CAE tool providers attempt to close the data exchange gap between CAD and CAE with built-in pre-processors. Unfortunately, the overall success rates are low, ranging from 20-50%. These failures are associated with conversion, repair, or simplification processes and add a significant amount of non-value-added labor.
Third-party solutions push success rates to 75-95%. However, in global organizations, the proliferation of multiple tools, processes, and methodologies eventually erode productivity gains. This article explores best practices to help you increase your internal rate of return on CAD-to-CAE interoperability investments.
1. Use Value Stream Maps to Illustrate Labor Waste
Many CAE teams struggle to find investment capital for interoperability initiatives. By using value stream maps, non-value-added time (NVAT) is illustrated within the context of the process and quantified in terms of hours and labor dollars. If you wish to see an example, email me.
2. Minimize Downstream Risks by Classifying Data Formats
Modeling kernels all pose different risks to downstream applications. If your CAE teams consume data from multiple sources, document all import and export formats, and include any requirements that involve custom CAD packages and proprietary analsysis tools.
3. Standardize Your CAE Interoperability Platform to Reduce Costs
In cases where multiple CAD and/or CAE packages are used, acquire technology that will enable the standardization and consolidation of your CAE interoperability needs under a single platform. For instances where proprietary CAD and/or CAE packages are used, use a third-party provider to develop interfaces that will integrate with your chosen platform.
4. Stabilize the Data Before Engaging in CAE Pre-Processing
Unknown, destabilizing conditions within complex parts or assemblies can pose serious time delays for teams performing specialized analysis scenarios. Third-party data stability analysis tools can be used to predict and/or troubleshoot downstream usability failures in models used for simulation, before they happen.
5. Centralize CAE Interoperability Technologies
Establish a technical center of excellence that will centralize your CAD-to-CAE interoperability processes and technologies. For small-to-medium companies, a single application implemented as either a workstation or server solution can fill the gap.
For global enterprises with a myriad of CAD and CAE applications, a CAE Interoperability Center of Excellence can be implemented and scaled to include support for native and/or neutral formats, proprietary systems, and integrated within PLM workflows. The figure below illustrates an in-production use case: