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Tag Archives: simulation/FEA

Ansys Acquires SpaceClaim

ANSYS acquires SpaceClaimANSYS announced on April 30th, 2014 that it has purchased SpaceClaim for the sum of $85 million in cash. Now that is a very interesting turn of events. Why? Because it puts ANSYS in the position to offer a well established history-free CAD software to a world that is demanding similar performance, all the while paving the path to a simulation driven manufacturing market populated by their well regarded (and often major client demanded) analysis software.

SpaceClaim’s history-free modeling platform allows users to create and manipulate any 3D-CAD models, no matter what software created them. Having SpaceClaim’s clean UI and history free CAD option with ANSYS software should mark a significant point in the ANSYS “Simulation Driven Product Development” strategy.

The Press Release

The announcement made by ANSYS in this press release also noted:

“This transaction is consistent with our strategic vision and M&A criteria, and accelerates our technological product roadmap to enhance our customer offering and drive growth,” said Jim Cashman, president and CEO of ANSYS. “SpaceClaim is an exciting addition to our portfolio, as it addresses unmet 3D modeling needs in the conceptual modeling, manufacturing and 3D printing spaces, which represents an audience of 5 million users. In addition to driving innovation, the addition of SpaceClaim helps ANSYS accelerate the growth of the simulation market by broadening our user base from analysts and expert users to the millions of design and systems engineers in the industry. We welcome the SpaceClaim team to ANSYS.”

Market Review

Some other interesting points noted by Monica Schnitger’s analysis:

  • ANSYS and SpaceClaim have been partners since 2007
  • ANSYS expects SpaceClaim’s revenue to be around $14 million this year
  • SpaceClaim’s 50 or so employees have moved to ANSYS except CEO Chris Randles and CFO Gregory Stott.
  • SpaceClaim has sold ~50,000 seats since the first release of its software
  • ANSYS states that the purchase will not affect the neutrality of the ANSYS model

She goes on to look at the expectation that ANSYS will be able to use this to expand it’s user base to 5 million seats. That’s a far reach from the noted 145000 seats of ANSYS in use (as of 2011). She however points out the long haul strategy [ed. umm.. REALLY long haul] that considers the 25 million engineers in manufacturing’s needs for better simulation and analysis capabilities, and 1.1 million commercial CAD seats. While most don’t want to move to simulation, some do, and many more will require it in the future.

My thoughts

Will ANSYS integrate SpaceClaim’s technology into their own CAD systems? No one has stated on way or another, but they certainly have the talent pool now. My thoughts are beginning to turn to certain CAD vendors that offer new modeling technologies alongside well positioned simulation platforms, and what this might mean for them.

What is certain is that ANSYS has a great opportunity to continue to market and sell SpaceClaim’s great CAD platform to the industry’s greater demand for history free, easy-to-use CAD software, while paving the way for CAD users, both old and new, to adopt ANSYS simulation.

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What’s New in Autodesk Simulation Products for 2015


Autodesk Simulation Products for 2015Autodesk has been working on their Simulation products both in the cloud and on desktop platforms.

This year’s lineup will include:

  • Autodesk Simulation Mechanical
  • Autodesk Simulation CFD
  • Autodesk Simulation Moldflow
  • Autodesk Simulation Composite Design
  • Autodesk Simulation Composite Analysis
  • Autodesk Robot and Structural Analysis
  • Autodesk Simulation 360

The changes to the products vary, and the following is simply a highlight of the big ticket items. We’ll go into more usability and performance enhancements in detail as product specific information becomes available in the weeks to come.

Autodesk Simulation Portfolio for 2015

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical

  • Decoupled design scenarios
  • Asynchronous workflows with Solver Manager
  • Non-Linear contact manager
  • Usability Enhancements in Linear Dynamics
  • Free Surface Models

Autodesk Simulation CFD

  • Advanced turbulence models
  • Simplified heat sink models
  • Refrigerant phase change

Autodesk Simulation Moldflow

  • Microchip encapsulation
  • Enhanced Speed and accuracy with Linux Support
  • Gate freeze accuracy improvements
  • Warpage and overmolding capabilities
  • Conformal Cooling Channel analysis with Simulation CFD

Autodesk Simulation 360

  • Thermal Stress derived from CFD results

Autodesk Simulation Composite

The announcement  of Autodesk’s purchase of Firehole Composites isn’t really news, but this is the first release cycle that the products have been featured in, so we are listing them here.

The Helius: Composite Pro product is featured as Autodesk Simulation Composite Design and gives users the ability to design simple structures and receive basic structural feedback without having to perform laborious hand calculations and approximate material constants.

Their Helius: MCT now becomes Autodesk Simulation Composite Analysis and offers a more complete and comprehensive analysis tool that includes my favorite addition: delamination prediction.

Don’t forget to check out Scott’s Product and Factory Design Suite changes for 2015.

Images shown hereon were furnished by Autodesk, Inc.

Autodesk Simulation Event at Destin Florida

Autodesk Simulation Panhandle FloridaThe Autodesk Simulation team is providing a simulation seminar in Destin, Florida, and will likely represent the first time the team has come within 100 miles of the area. The event will be held on Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at Regatta Bay Country Club starting at 12:00 hours (That’s noon for the uninitiated).


Regatta Bay Country Club

Members Lounge Conference Room

465 Regatta Bay Blvd.

Destin, FL 32541

The event is hosted by the Emerald Coast Autodesk Users Group. Tickets are provided through the following link:

Simulation Mechanical | Contact Layer Tip

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical Layer ControlDid you want to see exactly how Autodesk Simulation Mechanical is interpreting your contact pairs? This is how!

