Ora Research
the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice
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Ora 21

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NPSS: VARIABLE-FIDELITY, MULTIDISCIPLINARY MODELING AND SIMULATION ENVIRONMENT FOR AEROSPACE
3/13/2014 9:21:13 AM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice

A central challenge in design space exploration is finding ways to carry out mixed-fidelity modeling and simulation – 0D, 1D, 2D, 3D – for any given class of product. Recently we reported how Comet Solutions, Inc.’s new Driveline SimApps are making this possible for automotive driveline manufacturers. Another important example of this capability is NPSS (Numerical Propulsion System Simulation), an object-oriented, nonlinear thermodynamic modeling environment used by the aerospace industry for modeling turbomachinery, rocket engines, environmental control systems, ducting, vapor cycles and other equipment and phenomena.


Source: NASA HPCC InSights, Vol. 2

NPSS was first brought to our attention by Ron Plybon, manager of propulsion simulation technology at GE Aviation and member of a multi-company team that directed the code's development. By incorporating both low/medium-fidelity systems simulation and high-fidelity component simulation, he explained, NPSS has permissions for simulating at selectively increasing levels of detail – “because no matter how big computers get, there’s always a balance between what you can afford to do and have time to do, and what you want to do.” This variable-fidelity capability enables “robust component simulation and also practical system simulation” in a single environment.

NPSS originated in the mid-1990s as a project led by NASA Glenn Research Center to develop a rapid simulation capability for engine design. A key objective was to help engine manufacturers develop engine performance models that could be shared with airframe manufacturers and integrated into vehicle system models far more rapidly and easily than with existing methods and tools.

The project team in the initial NASA/Industry Cooperative Effort agreement consisted of propulsion experts and software engineers from GE Aircraft Engines, Pratt & Whitney, The Boeing Company, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce Corporation, Williams International, Teledyne Continental Motors, Arnold Engineering Development Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base and NASA Glenn.

Their goal was to create a numerical “test cell” that would let engineers create complete engine simulations overnight on cost-effective computing platforms. “Using NPSS,” NASA Glenn said at the time, “engine designers will be able to analyze different parts of the engine simultaneously, perform different types of analysis simultaneously (e.g., aerodynamic and structural), and perform analysis in a more efficient and less costly manner.”

LIVEREVIEW AMPLIFIES SPACECLAIM’S POWER FOR CONCEPTUAL ENGINEERING, REAL-TIME TEAM DECISION-MAKING
3/3/2014 9:53:50 AM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice

SpaceClaim Corporation announced the immediate availability of 2014 Service Pack 1 that includes two new tools for SpaceClaim Engineer 2014: LiveReview, a cloud-enabled live 3D collaboration system formerly code-named “Connect,” and a new STL Prep for 3D Printing module.

LiveReview, in the company’s words, “provides a secure session where more than one user can engage and contribute simultaneously to editing a model in real time. SpaceClaim’s LiveReview extends SpaceClaim Engineer’s intuitive interface, interoperability, and speed into a hosted session, accessible through any WebGL-capable browser on a computer or mobile device. Even engineers without any 3D modeling software can actively review, edit or model live online.”

All SpaceClaim customers currently on active subscription will have early access to LiveReview for six months beginning today. Price for an annual subscription to LiveReview will be $500 when the early-access period ends.

From demos we’ve seen, one of the greatest strengths of LiveReview is how it amplifies the ways that SpaceClaim empowers engineers, workgroups and project teams in the critical, high-leverage activities of conceptual engineering and preliminary design – phases of product development whose 3D modeling, spatial reasoning and visual collaboration needs long had to make do with little more than hand sketching and superficial rendering and markup tools.

