Цифровая платформа по разработке и применению цифровых двойников CML-Bench®
Уникальный онлайн-курс «Цифровые двойники изделий»
CAD/CAE/CFD/CAO/HPC новости 24 Ноября 2004 года
Данная новость была прочитана 3603 раза

Рынок CAE технологий стремительно растет

A PLM industry analysis released late last summer by Daratech reported that computer-aided engineering (CAE) now accounts for about 25 percent of the PLM market. At its October 2004 Digital Product Simulation Conference, Daratech predicted that the CAE segment will continue to grow, while that of computer-aided design (CAD) will slow over the next 10 years, and that the value of the overall CAE market will reach $8 Billion in 2014.

That’s a big change from a decade ago, when CAD growth seemed potentially unlimited, the CAE market was generally placed at around $400 million, and the acronym PLM didn’t exist.

Behind this CAE growth, says Daratech Managing Editor and Analyst Tim Hickey, lie three major factors: the competitive and economic pressures on companies to speed up the design process and get new products to market with fewer physical prototypes; software with new, easier to use interfaces; and the ability to run compute-intensive studies much faster on powerful desktop computer platforms.

The technologies included in Daratech’s studies are structural finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), motion simulation, crash what?, and process integration and design optimization (PIDO).

The most important long-term result of widespread deployment of CAE may well be a change from considering physical test results always to be the test results of record—although in safety-critical product development, such as aeronautics, aerospace, and automotive, some physical testing will always be necessary—and toward reliance on proven CAE technology.

Selling Industry on the Benefits of CAE

Some factors work against that scenario, however. Charles Foundyller, CEO and founder of Daratech, pointed out in his conference presentation that CAE is not yet integrated into the mainstream of product-creation processes. Corporate culture and education, together with the complexity of CAE, have mitigated the widespread adoption of its technologies. And, CAE has had few champions in the boardroom. Adds Foundyller, "Today’s PLM tools inhibit compatibility and interoperability, preventing CAE automation."

Until recently, developers of CAE software have had a poor track record of being able to convince companies of the benefits of CAE as well, says Hickey. "The software suppliers have traditionally failed to make the business case to industry as a whole, but that is changing," he says. "The recent recession and difficult manufacturing climate have forced companies to make cost-cutting a priority, and they are scrutinizing their processes to uncover ways to save money. The early product development stages offer a lot of opportunity"

He points out that a few years ago, more cars were recalled in the United States than were actually sold, cutting profits and confidence. "In the automotive industry, companies recognize that analysis offers a reliable and cost-effective alternative to building and breaking a lot of prototypes. No one is suggesting we’ll get to a point where they can analyze straight through to production. But if CAE helps them build a more reliable product and cut the number of prototypes, it creates tangible product and business benefits now, and averts disaster down the road by mitigating warranty expenses."

"At every conference, we see some attendees who are new to the world of CAE," says Monica Schnitger, Daratech’s senior VP of Market Analysis. "Their companies want to improve product quality, improve design cycle time, study more design options before finalizing on a design…. (And) once they see what these tools can do, companies get the picture."

Real-Life Experience

Presenters at the DPS Conference, most representing major automotive, aerospace, and industrial equipment companies, spoke of their experience with CAE and its effects on product development.

Dr. Paul Bevilaqua of Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Projects, better known as Skunk Works, spoke about how the company leveraged CAE in developing the vertical lift thrust system in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). He said that the golden rule at Skunk Works is: "Get to a prototype fast."

With that rule in mind, Bevilaqua’s team started to design the JSF’s lift fan propulsion system—one of the key differentiators of the winning Lockheed Martin design—using CAE tools. CFD played a large part in showing the team that its fan jet design protected the aircraft’s engine from very hot exhaust created when getting the full 40,000 lbs. of vertical lift from just four nozzles. The design was not only good enough to win the huge government contract, but it also won the 2001 Collier Trophy "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, demonstrated during the preceding year for the F-35 lift fan propulsion system."

CFD again came to the forefront of CAE technologies in the presentation made by Jean Mallebay-Vacquer, the director of DaimlerChrysler’s Environmental Laboratories, when he spoke about designing an automotive cooling system to minimize any ill effects on the environment.

Mark Kuhn, director of Design Engineering for worldwide automotive consultants Ricardo Inc., described an integrated analysis program based on thermal and structural analysis that enables design release two months sooner than in the past. "Running simplified structural and thermal analyses very early in the design cycle reduces the program duration, and lets designers move on to progressively more detailed analysis," Kuhn said.

Thomas Chimner of Eaton Corp. agreed with Kuhn, and said that of all available technologies, up-front CAE has the biggest impact on design. The availability of greatly increased computer power together with new, easier-to-use software has combined in a world with fewer analysts to create a situation where designers use FEA for quick assessment of design changes. "The old system followed a path from design to FEA to building prototypes to testing them," Chimner said. "Now design and CAE occur at the same time to produce a shorter development cycle and reduced physical testing."

What Comes Next?

Other presenters at the conference underscored Foundyller’s point about current PLM tools being unable to handle CAE. For example, Subhasish Roychoudhury, manager of CAE Systems IT for Ford Motor Company, pointed out that better management of CAE data will be essential for analyst efficiency and effectiveness in decision-making.

PDM systems, the heart of PLM offerings today, were not designed to handle the huge volume of pure numerical data generated by CAE tools, and new solutions that can integrate with other tools in the PLM kit are needed. But even without such tools, the competitive advantages of CAE technologies are becoming apparent in large companies that focus on systems rather than components.

Schnitger of Daratech finds that such tools as motion simulation, CFD, and designer-oriented up-front FEA are proving popular for many companies. She says, however, "Most companies aren’t really set up to make the best use of the CAE tools they already have. They are still exploring who should do this work: designers using limited CAE capability built into CAD tools or more highly trained analyst/specialists. Ideally, it’s a combination of the two. Companies also need to approach CAE logically, making trade-offs between what they currently test with physical prototypes and what can be done digitally. Companies should not simply replace each physical test with a digital simulation. They need to look at their overall product design process to determine what really needs to be analyzed or tested, when this needs to be done and what they intend to do with the results. Only when a company reevaluates its entire design process can they truly see the benefits of these tools."

Louise Elliott is a contributing editor to Desktop Engineering. Contact her about this article via Desktop Engineering Editorial Feedback.

Daratech, Inc.
Cambridge, MA