Layer Control

Head over to the Draw tab on the Ribbon. In the Design Panel you should see Layer Control. Picking this will start a small dialog that controls the visibility of the layers in the current model.

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical Layer 15 contact surface

Uncheck all but Layer 15. This contains the contact pair mesh. In the image above a large surface from each mating component was selected to define the contact. The result on Layer 15 shows how Simulation Mechanical interpreted that contact.


Simulation Mechanical | Adjust Inventor Parameters

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical 2013 Adjust Inventor ParametersDid you want direct access to the CAD model parameters in a more powerful simulation and analysis software? Autodesk Simulation Mechanical 2013 allows you to change the Autodesk Inventor Parameters and update the CAD model on the fly without having to start Inventor.

Inventor Parameters

This awesome addition can be found on the Ribbon’s Mesh tab, in the Cad Additions panel.

Starting this will invoke a dialog containing all the Inventor parameters and their relation to Inventor’s modeled features.

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical 2013 Adjust Inventor Parameters

The adjustments are developed in real time, from inside Simulation Mechanical/s interface. In the image above I adjusted the thickness parameter slightly to close the gap between contact surfaces. You can easily adjust parameters to add or remove mass in different scenarios.

Autodesk Inventor Parameter Change comparison in Simulation Mechanical 2013

In this example, I reduced the thickness from 0.040” to 0.010”.

TIP: after adjusting a parameter, pick the Update button. This applies the changes and rebuilds the model. If you don’t use the Update button, the changes are simply stored in the dialog, but the model does not change.

Changes and Caution

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical 2013 Editor after change     Autodesk inventor file remains unharmed after Simulation Mechanical adjustment

It clearly appears as though Simulation Mechanical is returning to the original CAD model and making changes there, before reimporting the model. In the image above you may notice all the suppressed features. These were not present in the initial CAD import as they were suppressed in the Inventor Level Of Detail. After making the thickness adjustment, the model is rebuilt and suddenly all the other components were imported.

I thought the inventor file was being manipulated permanently, however this does not appear to be the case. The image to the upper right shows the Inventor file which was opened directly after the Simulation Mechanical parameter adjustment. The Shell thickness remains the same inside Inventor. (I was a bit worried to tell you the truth Smile)

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical model changed in all scenaiosI took a look at my Thermal Analysis scenario, and unfortunately the model rebuild also affected that scenario as well. I was hoping that the parameters and subsequent adjustments could be maintained differently in each scenario, but that does not appear to be the case either. The image to the right shows how the previously solved Transient Thermal analysis is now arranged. Uggghh. I can always suppress them in the FEA Editor and rerun if necessary.

Simulation TV

James Herzing, mastermind at the Autodesk Sim Squad, provided a good video at Simulation TV on using this feature. Here’s the video.

James Herzing discusses using Inventor Parameters within Simulation Mechanical 2013

Closing Thoughts

I like the ability to make the adjustments to Inventor Parameters. However, with the benefit comes a cost: Be very aware of your FEA build and results, and be prepared to rerun your analyses after the change.


Autodesk Sim 360 Decision Center

Autodesk Sim 360 Thermal Stress AnalysisI am happy to see Autodesk Sim 360’s capabilities are being expanded continuously. The Decision Center is just another one of the great and easy to use features.

I was looking at the plastic deformation issues with a servo cover design and thermal stress. My motors don’t get too warm, but there have been a few issues in the past, and I was looking for a material that would hold up well to heat. While Simulation Mechanical was slugging along, I thought I’d spend an hour with my old friend Sim 360. I think it’s a positive reflection on software when you turn to it for relaxation… and yes this is what I was doing to relax (sad, but true).

Today’s Scenarios

I ran four scenarios as follows:

  1. static thermal analysis with a constant temperature of 200° F applied to the outer surface of my simplified servo body (sure it’s a lot, but I wanted to see what happened).
  2. Static Stress scenario, simple loading of gravity upon the signal connector, using ABS plastic
  3. Static Thermal Stress scenario, simple loading of gravity upon the signal connector, using ABS plastic
  4. Static Thermal Stress scenario, simple loading of gravity upon the signal connector, using Nylon

High temperatures and plastic don’t usually get along, but that’s expected. What is nice though is the ease that Sim 360 allows me to make comparisons.

Decision Center

I loaded the Decision Center, and selected the scenarios with the force loads. I then added goals, which were simply max/min factors for displacement, stress, and safety factor.

Autodesk Sim 360 Decision Center

Autodesk Sim 360 Decision CenterThe results were nicely delineated, and allowed me to make a quick judgment on how the materials compared in this situation. Using the Compare Workspace option, users can graphically see their models and results side by side. They really have streamlined this process nicely.

Autodesk Sim 360 Comparison Workspaces

It’s fairly clear that the more flexible Nylon experienced less stress, but may behave poorly overall. I used the Decision Center to review additional thickness possibilities as well, which took all of 5 minutes to create a new scenario, add thickness to the main shell body, and rerun the analysis.

Simulation Mechanical will do a great job computing the non-linear thermal stress analysis for the plastic deformation, which will allow me to see just how badly the component will be permanently deformed. That process may take a little while (understatement). Sim 360 provides a quick, easy way to compare substituted materials, in order to find a more realistic starting point, prior to the lengthy transient analyses.

What I am Looking Forward to

Sim 360 only handles linear analyses at this point. The ease of use is off the chart, and the ease of applying multiphysics loads couldn’t be simpler. Unfortunately I need two things rather badly.

  • A materials editor and/or the Simulation Mechanical materials database for plastic properties
  • Non-linear stress analysis with non-linear material properties

Once these two features are added, the capabilities of Sim 360 will span a very large need in the validation sphere, and do it easier than anything else available.