Step by Step: Software developers at MSC.Software wrote some 30 new features into the latest version of the company's flagship software MSC. Nasran 2004 and included more than 120 customer-requested enhancements. The automotive industry is among the largest users of Nastran for simulation of various car systems.
Once reserved only for a small group of specialists primarily in aerospace and automotive companies, finite element analysis software has evolved into simulation programs that engineers at all levels in virtually any industry can use to do first-cut trials of new designs.
And now, recent enhancements of software suites from MSC, ANSYS, as well as ALGOR promise to make computer simulation of designs more and more realistic.
For example, MSC.Software (www.mscsoftware.com) just released MSC.Nastran 2004, a major overhaul of its flagship software. The new release includes over 30 new features and 120 customer-driven enhancements, says Alastair Robertson, manager of the new product. "It's the most significant release in the 40-year history of the company," he says.
Among new capabilities include reduced solution times, improved optimization speeds, better capabilities for analyzing spot welds, a coupling matrix algorithm that identifies fluid-structure interfaces for acoustics analysis, integration of MSC.Adams motion-analysis software, as well as integration of technology from MSC.Marc that is for implicit non-linear analysis.
Among the most interesting new features, says Robertson, is the capability to do stochastic analysis. He says those capabilities bring real-life variables into simulations, such as varying material properties, gauge thickness, or connector failure. "Stochastics account for the inevitable random variations, and adding that capability gives engineers better insight into how a model is behaving," he says. Robertson adds that all MSC solvers will include stochastics capabilities.
In other developments, ANSYS (www.ansys.com) recently released version 7.1 of its software by the same name. It includes Design VT (Variational Technology), which the company says allows engineers to visualize the effects of a design across a whole set of parameters rather than having to examine each parameter one by one. Another feature, DesignModeler, allows for front-end simulation.
Also, ALGOR (www.algor.com) has released ALG/NASTRAN, which the company says provides full compatibility with existing NASTRAN input and output files. Among other benefits the company promises: Combining motion and stress analysis and fluid-flow analysis.