Back in 2009 we studied a half-dozen SpaceClaim users in depth to find out what this new software was giving them that they hadn’t been getting from their 3D CAD, mockup or visualization tools. Below are excerpts from a white paper reporting our findings at the time [3D Engineering: How 3D Direct Modeling Empowers Conceptual Engineering and Enables Simulation-Driven Product Development, available from our White paper library]. To underscore what today’s announcement means, we’ve highlighted in bold the documented benefits of SpaceClaim Engineer that we believe LiveReview takes to new levels.

RAPID CONCEPT GENERATION IN 3D – The freedom to rapidly generate, study, experiment with, and modify product concepts is a key need of engineers. One SpaceClaim user we studied works for a major manufacturer of defense vehicles. His job, as lead physical architect of a vehicle modernization program with 10 platform variants, is to ensure that all components involved — each subsystem and design variant — are integrated correctly, with no physical clashes in the virtual environment before fabrication and assembly of the vehicles begin. “One of the things we use SpaceClaim for,” he said, “is to rapidly generate concepts. To come up with several packaging concepts for our engine compartment, we import Pro/ENGINEER and NX models of engines, exhaust, air intakes, cooling modules, and fuel systems into SpaceClaim, then move components around inside the package envelope. SpaceClaim is a starting point to spark conversation.”

A BETTER BRAINSTORMING TOOL – Another company we studied is a medical device manufacturer that uses SpaceClaim to model cancer electrotherapy devices and the body tissue into which they will be inserted. “People will use SpaceClaim more and more in activities where we sit together and do brainstorming,” envisions the principal design engineer driving the software’s adoption at his firm. The reason – “it’s quick and easy to make changes.”

ANSYS FY 2013 EARNINGS CALL: STRATEGY NOTES
3/1/2014 11:19:17 AM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice

Some thematic highlights of CEO Jim Cashman’s remarks during ANSYS, Inc.’s Q4 and FY 2013 earnings call:

ANSYS 15…provided a number of new and advanced multiphysics capabilities that were seamlessly brought together within the ANSYS Workbench environment. It’s really a key milestone in delivering simulation-driven product development that we've been talking about for a number of quarters and years. It’s built on that platform that streamlines the workflow among different simulation applications…

“…We’re continuing to see the growing importance of product innovation, integrity and quality as being the really critical business issues requiring the use of advanced simulation and driving our prospects.”

On the acquisition of Reaction Design and its technology for combustion chemistry simulation:

“We talked a lot about automotive over the last couple years. Obviously, there’s one element that relates to hybrid, but there’s also things that relate to conventional internal combustion engines. We’ve also talked about the same thing when it comes to power generation and diesel engines and all the new clean standards going on. And we've also talked about the importance in the aero industry for increased fuel efficiency…And obviously, one part of increased efficiency when you’re talking about increasing the CAFE standards of automobiles, when you’re talking about reducing fuel costs for airlines and things like that, it gets into the general field of combustion. And combustion now starts to bring in the chemical reaction of thermodynamics simulations in addition to some of the other ones that we’ve done, and it’s part of that overall systems modeling strategy.”

AAM SEES DRAMATIC PRODUCTIVITY GAINS, COST SAVINGS FROM AUTOMATING NVH ANALYSIS PROCESS WITH NEW COMET NVH DRIVELINE SIMAPP
2/25/2014 5:49:19 AM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice

American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. (AAM) is a leading global Tier-One automotive supplier of driveline and drivetrain systems and related components for light trucks, SUVs, passenger cars, crossover vehicles and commercial vehicles. The company has a long history of successfully using FEA to master the many NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) challenges in any driveline engineering project – gear whine, gear rattle, shudder/moan/chatter, clunk, propshaft instability and others. Nevertheless, its traditional simulation methods had limitations:

  • Constraints on engineering productivity and resources made it a challenge to compete on cost without sacrificing innovation.
  • Manual processes and dependence on CAE experts resulted in lengthy cycles of two to three hours per analysis iteration.
  • Errors in analysis were a risk due to manual work, impacting reliability and cost.

