Several of the PLM vendors are talking up this idea of product analytics. It’s the idea of employing business intelligence-type functionality like dashboards and scorecards to visually spot trends or drill down into a specific product design–for example, to gauge compliance or to determine the environmental footprint of a certain choice of material or design point.
Now a company called Tecplot Inc. is among the first to bring this idea of analytics to simulation, specifically Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) studies. The company’s new Tecplot Chorus product is intended to allow engineers to more easily discover trends and anomalies in CFD studies, essentially giving them insights into the underlying, fluid-dynamic phenomena that cause variations.
Tecplot President Mike Peery explains the concept as a way for engineers to look at their simulation data sets in a completely different way, giving them a “microscopic” view into the underlying physics simultaneously with a “macro” view into the relationships of parameters and outcomes across many cases. To accommodate the analysis of thousands of simulation cases simultaneously, the tool has been designed with a core simulation data management system that archives both test and computational data. Tecplot says this data management approach will promote collaboration among engineering teams, letting them archive and share simulation data in much the say way PDM (Product Data Management) systems let engineers share mechanical CAD data.
The repository approach around simulation is interesting because it means engineers can save complex simulations and access them again for future studies, avoiding costly and time-consuming rework. Dassault Systemes’ SIMULIA brand is also pushing what sounds like a similar strategy with its Simulation Lifecycle Management (SLM) toolset for its Abaqus FEA suite.
Here’s the run down on the core feature set offered by Tecplot Chorus:
- A Unified Environment for Enhanced Metadata and Flow Field Analysis - This provides the ability to manage multiple projects as well as to filter, explore, compare and display differences between plot images to help discover and understand the physics and to detect problems with simulation quality.
- Rapid Visualization and Exploration of Surface Data - Users can view 3-D surfaces within a flow field with a single mouse click, as well as filter and compare cases and calculate differences between solutions or sets of solutions.
- Automated Plot and Data Extraction - Metadata can be extracted from complex file and directory structures for integration with documentation and presentation tools.
- Open Connection to 3-D Post Processors -Tecplot 360 and most third-party post-processors can be launched within the product for a deeper analysis of the data and without having to switch back and forth between applications.
CIMdata Executive Consultant Ken Amann said that Tecplot Chorus’s positioning around collaborative CFD has merit in today’s engineering circles where engineers with different skill levels conduct CFD research. By fostering collaboration, teams are more likely to garner a higher level of insight and make more informed decisions faster, he said.
Tecplot Chorus is currently being tested with a select group of customers and will be available in the third quarter of this year.