commentary: Leading CAD Software Tools To Offer a Direct Link to ABAQUS FEA Software

by Ira Breskin

Upcoming versions of both the Electronic Data Systems NX Digital Simulation product line and Dassault Systemes' CATIA CAD software will include direct links to ABAQUS' leading-edge finite element analysis software, the companies announced recently. (See “ ABAQUS and EDS Expand Design Productivity to Manufacturers through Streamlined Interoperability.”)

In short, ABAQUS plans to provide an integration layer for an upcoming release of CATIA V5, and EDS plans to strengthen and extend the interoperability of its digital prototyping and product validation software by writing the link to the ABAQUS solver.

By offering a direct link to ABAQUS, EDS also hopes to bring uniformity to the once disparate Unigraphics and I-deas MCAD product lines, each now sharing the NX designation.

I-deas already had a link to the ABAQUS software that supplements its Femap finite element modeling and visualization, or "hyper-mesh" package.

Unigraphics, featuring a link to competing MSC Software’s Nastran solver, didn’t feature the ABAQUS link.

Ultimately NX customers probably will be able to link to either FEA package because Dallas-based EDS has said it plans to license the Nastran source code when MSC offers it, as is required under a pending Federal Trade Commission ruling.

Last year, ABAQUS signed a development agreement to tie its CAD neutral solver to the design software offered by Dassault Systemes. More specifically, the company plans to provide an integration layer for a subsequent version of CATIA V5, perhaps release 12; which is scheduled to be rolled out in the fall.

ABAQUS currently is studying pricing for its CATIA V5 linked product, as well as the plug, and expects to announce details this summer, said ABAQUS spokesman Jeff Rankin.

Twenty-five year old ABAQUS, formerly known as Hibbitt, Karlsson & Sorensen Inc. of Pawtucket, R.I., is a leading provider of FEA software that tests non-linear mechanics of a product design.

Ira Breskin, a freelance editor/writer specializing in business and technology issues, is a frequent contributor to Business Week, Newsday, and the New York Times. He holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism, Columbia University Business School. He may be reached at Email Contact.

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