To attack these limitations, AAM decided to implement Comet Solutions, Inc.’s NVH Driveline SimApp – a new software application that lets users set up and utilize libraries of parameterized 3D, 2D, 1D and 0D (mixed-fidelity) representations of propshafts, axles and related components to fully automate the configuration and NVH analysis of driveline systems. The result is a single environment for driveline NVH analysis that allows quick and easy evaluation of any geometry, without the manual effort of traditional approaches.

Glen Steyer, AAM’s Executive Director of Product Engineering, reports major benefits from the new tool:

  • Average 75% time reduction for each analysis iteration.
  • Approximately $130,000 in annual cost savings at a single engineering site.
  • Improved quality through globally enforced standards and practices which remove human error.
  • Ability to run many more NVH analysis iterations, leading to more design decisions, earlier.
  • Ability to redeploy resources as less experienced engineers are now able to safely run simulations.

AAM was so impressed that it now plans to deploy the NVH Driveline SimApp at its China and India engineering sites, then implement additional Comet Driveline SimApps to cover its entire CAE process including gear systems analysis and strength/stiffness calculations. Beyond the time reduction in analysis iterations, Steyer sees great strategic benefit in using Comet SimApps to make simulation experts’ knowledge more broadly available across engineering teams – as well as to help “forward-deploy” simulation to the earliest stages of product development, where it can have deep impact on innovation at the product architecture level.

ROBUST SIMULATION GROWTH BUCKS PLM SALES DOLDRUMS AS CAE ACQUISITION RACE HEATS UP
8/25/2013 4:45:08 PM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice

With simulation software revenues enjoying double-digit growth while PLM overall struggles to post even modest sales gains, both PLM and CAE leaders are buying up specialty simulation developers at a record clip.

AUTOMATING FMEA: NEXT-GENERATION FAILURE ANALYSIS FROM NANEVA
8/12/2013 9:53:23 AM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice

Failure mode and effects analysis, or FMEA, is a systematic technique for failure analysis originally developed by reliability engineers in the 1950s to study problems that might arise from malfunctions of military systems. Broadly defined, FMEA today is “a systematic group of activities intended to: (1) recognize and evaluate the potential failure, (2) identify actions that could eliminate or reduce the chance of the potential failure occurring, and (3) document the entire process” (AIAG, “Potential Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA),” 3rd ed., 2001). Primarily a qualitative rather than quantitative analysis, FMEA is an inductive process based on experience with similar products and processes, or on common physics of failure logic.

 

Source: “The Role of Automated FMEA in Automotive Reliability Development,”
Bradley W. Semp, Ayaz Pathan, Patrick E. Dessert, SAE Technical Paper Series 2006-01-1619

For any given product or process design, FMEA seeks to answer five key questions:

  • How can the application fail? (failure mode)
  • How likely is each mode of failure? (occurrence)
  • What is the effect of the failure? (failure effect)
  • How critical is the failure effect? (severity)
  • What can be done to reduce the risk of this failure? (design controls)
DASSAULT SYSTÈMES ACQUIRES FE-DESIGN FOR FLUID/STRUCTURE OPTIMIZATION, TOUTS TOSCA’S NON-PARAMETRIC OPTIMIZATION TECHNOLOGY
4/29/2013 1:33:14 PM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice

Dassault Systèmes acquired FE-DESIGN GmbH, developer of the respected TOSCA Fluid software for topology optimization of channel flow problems, and TOSCA Structure for topology, shape and bead optimization of structures. Signaling that design space exploration has the attention of DS’s top management, CEO Bernard Charlès said during the company’s quarterly earnings call on April 25, “In our opinion [FE-DESIGN] is the technology leader for non-parametric optimization,” as well as “complementary to our parametric optimization capabilities.”

