CAE Simulation tools have evolved significantly over the last 15 years. There have been a variety of advancements in the technology both from a software and a hardware perspective. In the early days, we were fortunate enough to take a few part assembly and solve a simulation in an hour plus. Often times the plus was a big plus. Nowadays, we are solving “system” level models in the matter of minutes. With the advancements in technology, comes an increase in expectation from the user community.
Engineers are under a tremendous amount of pressure to design great products, deliver on time and ensure the highest quality. We need tools that just simply work. We want what we want, when we want it. Some of us are full time simulation analysts and prefer a robust standalone tool that is flexible enough to allow us to get our job done, no matter what. Others prefer the simulation tools “embedded” in the design tools. Just because the tools are embedded, the expectations are still high. In fact, many that run the embedded tools use the technology on a regular basis. The expectation of this user persona is sometimes even higher than that of a standalone simulation user.
In the beginning, the concept of embedded simulation was revolutionary. Companies like Rasna and SRAC broke all of the rules and took fast, automated CAE and exposed it to the engineering world. Most users were thrilled that it even worked. Basic modal, linear static with some thermal was sufficient. Things have evolved over the years. Computing power is advancing, graphics have become more stunning and the overall capabilities are increasing. Some codes have stayed the course and simply evolved and improved on existing tech. Others have increased capabilities.
But, in listening to users, the appetite for more is there. The increase of material exploration, reducing cost, increased pressure for aesthetically complex designs- the need for more power is on the rise. The power to do more. The power to stay true to the nature of embedded simulation, but offer some more advanced capabilities. These advanced capabilities need to be trusted and validated. Companies under pressure to deliver reliable products, require technology that they can trust.
Enter, Autodesk Nastran In-CAD. We at Autodesk are making some bold moves. Decisions driven by where we see the market going. Our focus is to deliver robust, high end capabilities in the way that our customers want to use out tools. We have a history of delivering both standalone simulation solutions, as well as “In-CAD” simulation capabilities. We are evolving these solutions to include the introduction of a trusted and validated version of an Autodesk Nastran solver. The main difference is that the In-CAD version offers a significant amount of simulation capabilities than your typical embedded FEA solution. Not only is it powered by the same trusted technology of our standalone tools, but its been designed to optimize the workflows of the design process. The capabilities above and beyond the typical embedded FEA tools include nonlinear materials and contact, transient simulations, composites simulations as well as fatigue. So far the feedback has been great. But, as we evolve, we are very interested in your candid feedback. Feel free to post here or the Autodesk Nastran In-CAD Forums or provide some Ideas of where we should be driving the product.