New app helps you understand structural and thermal product performance before committing to physical prototyping.
The biggest news at the PlanetPTC Live 2011 event was the launch of the first set of Creo applications. Creo, as you might remember, was announced in October 2010 to replace existing Pro/Engineer, CoCreate, and ProductView products. PTC is now beginning to deliver CAD and PLM software as individual Creo applications. One of the first new apps announced at PlanetLive 2011 is Creo Simulate.
The software enables 3D virtual prototyping so you can test a range of structural and thermal properties of your design early in the detailed design process before you make the first physical part. Ideally, you can evaluate product performance and optimize designs early in the design process.
There are two aspects that set Creo Simulate apart from other CAE packages, according to John Buchowski, PTC’s vice-president of product management. “The first is that Creo Simulate is based on the same underlying solution technology as the company’s Mechanica solver. The adaptive P method solver assumes the responsibility for providing converged results – lessening the workload on the engineer or analyst as in other systems. The second is that Creo Simulate is based on the Creo platform. This configuration offers many benefits such as seamless interoperability with Creo Direct or Parametric with no data translation, a consistent user experience with other Creo apps, and seamless data management in Windchill.”
A few features and benefits
The software supports a variety of analysis types ranging from structural static and steady state thermal to dynamic and transient analyses. Recent enhancements include an expansion of PTC’s nonlinear structural and thermal capabilities with support for more sophisticated analyses such as plasticity, large displacement, and sliding contact with load stepping – all fully coupled in a single analysis.
In addition, because no translation or import is required when simulating Creo Direct or Parametric models, there is no penalty in rework for starting to run your simulations sooner or more often in a design cycle. PTC says that when you make the design-simulation loop smaller it increases the number of cycles that can be performed. This phenomenon can reduce the risk of error, help you meet design requirements, and potentially open the door for investigating more design alternatives.
By leveraging the common data model, designs analyzed in the separate Creo Simulate application are accessing all the same geometry and meta-data, such as material properties, as are accessed by the authoring applications (Creo Parametric and Creo Direct). In this manner, you can enjoy all the benefits of a best in class role-specific application as well as the data continuity of a more traditional architecture.
Geometric based modeling in Creo Simulate preserves the simulation model as the CAD geometry is modified in Creo Parametric or Creo Direct. This enables quick and easy what-if studies, automated sensitivity, and optimization studies.
Buchowski says that there are other things to be excited about. “First is that there is no data translation required and no worries about import failures or errors when used with Creo Direct or Parametric. Second are simulation features or modeling objects specific to CAE that are intuitive for engineers to use. Some examples include pin constraints, bearing loads, or bolt connections. Third, the software leverages the common ribbon interface that is familiar to any user of Microsoft Office applications. Lastly, leveraging the Creo kernel geometry, intensive tasks that challenge other systems such as simulating assemblies and generating mid-surface geometries can be handled easily.”
Meshing, modeling, and thermal tools
The new app offers mixed meshing options such as solids, shells, and beams. These flexible tools offer both automatic and user-controlled meshing. In addition, the software offers both automatic geometry cleanup and diagnostics. There are multiple modeling entities to simulate complex designs including springs, masses, beams, and shells.
The software helps you query results values directly on the model using simple mouse clicks and get results in fringe, iso-plot, vector plot, or graph. Another helpful feature is the ability to automate results-creation using templates. And, you can compare model iterations side-by-side. The software outputs MPEG, VRML, JPEG, EXCEL, TIFF, and HTML reports. You can output, solve, and post-process models in either NASTRAN or ANSYS programs.
You can capture actual model geometry “as-designed,” not as an approximation as is the case with traditional CAE products. In addition, the broad range of analysis capabilities let you analyze static stress and displacement, evaluate natural frequency, solve for buckling factors of safety, and perform steady state thermal analyses for temperatures and fluxes.
Designers in analysis arena
Increasingly, more and more designers are taking advantage of CAE technology for a variety of reasons such as software ease of use and shortened cycle times. Buchowski noted, “When designers perform analyses, there are a few different areas where uncertainty and errors can enter into the mix. Some of these are modeling related. Issues such as ‘Are the loads I am applying correct?’ ‘Are my material properties accurate?’ ‘Am I using the correct element formulation?’ and ‘Is my mesh fine enough to converge?’ Creo Simulate can help in these areas because users do not have to re-mesh repeatedly. Our technology helps reduce the burden on the user because the solver can achieve a converged and accurate solution without repeatedly re-meshing.”
In terms of its compatibility with standard CAD packages, Creo Simulate can open data from Creo Direct, Creo Parametric, and Creo elements/DirectCreo in addition to the standard neutral formats such as STEP and IGES. According to Buchowski, “In the coming maintenance builds of Creo 1.0, we will be adding support for SolidWorks, Inventor, NX, and CATIA. Some of these will require the purchase of additional adapters.”