We agree the TOSCA technology strongly complements and augments Isight, DS SIMULIA’s longstanding solution for design space exploration which provides size, parametric shape, geometric parameter, and multidisciplinary optimization, as well as design of experiments (DOE), approximations, design for Six Sigma (DFSS), interactive post-processing tools, and a framework that lets users integrate and automate simulation process flows. We expect the FE-DESIGN technologies will be integrated with the Isight environment and its companion SIMULIA Execution Engine (SEE), which lets users distribute and parallelize the execution of simulations and Isight simulation process flows across available compute resources, and share Isight simulation process flows and results.

SPACECLAIM, ANSYS RENEW LICENSE/DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT: DIRECT MODELING ENABLES END-RUN AROUND CAD BARRIERS TO ANALYSIS WORKFLOWS
1/13/2013 12:01:57 PM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice 

SpaceClaim and ANSYS extended a license and distribution agreement originally signed in 2009. SpaceClaim will now be bundled with ANSYS DesignSpace, ANSYS Mechanical PrepPost and ANSYS CFD PrepPost. The objective, the companies said, is to “put SpaceClaim directly in the hands of engineers involved with early concept phase design work, where engineering simulation can deliver low-cost, high-impact system optimization, upstream of building the first physical prototype.”

Overcoming the longstanding CAD-CAE disconnects that impede analysis workflows is a priority for engineering organizations in every discrete manufacturing industry we study – automotive, aerospace, defense systems, medical devices, off-highway equipment, electronics, others. Now, more and more practitioners are discovering that 3D direct modeling tools such as SpaceClaim offer a solution – analysts can finally take geometry matters into their own hands.

AUTODESK: CLOUD, MOBILE SOLUTIONS DRIVE ENGINEERING/CONSTRUCTION SPENDING ON FIELD AUTOMATION; AEC REVENUE GROWTH BUCKS OVERALL Q3 DOWNTURN
11/16/2012 10:33:11 AM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice

Yesterday Autodesk reported results for its third fiscal quarter, ended October 31. Revenue was $548 million, compared with $549 million in Q3FY’12. GAAP operating margin was 6%, compared with 16% in the same quarter last year. Non-GAAP operating margin increased 190 basis points to 26%, compared with 25% a year ago.

“Our revenue results were disappointing and were primarily caused by a weakening demand environment,” president and CEO Carl Bass said. “While we experienced pockets of relative strength in the U.S., northern Europe and Russia, most other markets around the world slowed during the quarter, most notably emerging markets.” But “despite our overall revenue shortfall," he noted, "our ongoing focus on cost management delivered meaningful margin expansion and EPS above our guidance range."

By business segment, revenue from the Platform Solutions and Emerging Business (PSEB) segment decreased 2% to $205 million year-over-year. Revenue from the Manufacturing business segment decreased 1% to $132 million. Revenue from the Media and Entertainment business segment decreased 9% to $48 million. However, revenue from the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) business segment increased 7% to $163 million year-over-year. Asked about this during the earnings call, Bass replied, “Truthfully, that surprised us a little bit too. If I have to look at AEC, there has been some improvement in the AEC markets from the depths of the recession. We also talked about things like BIM that are reaching the tipping point.”

SIEMENS TO BUY LMS: CLOSED-LOOP, SYSTEMS-DRIVEN
11/8/2012 9:34:18 AM

Ora 21 the business and technology of twenty-first-century engineering practice

Siemens announced it will acquire LMS International NV, the Leuven, Belgium-based provider of test and mechatronic simulation software to automotive, aerospace and other highly engineered discrete manufacturing industries. Summing up its business and technical rationale, Siemens said the acquisition will make it “the first product lifecycle management (PLM) software company to provide a closed-loop systems-driven product development solution extending all the way to integrated test management.”

We agree. In sum, the move brings Siemens:

  • Deep competency in integrated physical test and simulation/test correlation.
  • World-class model-based systems engineering technology of AMEsim.
  • A substantial engineering services business – offering added insight to software product R&D as well as for developing engineering processes in tandem with new tool requirements.

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Ora 21Report: Design Space ExplorationWhite paper libraryWhat we doOur missionWho we areContact us