools that work out-of-the-box and deliver exceptionally powerful technology integrated in a clear, singular user environment, and ultimately to make this technology accessible to every engineer.” Continue reading

CosiMate from Chiastek: Co-simulation conduit for multifidelity systems modeling

How to efficiently and effectively co-simulate whole-product functional systems models that include component subsystem models at differing levels of abstraction, or fidelity, has long vexed product engineering teams and simulation technology providers alike. Now, a powerful, elegant solution to this obstacle to faster, more efficient and effective model-based systems engineering (MBSE) is available in CosiMate, the core software product from Chiastek.

This tremendously exciting new technology breaks through what has long stood as one of the worst obstacles to implementing truly production-level MBSE: the difficulty of co-simulating whole-product functional systems models whose component subsystem models are at varying levels of fidelity. As they almost invariably are. Continue reading

Sigmetrix launches EZtol: New 1D tolerance stackup analysis software democratizes GD&T

Sigmetrix is an engineering software and services provider with world-leading expertise in GD&T (geometric dimensioning and tolerancing) and mechanical variation. Its flagship product, CETOL 6σ, is tolerance analysis software that gives product development teams the insight required to confidently release designs to manufacturing. Through precise calculation of surface sensitivities, the software identifies those dimensions in a product assembly that are critical to quality. Using advanced mathematical techniques and algorithms, CETOL 6σ accelerates optimization to achieve robust designs ready for manufacturing.

Now Sigmetrix is expanding its software product portfolio with EZtol, a new 1D software solution designed to let designers and engineers quickly understand the impact of part and assembly variation on fit and performance of their product designs. Continue reading

EZtol user interface.

Water pump design: Geometry optimization for a shrouded impeller

For CFD-driven shape optimization of water pumps with shrouded impellers, it’s essential to have an efficient variable-geometry model defined by a set of relevant parameters (design variables). This case-study example focuses on geometry modeling of a typical water pump, with the goal of attaining maximum flexibility in shape variation and fine-tuning.

To begin, the geometry was set up in CAESES (CAE System Empowering Simulation), the software platform from FRIENDSHIP SYSTEMS that helps engineers design optimal flow-exposed products. CAESES provides simulation-ready parametric CAD for complex free-form surfaces, and targets CFD-driven design processes. Its specialized geometry models are ideally suited to automated design exploration and shape optimization. Continue reading

Variation of meridional contours.

Global materials engineering group Wall Colmonoy streamlines casting process with virtual prototyping

With the ability to chain together results from simulating multiple manufacturing processes, and to couple multiple physics domains such as fatigue and thermal properties, virtual performance engineering leader ESI Group observes that virtual prototyping plays an increasingly central role in contemporary state-of-the-art engineering practice. One ESI customer making notable strides in virtual prototyping is Wall Colmonoy, a global materials engineering group with world headquarters in Pontardawe, South Wales.

The company’s European headquarters in Swansea, UK began using ESI’s ProCAST casting simulation software in 2016 to assist in design and manufacture of precision cast components, mostly investment and sand castings. The software aids in rapid prototyping, design and manufacture of precisely engineered castings such as valve seats for oil and gas, valves for homogenizers in the food industry, seaming chucks and rolls for canning industry, neck rings for glass container, and roll end bushes for the steel industry. Continue reading

ESI ProCAST solidification model of investment cast seaming chucks for the canning industry. Source: Wall Colmonoy Ltd.


Frustum Generate topology optimization plus 3D Systems DMP expertise slash weight of GE Aircraft bracket 70%

A perennial engineering challenge is designing a part to meet performance requirements while observing design constraints imposed by manufacturing processes. Conventional subtractive machining offers sharply limited ability to cost-effectively produce complex geometries, especially biomorphic shapes and lattice structures. The result of those manufacturing limitations is often components and products with suboptimal functionality and performance.

But today, with advances in 3D printing and especially direct metal printing (DMP) swiftly making these technologies more and more available and effective, many constraints imposed by traditional manufacturing processes are going away. At the same time, software technologies for multidisciplinary design exploration are emerging to help engineering and manufacturing organizations make the most of these new production processes. In particular, rapid advances in topology optimization technology are helping engineers generate the most efficient designs for single-step manufacture by latest-generation DMP systems. With this combination of new technologies, what the engineer designs is essentially what gets manufactured, with very little of the time- and labor-intensive manufacturing engineering that before now was needed to turn engineering intent into machinable reality.

The business value of this confluence of new technologies was dramatically proven in a recent project by software developer Frustum and 3D Systems’ Quickparts on-demand parts service. The project was part of a public challenge to industry by GE Aircraft to reduce the weight of an aircraft bracket while maintaining the strength needed to meet all of its functional requirements, primarily supporting the weight of the cowling while the engine is in service. Continue reading