In the latest release of its simulation suite, ANSYS has stacked the deck with a wealth of functionality intended to address what it sees as the key challenges around engineering -- that is, how to make do with less, how to deal with ever more complex and multidisciplinary systems, and how to take advantage of increasingly available, low-cost hardware to boost efficiencies when simulating and iterating designs.
One of the key areas of enhancement in ANSYS 14.0 is automation and simplification of typically user-intensive CAE operations, with the intention of helping engineers minimize time spent setting up problems. In this area, ANSYS has done a number of things. In its Workbench platform, which essentially serves as the glue between its different tools, the upgrade supports enhanced customized workflows so it can be adapted to the way a particular engineering group works. There are also additional tools for managing engineering simulation data across teams.
ANSYS 14.0 introduces a number of features that allow the user to control various components of the finite element model within the mechanical environment. All connections such as constraint equations, spiders, or weak springs can now be visualized.
Meshing, which can be a highly complex part of the process, particularly in the area of fluid dynamics, has been simplified in ANSYS 14.0, with new automation capabilities, including the ability to extract fluid volume from CAD assemblies to generate structured Cartesian meshes or unstructured tetrahedral meshes, depending on the application. In that same vein, simulating composite structures can present some difficulties for many users. To address that, ANSYS 14.0, via Workbench, is now tightly integrated with the Composite PrepPost tool so users can define the pile structure for composite materials and have that data be tightly coupled with the rest of their structural simulations.
"With ANSYS 14.0, there is not as much manual interaction with the software," Barry Christenson, ANSYS's director of product management, tells Design News. "Some of the more manual and mundane tasks are now done automatically by the software." Another example: There are now additional automated algorithms and weighting options intended to facilitate the exchange of data from one mesh to another without having to do manual imports.
The simulation of complex, multidisciplinary systems is another area ANSYS is targeting with this release. Consider all the work being done in advancing battery design. In this release, there is a new ANSYS Fluent cosimulation link with ANSYS's Simplorer product that lets engineers analyze battery systems without discounting nonlinear behavior of the fluid system. There is also a two-way electromagnetic coupling with stress analysis -- an integration that Christenson says lends itself to applications in the automotive, aerospace, and power industries.
The third major area of improvement is in the area of smart solver management enhancements, including architecture-aware partitioning, so that ANSYS software can more readily take advantage of high-performance computing power. Support on this level means the simulation suite is better suited for handling very large, complex systems. "This supports the idea that engineering organizations are simulating more complex products," Christenson says. "There's a need for greater computing resource to solve these problems. Organizations can't afford to wait around for a week or two to get results."