One of the cool byproducts of the new CAD modeling technologies (Synchronous Technology, SpaceClaim, Inventor Fusion) is the fit with analysis and product optimization. If you are just validating the design with FEA, the older history based technologies may not be much of a problem since you may not have to work with it. However, many companies want to fine tune the design to reduce material cost, increase strength and reliability or generally make design improvements.
The difficulty with history based systems for CAE can be one of several:
• If you don’t design your part with FEA modifications in mind it can be harder to make those modifications later.
• Trying to anticipate potential design changes in a history based model can take time and planning. Anticipating what the FEA analysis might want to change compounds the problem.
• The CAD designer is not always the person that will be doing the analysis. It can be hard for the analyst to make the changes to someone else’s history based model. Further, if the designer doesn’t know FEA, they may not have set up the model to help the analyst.
• The more time you spend with FEA, the less time you have to be a CAD expert, so easy-to-use CAD becomes important (it’s the flip side of many CAD Designers wanting easier FEA tools).
So, it’s not surprising we are starting to see more industry articles or blogs talking about FEA and the advantages of the new ways of modeling. This one from Autodesk is speculating about the potential use for Inventor Fusion. Jeff Waters from Space Claim talks about a 2 to 10x increase in preparing a model for analysis. Our own Jerry Sarfati talked about the integration of NX CAE and synchronous technology .
There is plenty of discussion about which new technology might be better and I don’t want to get into that in this post. The point is that if you do FEA analysis or are planning to take advantage of it in the future, Synchronous and similar technologies will likely make your work easier and more productive. I will try to provide a more concrete example in my next post.