CFD flows into the design cycle
CFDesign(TM) 5.0 from Blue Ridge Numerics (Charlottesville, VA) is a computational fluid dynamics package designed to be so intuitive that it can be used "as a design tool, not an analysis tool," says company president Ed Williams. Focused on fluid and thermal simulation, the software lists assembly parts in a feature tree on the screen's left margin, then asks the user to choose air, water, steam, or add his own fluid profile and save it for future applications. And to make it easier to run design iterations, it saves all boundary conditions, so an engineer can simply go back to the beginning, make a small change, and see the effect. Once it's running, it displays results as they are calculated, even allowing the user to change some settings midstream.
"We're shooting for turnaround times in days, not months," Williams says. In one case study, Anhauser Busch used the software to improve beer freshness by purging air from cans before bottling. They now deliver a 0.4-sec blast of heavier-than-air carbon dioxide, which pushes oxygen out the top. Already compliant with SDRC's I-DEAS, Version 5.0 also features complete integration with PRO/ENGINEER, so users can launch CFD from the CAD program's menu, and there's no need to import or export geometry, says Williams.
Blue Ridge Numerics:
Plan to manufacture those designs
Formerly known as Varimetrix, VX Corp. (Palm Bay, FL) bills its product as mid-range CAD with the functionality of Unigraphics or PRO/ENGINEER but just a $4,000 price tag. "And we're the only application with CAM built in from the start," says Robert Fischer, VP of sales and marketing. Its applications include surfacing (such as mold-making), consumer products, and aerospace, all performed with built-in collaborative abilities and a DFM sensibility. "This product is a gas to drive, it's just fun to use," he says. Version 5.0, rev. 4 features abilities such as an undo/redo button that can toggle a designer several steps forward or back in the model making process. Its Quick Suite tool will make inferences and suggestions during the modeling process, and allows the user to make one-step decisions like whether to work with constraints.
Small shops need CAE, too
Modern CAE tools have many drawbacks for medium and small-size shops, like the high cost of equipment and training, and generalized software that's loaded with functions that a typical specialist doesn't need. Enductive Solutions (Scotts Valley, CA) has a solution-starting with a shop's own software licenses, the company deploys its in-house experts to create customized user interfaces and to mask extraneous capabilities. "We wouldn't change a customer's tool kit," says President and CEO Philip Raymond. Often, these customers have merely developed point solutions, so Enductive Solutions can supply customized repeatability.