Computer-Aided Engineering(CAE): How it Works and Why it Matters
A long time ago, the product’s development came true by paper-and-pen drafted designs. Over time, the computer-aided drafting(CAD) environment appears, allowing earlier testing, and faster and less costly redesign. The natural development of this kind of trend is for the digital phase to be integrated more completely into the design process with Computer-Aided Engineering, also named as CAE Simulation.
Computer-Aided Engineering or CAE is a concept used to explain the process of the complete product engineering procedure, from design and virtual testing with the complex analytical algorithms to the program of manufacturing. CAE is the incorporation of the computer simulation to solve out problems without the need to use a physical model or prototype, potentially helping to eliminate the need for a prototype altogether. CAE simulation could be used for a variety of analysis, such as follows:
u Structural Analysis: Discover the displacements, stresses, and strains for objects under loading, which can be dynamic or static(changing as a function of frequency or time).
u Thermal Analysis: Calculate the heat flux and temperatures for objects experiencing conduction, radiation and convection, which could be transient(over time) or steady-state(at equilibrium).
u Computational Fluid Dynamics: Evaluate the movement of gases and liquids around and through the parts to measure pressure, temperature, vortices, and flow velocity.
u Modal Analysis: Determine the mode shape and natural frequencies of an object , and know these modes are helpful to avoid the resonance due to nearby vibration sources.
By making full use of advantages of CAE simulation, especially while combining with the speed and power of high-performance cloud computing, the time and the cost of every design iteration cycle, and the overall development procedure, could be reduced accordingly. If the first tests are not performed until there are physical models and prototypes, there are any number of potential design quirks that can need new drawings, incurring a subsequent addition of cost in time and resources for new models or prototypes. The standard of the CAE workflow is shown as below, generate an initial design, simulate the CAD geometry, and then use evaluated simulation results to improve the design. Before all products’ requests met and virtually confirmed, this procedure is repeated again and again. If there are any weak points or areas, for example, the digital prototype’s performance doesn’t match expectations, designers and engineers could improve and modify the CAD model and check influences on the change by testing the updated design with a new CAE simulation. By linking the power of the simulation with the test results, data could be more effectively communicated and more informed decisions could be made earlier in the process. Because it’s not necessary to build physical prototypes in early development stages, this kind of procedure could support the faster product development.
In comparison to days or maybe weeks to build the physical prototype, CAE simulations only take a few hours. Before beginning the serial production, it’s unavoidable to manufacture the physical prototypes of the part, but CAE simulations could be helpful to reduce the amount of these prototypes. It’s important to know about the environment(temperatures, forces, and so on) that the metal stamping part would be exposed to, while planning to integrate simulation techniques into the part’s development procedure. And it’s also crucial to know these conditions to properly set up a simulation. The predicted value of any simulation could only be the precision of the boundary conditions made. Engineering simulation was a complicated endeavor by itself except predicting the environmental factors, and mostly simulation experts and experienced engineers could only make true. Nowadays, modern CAE simulation tools do the utmost to break these kinds of barriers, in order to allow inexperienced users lacking of deep knowledge of the physical procedures and solver characteristics to occur insightful simulation results.
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The main aim of CAE simulation is to predict, test and improve the performance, robustness, durability, and energy efficiency of components and assemblies, finally to create better parts and reduce the amount of requested physical prototypes and the time to the market. CAE simulation could be used in almost any industry which designs a product exposed to different environment. Industries using CAE simulation include but are not limited to automotive, electronics, aerospace, plant engineering, energy and so on. The products range from small parts to big and complicated structures.
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