What's growing faster, simulation software (FEA and CFD) or CAD? Research and analysis firm Daratech says it's simulation. "It's not just for experts and mathematicians anymore," says Daratech spokesman Tim Hickey. Engineers in every industry are seeing the benefits of cutting the number of prototypes they smash into walls to test for stress. Simulation helps by letting them smash the designs on the computer. That democratization of simulation has led to a brisk business for companies that teach FEA and CFD or, like Daratech, build conferences around it. In June, Daratech held a simulation conference that centered on the automotive industry and drew 260 participants—30 more than the same conference the previous year. On November 3, Daratech will kick off its aerospace and defense simulation conference in Anaheim's Disney Paradise Pier Hotel and organizers are expecting a similarly robust crowd. Among the session topics: Digital product simulation, as well as high-performance compacting for engineering modeling & simulation, analysis, and test & measurement. Presenters include representatives from MSC.Software, ANSYS, Abaqus, Hewlett-Packard, Silicon Graphics, EDS PLM Solutions, Engineous, and Synops, among others.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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