Siemens NX Delivers Simulation-driven Design Enhancements

More what-if scenarios are possible with the latest version of NX.

 (Picture courtesy of Siemens.)

(Picture courtesy of Siemens.)

If you’re an NX user and haven’t upgraded to the latest version (announced earlier this year), you may be asking what version of NX are we on anyway? Well apparently, the company stopped adding a version number to the releases and has two major releases per year, with minor and regular updates occurring throughout the year.

The latest release includes 1,200+ user requests added over the last year. In case you missed it, Siemens Digital Software recently hosted a YouTube premier showcasing some of the enhancements in its NX design software, which integrates topology optimization and simulation capabilities in one environment within NX.

Paul Bevan, senior technical product manager, Siemens Digital Industries Software. (Picture courtesy of LinkedIn.)

Paul Bevan, senior technical product manager, Siemens Digital Industries Software. (Picture courtesy of LinkedIn.)

In the demo Paul Bevan, senior technical product manager, Siemens Digital Industries Software, highlights the new NX Topology Optimizer and optimization features, explains how to run simulations and more.

Below we’ll provide a recap of what’s new for exploring what-if scenarios.

NX Topology Optimizer

The new Topology Optimizer was one of the highly praised features in the Early Access Program, according to Siemens. To bring you up to speed, topology optimization is often used when you want to make your design lighter by eliminating materials and components within a volume to achieve the optimum shape. The Topology Optimizer is a new feature that helps users create parts based on functional and space requirements, resulting in fully editable convergent bodies. This gives you a mixed convergent body, meaning you can edit the features, like holes, directly rather than having to rerun the simulation every time you make a design change, which overall reduces the number of simulations.

In the demo, Bevan covers how you can easily perform these optimization studies. In this case, he’s working on an electric vehicle and needs to prolong the range, making it as long as possible by making the vehicle lighter overall.

In the example he cites, the design manager has noticed that a group of components could be improved and suggests reducing the current bracket made with 10 or so components to 1 bracket while also reducing the weight from 4 KG to 2.5 KG. The change request has been created in Teamcenter and sent to the design team where the design engineer can see the task in Active Workspace and where product lifecycle management (PLM) data can be accessed directly from NX. So, he can see that he needs to do an optimization study to consider reducing the weight and part count of the existing bracket.

Continuing in the demo, Bevan finds his assembly in Active Workspace and opens it in NX to look at the impacted items, including the bracket and gearbox. He clicks the optimization feature button and loads the component to define the space and the construction bodies where the gearbox will be dropped in. Then he selects 12 solids that define the gearbox. Next, he checks the clearance for the shaft and defines the construction bodies.

In the next stage, Bevan adds optimization constraints, specifying the weight that he needs must be equal to or less than 2.5 KG. Then he adds some analysis loads. So, you would do this for each subcase and then go into the Topology Optimizer to start the study.

He said, “One of the key things to remember is that the optimization study is now an NX feature, which means that if any of the geometry changes, then your optimization feature will also change to reflect any of those models.”

Note that it took Bevan 5 to 6 minutes to set up the studies, but he didn’t disclose how long it took him to do the optimizations.

Design Space Explorer

Expanding on exploring what-if scenarios, the Design Space Explorer brings advanced simulation capabilities, commonly done by simulation specialists, right at your fingertips directly in NX.

This feature combines design space exploration with generative engineering to help designers automatically optimize a design against multiple objectives. This enables the NX user to define the optimization problem with all parameters, constraints and objectives in place using Siemens Simcenter HEEDS software to conduct multi-objective parameter optimization, providing the designer with an immediate set of viable design alternatives to consider—a task that would previously have required a simulation specialist.

[Image from here:]

[Image from here:]

Optimize Lattice Structures with Simcenter 3D Stress Results

The latest release clearly aims to enable simulation-driven design. Lattice structures can now be optimized using Siemens’ Simcenter 3D simulation to derive the optimal lattice structure within NX, eliminating the multiple design analysis steps required prior to this release. You now can generate a variable lattice based on your desired use case. For instance, you can specify how much strength and weight to place in a part and then distribute the lattice in the most optimal way. Traditionally, this process would have required a repetitive design analysis process.

Updated Validation Tools

You can also find an updated set of vehicle validation tools for use in the aerospace and automotive vehicle spaces.
For instance, for Aerospace validation support, Siemens has added a new aircraft option. This being Class AS. The overall fuselage size and static ground line loadings are supported. Pilot and lever controls definition are also supported with these updates.

For Automotive and Transportation cases, NX expands its support to include smaller vehicles, which include two- or three-wheeled motor vehicles, lightweight vehicles such as quadricycles and support for self-driving vehicles.

Can you trust your results? You’ll have to test out the new features to see how things measure up, but Siemens has an impressive simulation portfolio, mainly from acquisitions the company has swooped up.

Siemens’ Simulation Track Record

Siemens has picked up some big names and solutions in the simulation arena. Some notable acquisitions in the last decade or so are as follows.

In 2011 the company acquired Vistagy, known for composites design and analysis and simulation software, including Fibersim. Then in 2016 Siemens acquired CD-adapco for $870 million and shook up the industry later that year with a $4.5 billion acquisition of Mentor Graphics. The deal was completed in 2017 with Siemens adding Mentor’s FLoEFD and FloTHERM products to its lineup.

In 2017 Siemens picked up TASS International to expand its autonomous driving and safety simulation capabilities, and then in 2019 the company added material modeling through its acquisition of MultiMechanics’ Simcenter.

And in 2021 Siemens acquired Nextflow Software, a provider of advanced particle-based computational fluid dynamics solutions.

Let’s not forget back when it was a stand-alone company called UGS—before Siemens acquired it for $3.5 billion in 2007, UGS had picked up Tecnomatix software in 2005, which now also includes Plant Simulation software.

As you can see with the latest release of NX, Siemens continues to prioritize simulation by incorporating simulation solutions, such as Simcenter, right into NX.