Mentor Takes Its Concept of "Concurrent CFD" to NX

May 5, 2011

3 Min Read
Mentor Takes Its Concept of "Concurrent CFD" to NX

Continuing to march to the mantra ofwhat it calls "concurrent CFD simulation," Mentor Graphics announced the latest in its string of CFD applications designed towork directly inside of CAD programs-this time, for Siemens PLM Software's NX program.

Released this week at the PLM World user conference, the new FloEFD for Siemens NX seamlessly integrateswith the CAD tool, allowing users to work directly with native NX geometry toperform an array of simulation capabilities, including highly turbulent flowfields, compressible flows, combustion and cavity modeling. The NX releasesjoins versions of FloEFD already availablefor other leading CAD tools, including SolidWorks, CATIA and PTC's ProEngineer.

Unlike most CFD programs, which aretypically standalone environments tuned to the needs of highly-trained CFDspecialists,Mentor's approach with "concurrent CFD" is to embed the analysiscapabilities deep within the context of the CAD environment, making themavailable in a familiar and accessible way to mainstream designers andengineers. With its approach, Mentor is attempting to satisfy the needs of twodistinct audiences: The traditional CFD user who wants a highly sophisticated,feature-rich specialized tool for their day-to-day analysis tasks in additionto the more casual engineering user who might want to tap CFD capabilities on occasion,but doesn't currently do so regularly because they are not part of theirfamiliar environment.  

Moreover, by blending and automatingcertain CFD functions within the context of CAD, Mentor is attempting to bringefficiencies to the iterative, "throw-it-over-the-wall" hand-off that currentlydefines the working relationship between engineers and analysis experts as theymove product designs through the development process. The ability to create adesign, run CFD analysis on that design, make changes and then rerunsimulations as part of one integrated process is key to promoting the use ofanalysis far earlier in the design cycle. In addition, enabling engineers to dosome analysis on their own, within the familiarity of their CAD tool, will go along way in shortening the overall development time.

"When you are within the same CAD environment, at any pointin process without leaving the CAD tool, you can perform CFD, get feedback onflow and have it affect the design all through process," notes Chris Watson,Mentor's senior application engineer.

Merely being embedded in a CAD tool isn't enough, Watsonsays. With the concept of Concurrent CFD, Mentor is pushing integration evenfurther, adding capabilities to the FloEFD tools that take steps out of theprocess and automate some of the basic simulation functions. For example, withFloEFD for NX and the other variations, there is no need to transfer geometriesbetween CAD and CFD package and there are capabilities for automating themeshing process. "If you're just putting classic CFD code into [CAD], it stilltakes the same expertise to do the CFD run-you need to know how to mesh, whatto put in the run, why something blew up, how to play around with relaxationfactors," Watson explains. "If all of that is still required even in the CADtool, you've only addressed part of the problem. You've made it better for theanalyst who's CAD savvy, but you've not done anything to help the regularmechanical engineer without a background in CFD."

Mike Dunn, lab manager at HutchinsonSSI, uses both FloEFD and NX, and anticipates the new integration will have asignificant impact on minimizing design-to-analysis time. "This product has thepotential to utilize design enhancements made during the analysis to save usthree days or more in our current process," he says.

FloEFD will ship in early June.

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