We're all aware of what physical robots can do to improve
production or manufacturing processes, but what about software robots? Dassault Systemes has the answer with the latest
upgrade to its Isight package, which brings similar process automation to the
engineering design process.
Isight 4.0, based on technology Dassault
acquired in June 2008 from Engineous Software, is an open system for
integrating design and simulation models created with various CAD, CAE and
other design tool - and not necessarily only those from Dassault. Isight
creates an integrated simulation process workflow across a variety of tools
used by engineering teams, reducing the need to manually pass data back and
forth between systems and greatly speeding up the simulation process. The
resulting efficiencies from automating the simulation process workflows
eliminate costly input errors and allow engineering teams to test and simulate
more iterative designs, according to Alex Van der Velden, director of
simulation lifecycle management at SIMULIA, Dassault's brand for simulation
"By creating a simulation process flow, you're formalizing the
design process-now you know what you did to get certain results," says Van der
Velden. "This makes engineering reusable because a (software) robot doesn't
make mistakes. On average, an engineer makes an entry mistake once every 30
mouse clicks. All those mistakes add up in terms of designing products, but
this is virtually error free."
Here's the way Isight works:
An engineer changes a parameter like the length of a cylinder, and Isight funnels that change through the proper sequence of all the software
packages used to complete that engineering task. So for example, Isight would
automatically open a CAD file, change the geometry, load the model into a post
processor, create a mesh, run a solver, examine the results file and extract
attributes like maximum stress. "Imagine that all the steps that the engineer
does by hand like opening pieces of software or modifying parameters are now
done automatically," Van der Velden explains.
What's new to Isight 4.0 are capabilities to make simulation
process flows more reusable along with a variety of collaboration features that
make it easier to work with different people and different functional areas of
the enterprise. The software is "simulation agnostic," Van der Velden says, so
it can be used with all the Dassault PLM and CAD tools, in addition to
databases, CAD, CAE and simulation products from a host of alternative vendors.
Isight 4.0 provides an Abaqus Unified FEA application component as
part of the base package, which enhances the use of SIMULIA's FEA technology
within the Isight process workflows. However, enhanced support for scripting
has also been added to enable Isight to accommodate custom components.
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Both traditional automation companies and startups are developing technologies to improve processes on the factory floor, while smart sensors and other IoT-related technologies are improving how products are handled during transport and across the supply chain.
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