Improvements to Inspire 2015, the FEA-Based Concept Creation Tool
Shawn Wasserman posted on June 17, 2015 |
Inspire 2015 sees a new fastener/joint tool, G-load definitions, and new user interface.

Inspire is a CAE tool that creates near optimal design concepts based on FEA, bone algorithms, loads, boundary conditions and packaging space.

A differentiating factor of Inspire to other CAE software is its ease of use. As a result, many of the additions to Inspire 2015 build on this usability theme.

For example, Inspire has added a new fastener/joint tool that allows users to join parts using bolts, screws and pins.

The program will highlight all the locations where fasteners can be added. Users then select which of those locations will be fastened and the appropriate fastener type. An image corresponding to the selected fastener is then added to the model.

“When you define the fastener, it sends the degrees of freedom automatically to the solver,” said Jaideep Bangal, senior application engineer at solidThinking. The fastener tool therefore matches many other tools in Inspire that define inputs, like degrees of freedom, in the backend automatically. This significantly adds to Inspire’s usability.

Another interesting addition to Inspire 2015 is the ability to define various G-loads that the concept design will experience. “This was the most requested improvement by our user base,” said Bangal. “G-loads allow users to create a more realistic model. For instance, users can design a part to experience a certain G-force based on a turning radius. This is typical for automotive and aerospace industries.”

Like many other software since the early 2000s, Inspire 2015 has introduced the use of tabs to their ribbon-based user interface. This isn’t a bad thing as tabs have become ubiquitous in software UI. However, as tabs effectively hide functionality, they do add a layer of obscurity. This obscurity is something Inspire developers have been trying to avoid.

Bangal even noted that the new features of Inspire 2015 maintain and improve the usability of the previous releases. He joked, “Adding even one icon to the ribbon is cause for a lot of development discussions.”

On the other hand, tabs will allow Inspire to add more tools. For example, if solidThinking were to add a meshing tab in the future, it may expand the user’s control over the meshing in Inspire. But with increased options and functionality comes more complication. This could turn out to be quite a slippery slope for the Inspire development team.

What do you think? Does Inspire have a good balance between usability and functionality? Do you wish you could do more with the software? Or should they just keep is simple? Comment below.

Other improvements to Inspire 2015 include:

  • Contact tool to determine whether parts should be bonded or contacting (sliding)
  • Controlling the rotation of supports within holes or at distances
  • Improved solid geometry CAD file export
  • Improved speed and accuracy of concept generation

For a more in-depth look at Inspire, follow this link.

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