Understanding the fluid flow and heat-transfer properties of designs is a complex but increasingly important part of the product development process, yet traditionally an area that was out of reach for most mainstream engineers. Mentor Graphics has taken steps to make this simulation domain more accessible to rank-and-file engineers with FloEFD, its CFD tool that is embedded in popular CAD programs, allowing users to tap the capabilities from the comfort of their core environment.
Since engineers don't have to abandon their familiar CAD interfaces in order to perform CFD studies with FloEFD, Mentor Graphics is attempting to usher in what it calls "concurrent CFD." This new process for CFD studies happens throughout a product's lifecycle, leading to optimized designs and much shorter development cycles. Traditionally, CFD has been a labor-intensive process, with as much as 66 percent of the simulation process consumed by geometry creation, clean-up and manipulation followed by complex meshing processes, oftentimes employing different software packages. Engineering teams create a concept in CAD then hand it off to a specialist, who has to prepare the models to perform CFD studies in a separate package, so there are numerous time-consuming loops in and out of the CAD package.
Upfront CFD, where CFD is more closely associated with the CAD package, compresses some of this design time, but there is still a need for designers to leave their CAD program and tap another software tool, which they then have to master. With FloEFD, Mentor Graphics' concurrent CFD approach performs the CFD analysis directly within the CAD program. This eliminates most of the geometry and meshing processes, therefore reducing what has historically been the biggest bottleneck for companies doing CFD analysis. It also lets engineers employ CFD studies to perform "what-if" scenarios throughout a product's lifecycle all within their preferred CAD tool. FloEFD can be embedded in a variety of CAD tools, including Pro/ENGINEER, CATIA and SolidWorks. For more information, go tohttp://designnews.hotims.com/27742-541.