Sneak Peek at Simulation Improvements for NX CAE 11
Shawn Wasserman posted on June 01, 2016 |
Topology optimization and composites delamination coming soon to NX CAE.

Siemens PLM has been very busy in the past few years to position itself as a leader in the simulation space. NX CAE is a multi-discipline simulation environment, NX Nastran for structural analysis, and Teamcenter for simulation data and process management.

(All images taken at PLM World 2016.)
(All images taken at PLM World 2016.)

Over the years, this has grown considerably with the additions of the 1D and virtual/physical testing software from LMS and the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) capabilities of CD-adapco.

“Siemens is very committed to our simulation functionality,” said Doug Wenk, director of product management at Siemens PLM Software. “Over the last four years [Siemens PLM Software] spent roughly USD$1.9 billion dollars on acquiring simulation technologies. We are not in this to be a design solution. We’re in it to be a major player in analysis.”

Now with NX CAE 11 being released in early August 2016 and Siemens’ PLM World behind us, it’s a good time to recap where Siemens PLM Software is positioned in the CAE space and what we can expect to see in new and upcoming releases.

Improved NX: CAE Workflows: Cyclic Symmetry, Fourier Modal Analysis

Siemens worked together a lot with a leading aero-engine manufacturer to streamline its workflows. Some of the improvements include cyclic symmetry and Fourier Modal Analysis.

For cyclic symmetry, the user only has to model a sector of a rounded part. This sector can then be rotated to determine the solution of the whole part.

Siemens has simplified the boundary condition for these simulation models by eliminating the need for compatible meshes. This makes it much easier to reduce the size of a cyclic model for thermal, mechanical and multiphysics simulations.

Engineers can also use a Fourier Modal analysis in NX Nastran to assess a 2D cross section of an axisymmetric 3D geometry.

This model simplification will also be compatible for thermal mechanical and multiphysics simulations for any number of modes.

“There was no easy way to set up a [Fourier Modal Analysis] for customers today,” said Wenk. “They would have to go and [edit sections by hand] to set up those types of models. But we now have done that for them in the NX application … So here we can do anything from the zero load harmonics to the nth harmonic of the design.”

Wenk also explained that Siemens has also worked to speed up the solver as it runs Fourier Modal Analyses.

Topology Optimization comes to NX CAE, NX10 and NX11

The new release will also be offering topology optimization tools for both the NX designer and NX CAE simulation analyst.

Topology optimization tools take inputs such as the area the part will fit into, loads, material and assembly connections. It then runs structural simulations, in this case with NX Nastran, to come up with an optimal light-weight shape for the part.

The topology optimization will also be part of the history tree. As a result, engineers will be able to look back and recreate the optimization if necessary.

“So you will have multiple load sets and different types of solutions to run through topology optimization,” said Wenk.

“We are packaging up a solution for the CAD engineer that is meshless to the end user,” Wenk added. “They do not see the mesh. They just provide the loading and all in the context of the assembly. Then we bring back the part faceted into the model in NX.”

Wenk explained that as this new concept part will be attached to the assembly and a NURBS body the engineer will be able to modify it like any other part.

“So basically you will get a part and work on it with the CAD Boolean operations,” he said. “Depending on the shape and criterial the part can also be manufactured and 3D-printed. We are very excited about this technology.”

What will set the analyst’s version of the topology optimization tool apart from the design engineer’s tool is control.

“For the design engineer, they don’t want to mess with anything. They want to make it easy to use and understand but for the analyst they want full control,” Wenk elaborated. “They understand the NASTRAN solver and we give them the full breadth capability there.”

These topology optimization tools will be sold separately and will be released in the fall after the release of NX CAE 11. One will be available as an add-on for NX CAE 11 and the other will be an add-on for the regular NX10 or NX 11 suites.

Performing Composite Delamination Simulations on NX CAE 11

NX CAE 11 will see some improvements when performing delamination and orthotropic damage assessments for composite materials.

For instance, engineers will be able to assess progressive ply failure where each ply within the material can be damaged and lose stiffness independently from others. Accumulated damage to the material can also be assessed.

“You can have different material models looking at the overall failure—but the true delamination where you can see the composites pull apart? We can now solve these types of problems in NX Nastran and our Samcef linear/nonlinear solver as well,” said Wenk. 

The new failure models supported for delamination are:

  • Polynomial
  • Bi-triangular
  • Exponential

NX CAE 11 Will Simplify Simulation Report Writing

It’s not easy for engineering organizations to make a standardized and generalized report. Adding automation to these reports can be even trickier.

As a result, a lot of the focus on improving NX CAE 11 went into easing the pain of report writing.

“We’ve done a lot of work in report writer, for post-processing,” said Wenk. “A lot of times customers need a more generalized and standardize report generation. We have really provided a framework for customers to build that standardized report so they can quickly and easily create a word document that can be quickly shipped out of NX.”

The report-writing framework will use NX Open to access the NX CAE data, data model and images. These will then be populated into the report, automatically allowing for engineers to quickly make reports for upper management. These reports can then be saved as a Microsoft Word format.

What is the Future of NX CAE?

Much of the announcements from PLM World about NX CAE 11 appear to be incremental changes and improvements to the software. There wasn’t much revolution for the CAE industry given Siemens’ recent CD-adapco acquisition.

However, it would be naive to expect this silence will remain for long. A company doesn’t spend almost two billion dollars on simulation technology in four years without a grand idea.

And you don’t spend that money just to make sure a competitor doesn’t get an acquisition in your stead.

In other words, expect big news to come from the Siemens PLM Software in the near future. Stay tuned to’s Simulation section when that happens.

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