Things are moving on in the world of simulation. Not uniformly and not at the same rate. If you are in the aircraft industry then progress looks like increasingly large models, if you are in biomechanics it’s more complex geometry and loadings, but if you are a designer sitting in front of a CAD screen then simulation its pretty much what its always been. Or is it?
Simulation in the CAD environment traditionally means simple solutions neatly and attractively packaged.. Problems are easy to define. But sometimes the solver that comes neatly bundled in the CAD system struggles in situations that are still easy to define. It’s a real limiting factor when it comes to delivering useful results in a sensible timeframe.
It really isn’t worth going over the benefits of simulation in the design process at this point – if you aren’t up to speed on that stuff then…Those benefits are real and quantifiable, and have become a critical part of many design processes. So why compromise the whole thing? I sometimes wonder, however, if people realise that they are being sold short on solver reliability and performance. Just because somebody tells you something is great doesn’t mean it is – think of the political party you don’t vote for. If you believed the marketing material for most mid market CAD integrated solvers you’d begin to wonder why programs such as Abaqus exist at all…
At this point I have two slightly different messages. The first is that its not actually that big a leap to start using FEA code. A feature tree is a feature tree and geometry sharing via step and parasolid really does work. (I used to be on a committee that met every 3 months to discuss the issues around reading CAD data into FEA systems. It hasn’t met in years.) So anyone up to doing the simulation can use a stand alone program without a problem. We have proved it repeatedly, and have customers who routinely get designers to use Abaqus CAE.
The second point is that powering a CAD integrated system with a truly decent solver has already been done. Dassault Systemes’, being the owners of CATIA and Abaqus, are in a uniquely good position on this one, and have combined the two programs in the latest 3DExperience products. CAD look and feel in a managed environment, solver capabilities as good as you can get.