February 06, 2006
MD Nastran For Multidiscipline Simulation
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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MSC.Software Corp. announced MD Nastran. MD Nastran combines the best-in-class technology platforms including MSC.Nastran, Marc, Dytran and LS-Dyna into one fully integrated multidiscipline solution for the enterprise.

"MD Nastran allows customers to transition from single point simulation tools to an integrated enterprise solution in the same environment they have used for years," said William J. Weyand, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, MSC.Software Corporation. "Additionally, MD Nastran transitions from simulating how a design will perform to how the product will perform."

"With MD Nastran, MSC produces an enterprise class solution that will provide simultaneous multidiscipline system level simulations to accurately represent real life scenarios -- MD Nastran obsoletes single point simulation tools," said Donald H. Brown, chairman, Collaborative Product Development Associates, LLC (CPDA).

MD Nastran can reduce the time-to-solution up to 50% when compared with bundled single-point simulation tools because customers can now work with a single common data model in place of multiple models for uncoupled discipline analysis using multiple single point tools. Higher result accuracy can be achieved by increasing commonality through the use of a single model representation for multidiscipline analysis. MD Nastran also eliminates the silos of simulation technology that exist within today's enterprise environment, resulting in cost savings from the overall development investment.

Model complexity has led to the increased use of CAE simulation tools as indicated by an 11% growth in CAE simulation software & services spending in 2005 (Daratech Report). An enterprise simulation solution optimized for multidiscipline analysis accelerates time-to-market by enabling customers to perform linear, implicit nonlinear and explicit nonlinear all within the same simulation platform. Furthermore, MD Nastran accounts for the interaction across discipline domains to accurately model real life scenarios.

"More than ever, today's manufacturers need to perform interoperable multidiscipline analyses on growing models (parts ands assemblies) if they are to satisfy the high expectations of today's consumers," said Glenn Wienkoop, President and Chief Operating Officer, MSC.Software Corporation. "MD Nastran allows customers to address true multidiscipline problems with reliable performance predictions and results that approach real life."

"By offering MD Nastran as a single solver running linear, non-linear and explicit simulations in parallel, that the company says produces results 50% faster than its competition, MSC.Software is offering the market a powerful, much-needed, speedup that has the potential to greatly enhance inter-discipline innovation and accelerate time-to-market," said Charles Foundyller, CEO, Daratech, Inc.

Competitive advantage is the result of maximizing product innovation. MD Nastran enables more design iterations through its support of true HPC 64-bit (ILP) and SMP/DMP (shared memory parallel / distributed memory parallel) support for large/complex model management and optimization. The 64-bit port of MD Nastran can handle large and the continuously growing models of assemblies with millions of degrees of freedom with ease.

MD Nastran adds a powerful competitive advantage to product development processes that enables customers to innovate industry-leading products while trimming costs. For over 40 years, MSC.Nastran has been the industry de-facto standard and leader in CAE simulation. Now, MD Nastran, the only multidiscipline solution, leads the industry into a future that empowers customers with value-driven innovation.

When I first saw the headline to this announcement, I wasn't quite sure what "MD" meant - a Nastran for medical doctors, a reference to Mechanical Dynamics (a company that MSC.Software acquired a few years ago), or what? MultiDiscipline, OK, now I get it. Although MD Nastran combines several of MSC.Software's platforms including MSC.Nastran, Marc, Dytran and LS-Dyna into one integrated multidiscipline tool set, I wonder why the company did not also include mention of Adams for motion simulation in the mix to really round things out. I'm even more curious about the omission because Adams was originally created by Mechanical Dynamics way back when, well before the acquisition.
Actually, Adams is in another MSC.Software suite called SimOffice, but more about that later.

The multidiscipline part of the equation comes in with the fact that several different design/engineering disciplines within a company can use the same model to simulate and analyze specific characteristics of a mechanical design With MD Nastran.

Although MD Nastran is a comprehensive suite of tools, I'd like to see the interface to it because it covers a broad range of features and functionality. It appears MD Nastran forms the core of MSC.Software's enterprise-level products and direction. It is somewhat analogous to what the company did when it launched SimOffice, in that it also provides a unified framework for the simulation of integrated virtual prototypes and includes other major MSC product families. Like MD Nastran, SimOffice also contains several MSC.Software applications - MSC.Nastran, Patran, Adams, Dytran, and Marc.

MD Nastran is the sum of its component applications. In its basic configuration, Nastran lets you perform linear statics, normal modes, and buckling analyses on models. As things get more sophisticated, you can extend Nastran by adding product modules tailored to heat transfer, dynamics, spot welding, aeroelasticity, or nonlinear analyses. Marc is a non-linear finite element analysis (FEA) program, for assessing the structural integrity and performance of parts experiencing geometric nonlinearities (relatively large deformations) such as metals bending, or material non-linearities such as elastomers and metals that yield under structural or thermal loading. Dytran lets you simulate
extreme, short-duration dynamic events involving the interaction of fluids and structures, or problems involving the extreme deformation of structural materials. LS-Dyna is a general purpose simulator for analyzing transient dynamic finite elements. All totaled, that's a lot of functionality.

It's no secret that MSC.Software has been quite challenged on several levels the past few years. However, with its new management in place and products like MD Nastran and SimOffice, all these things combined just might be the ticket to better days ahead for the company and its customers.

The Week's Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

PTC announced that NASA is using Windchill in the development of its Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). America's first new human spacecraft in 30 years, the CEV is being designed to meet the goals of "Vision for Space Exploration." Windchill serves as the backbone of the Integrated Collaborative Environment (ICE), a major tool for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD). CEV program engineers will utilize the ICE as an extranet to manage data and facilitate collaboration. NASA selected Windchill for critical capabilities such as program management and execution, secure data management, real-time decision-making and efficient change management throughout the program's
life cycle. As the central source of information for CEV systems, ICE provides a consistent view of data, thereby unifying all of the teams of NASA personnel and NASA suppliers. Additionally, the integral visualization capabilities of Windchill allow users to leverage the CAD models and drawings via lightweight viewables.

Rotoblock has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture between Apollo Energy Systems, a leading fuel cell and battery manufacturer, for the purpose of developing a hybrid electric drive-train with integrated OPE engine. Coupled with the lightweight lead foam cobalt battery and fuel cell from Apollo, the OPE engine would potentially give better performance than today's internal combustion engines. The lead cobalt battery would give better performance than the nickel metal hydride batteries now being almost universally used in hybrid vehicles and the Apollo fuel cell would increase the efficiency and environmental compatibility of electric energy generation. Under terms of the LOI,
the Rotoblock's OPE would be first used in a technology demonstrator hybrid electric car.

Proficiency has become a vendor member in the JT Open Program and is adding support for the 3D JT data format in the company's next version of its Collaboration Gateway product. OEMs and suppliers throughout the supply chain use many different design applications that produce a variety of formats, including JT. With the Collaboration Gateway, Proficiency's customers will now be able to automate the production of JT files and enhance their ability to protect intellectual property and product integrity in the exchange process. The Proficiency Collaboration Gateway is a Web-based, feature-level CAD interoperability software application that facilitates the sharing of product design
information, including features, history, constraints, assembly structure, dimensions, and metadata, throughout the extended product lifecycle process. In addition to the JT file format which will be supported in the next release, the software enables companies to exchange native parametric CAD models between Dassault Systemes' CATIA V4 and V5, PTC's Pro/ENGINEER and Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, and UGS' NX and I-deas NX Series.

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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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