MCADCafe Weekly Review April 23rd, 2017

Hexagon’s Recent Ups & Downs Update
April 20, 2017  by Jeff Rowe

A lot has gone on in the past couple months at metrology giant Hexagon AB, so let’s have a look.

For starters, Hexagon AB, announced recently that it was acquiring MSC Software Corp. for $834 million cash. While not quite as big, the acquisition is Hexagon’s largest deal since it bought Intergraph for $2.1 billion in 2010.

MSC Software is the the company that has brought products that include Nastran, Patran, Marc, and Apex to market. For more than 50 years MSC has been a leading provider of CAE solutions, primarily simulation software for virtual product and manufacturing process development, and was one of the first 10 commercial software companies.

As I noted when the acquisition was first announced, acquiring MSC provides Hexagon with a strong foothold in the competitive simulation/analysis market with MSC’s diverse portfolio of CAE applications.

Hexagon: Shaping Smart Change

As it has with all recent acquisitions, Hexagon plans for MSC to run as an independent business unit within the Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (MI) division, that focuses on automotive, aerospace, machinery, consumer electronics, and other discrete manufacturing markets, getting close to offering comprehensive end-to-end solutions in these diverse workflows. About the only link missing is a true CAD component and I can think of several possible targets for closing this gap.

Process-oriented solutions are essential for manufacturers, and MSC’s applications definitely address design and engineering processes through simulation and analysis.

What is a “Vortex Across a Pressure Boundary?”

In Flow Simulation, a vortex is a region in the fluid domain which causes a swirl in a region where there is asymmetric drag in the flow field.  The vortex itself is an expected phenomenon which itself is not problematic.  When that vortex is allowed to generate across a theoretical boundary within a CFD analysis that can cause the results to deviate from reality in the immediate vicinity of the boundary or also cause the solver to fail to produce results at all.  For that reason, it is important to note where this is happening in an analysis and take steps to avoid it.

How can this be fixed?

The vortex itself is generating because of the local solid geometry near the pressure boundary of a CFD setup.  If the flow through the boundary is not symmetric, a low-pressure region can generate in front of the boundary allowing fluid to pass the wrong direction through the boundary as intended.  The fix for this is to “build out” the model geometry.  What does this mean? The solid model needs to have more real life geometry added to the setup so the flow field can be allowed to have the vortex and then transition into a unidirectional flow.

Solution 1: Add Geometry

An example of a vortex across a boundary would be directly from the first Flow Simulation tutorial in SOLIDWORKS.

(The tutorials can be found under ‘Help’, ‘SOLIDWORKS Simulation’, ‘Flow Simulation Online Tutorial’ once the Flow Simulation add-in is turned on).  The ball valve, as it is setup in the tutorial, has two lids that are positioned closely to the ball of the valve.  In situations where the ball valve is not set completely open the flow through the valve is forced to be asymmetric as it passes through the pressure outlet.

The asymmetric flow out the pressure boundary allows fluid to backflow through the theoretical pressure boundary and creates the vortex that is seen below.

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