One year after its acquisition of Flomerics,
a leader in CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software, Mentor Graphics is building out its mechanical
analysis capabilities to accelerate what it sees as a forthcoming paradigm
shift in the market: The ability for concurrent CFD analysis as part of the
core mechanical design process.
In particular, Mentor is advancing its FloEFD software with
new features to accommodate this transition. FloEFD is CFD software that is
fully embedded in the MCAD environment. A new release, targeted for
availability by end of this year, will incorporate a new feature for predicting
cavitation effects in industrial liquids such as fuels and oils. Cavitation is
the formation and instantaneous collapse of innumerable tiny voids or cavities
within a liquid subjected to rapid and intense pressure changes. Cavitation is
an extremely important condition in high pressure systems such as fuel
injectors, thus it lends itself to applications in the aerospace and automotive
Mentor essentially sees two user profiles for
FloEFD. The traditional profile, the CFD analyst, is formally trained in the
discipline (usually with a PhD), typically resides in R&D and runs
different models 10 to 20 times annually. This user type typically wants a
comprehensive set of features packaged in a highly customizable fashion. The
second user type is where Mentor
is targeting much of its latest efforts. This user, typically an engineer or
designer, is formally trained in fields other than CFD and resides in design or
engineering departments. This user will model many designs of the same
application over the course of the year, thus is looking for a highly
customized set of features packaged in a highly-automated fashion.
That's where FloEFD comes in. The software is designed from
the start to be fully embedded in an MCAD solution - the environment that is
most familiar to mechanical engineers and designers. "What an engineer or
designer expects from CFD is a real-time, push-button, highly automated
solution," says Erich Burgel, the new general manager for Mentor's Mechanical Analysis Div. "They want
something that is MCAD-embedded - a designer or engineer doesn't want to use or
learn a second language."
That's not the case with conventional CFD, which is
typically not only a separate technology and application, but also a separate
process. Because conventional CFD is a lengthy process, typically separate from
the core design, companies perform fewer what-if variants and encounter
potential design problems when it is costly and time consuming to make changes.
As a result, companies face longer design cycles, which means they could miss
out on market opportunities and they're building multiple prototypes, leading
to respins and higher development costs, Burgel says.
By embedding CFD analysis capabilities directly into the
core MCAD environment, FloEFD will address many of those inhibitors associated
with traditional CFD and pave the way for that forthcoming paradigm shift.
"This is comparable to the shift we've seen over the last five to 10 years on
the FEA side, where people were asking for integrated and embedded FEA
solutions," says Burgel.