My apologies for the oversight. Thanks for putting COMSOL LiveLink on our radar screen. It's exactly that kind of integration with leading CAD tools that is helping put CAE applications in more engineering toolboxes.
You missed one. The COMSOL Multiphysics LiveLink modules also allow users to run Multiphysics simulations within their preferred software of choice. We currently have plugins for Solidworks, Pro/Engineer, Inventor, Spaceclaim, Creo Parametric, and Autocad. http://www.comsol.com/products/multiphysics/
You pegged it, Alex. The idea is that tightly-integrated FEA/CFD capabilities as part of CAD platform allow design engineers to do casual analysis throughout all stages of development as opposed to coming up with a design, throwing it over the proverbial wall to the CAE specialists for simulation, and then trying to incorporate those findings back into the design.
What happens with this traditional, siloed approach is that simulation is performed a couple of times in the process and typically too late when it is far too costly and complex to make changes. With the tools easily accessible, from the CAD platform or in the cloud, a design engineer can iterate and optimize their design continually throughout the process and hand off the end result to the specialists to do the final optimization. That way, more designs are tested and optimized, enabling teams to hone in on the best option and resulting in far more innovative and cost-effective products. At least that's the goal.
I've always found FEA and CFD to be fascinating, and use to write about them in the old days when I was at Mechanical Engineering magazine. At that time, one of the impediments to doing serious analysis on PCs was the availability (or lack thereof) of processing power. Today, cycles are free, so it makes sense to incorporate FEA and CFD analysis capabilities within core CAD products. The aspect which still requires work, as you mention in this piece, is user training, because there are deep experts among users and there are newbies. I suspect though that what the broadened availability of FEA and CFD does is to allow casual users to run occasional analyses. The people dedicated to this as their core discipline having highly tuned setups and do this on an ongoing basis in any case.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
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