June 01, 2009
Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology 2 Announced
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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The “synchronous” part of Synchronous Technology comes into play as the technology is intended to synchronize engineering relationships, features, and parameters through more direct model creation and editing. In other words, Synchronous Technology will synchronize feature recognition and constraint solving with geometry and topology.

Synchronous Technology can be applied to portions of models or entire models and will let you import features, such as bosses, from other MCAD systems. Relationships and constraints of these imported features are inferred by Synchronous Technology and can be treated as if originally created in Solid Edge. This is a new way of using feature recognition because, according to the company, any boundary representation (b-rep) data that can be extracted, regardless of origin, can be used with Synchronous Technology. This ability is probably how most users will benefit (at least initially) from Synchronous Technology – making multi-CAD environments easier to work with.

The first time around, I felt one of the biggest areas where Synchronous Technology was not present was sheet metal. Well, that specific area has been addressed

This time around, Synchronous Technology has been extended deeper into part and assembly modeling, including sheet metal, with support for a number of new features including:
  • 2D dimensions migrate from drawings to become 3D driving dimensions
  • Live sections for editing of 3D models using 2D cross sections
  • History-free, sketch-based edits to Helix features, blend reordering, etc.
  • Synchronous Technology has been extended into the sheet metal design and editing environment. With Live Rules tuned for sheet metal, model conditions are maintained with or without constraints. Live Rules also automatically find and maintain geometric conditions while making dimensional edits, but maintains sheet metal conditions such as thickness, bends, and reliefs. On the other hand, history-based systems require applying constraints during modeling in order to make future edits, which slows development and complicates the ability to make unplanned changes.

    Solid Edge Simulation

    From Solid Edge Simulation Express (formerly Femap Express) for individual parts, through Solid Edge Simulation that extends simulation to assemblies, all the way to Femap with NX Nastran that allows you to define and analyze complete systems, there are several simulation options available for Solid Edge

    Solid Edge Simulation is a new, optional, built-in Solid Edge application uses the same underlying geometry and user interface as all Solid Edge applications. The company says that Solid Edge Simulation is easy enough for any Solid Edge user with a fundamental understanding of FEA principles to learn and use.

    Analysis types that can be performed include statics, modal and buckling analyses using the NX Nastran solver. Solid Edge Simulation provides all of the boundary condition definitions required to define realistic operating environments. The constraints are geometry based and include fixed, pinned, no rotation, symmetric and cylindrical variations. The loads are also geometry based and include mechanical as well as temperature loading for thermal analyses. Solid Edge Simulation facilitates load and constraint application with Quick Bar input options and handles for direction and orientation definition.

    You can create and refine finite element meshes. Solid Edge Simulation supports solid tetrahedral element meshes as well as two-dimension shell element meshes on sheet metal structures. You can fine tune the finite element mesh with manual edge and face element sizing, and a mesh size slider bar that makes element size adjustments to the overall mesh, for an efficient simulation model with accurate results.

    Assemblies can also be analyzed by connecting assembly components together. Assembly contacts include component to component, in an iterative linear solution, and glued connection of individual components. Contact detection between components can be determined automatically, or connector defined individually through manual face selection. Assembly materials and properties can be applied manually or by default, while the included NX Nastran solver assures realistic assembly component interaction, making for a robust solution.

    With postprocessing, you can interpret and understand the resulting model behavior with the comprehensive graphical post-processing tools. Model results can be displayed in a number of forms, including color and contour plots, and displacement and mode shapes that can be animated. You can then identify problem areas and display max/min stress markers, as well as generate reports of final results.

    Solid Edge Insight For Product Data Management

    This tool is based on Microsoft’s SharePoint business productivity platform. With this release, Insight is now available on Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.WSS is included with Windows Server 2003 and 2008, so many Solid Edge customers already have the basic components they need for implementation. These Microsoft platforms provide collaboration, workflow, and security capabilities to Insight users.

    The Solid Edge Embedded Client is a transparent integration to the collaborative product data management environments are provided by Teamcenter and Teamcenter Express. According to the company, with this latest synchronized release, users will experience improved performance for handling assemblies and linked parts, intelligent part numbering through smart codes and more comprehensive attribute mapping.

    Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology 2 will be available at the following three different levels and price points:
  • Solid Edge Foundation (~$4,000)
  • Solid Edge Classic (~$5,000)
  • Solid Edge Premium (~$7,500)
  • These prices are in line with other mainstream MCAD products in this market space.

    So, while Synchronous Technology continues to sound promising, will history-based, parametric modeling necessarily or ultimately go away? A history-free design approach can provide some surprising benefits, but the history-based, parametric paradigm will not disappear. However, the non-history-based method does work especially well for working with pure geometry. Maybe a better way to go is “parametrics on demand,” but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s the route that Siemens PLM Software ultimately takes. While many of us realize the benefits of history-based methods, they aren’t always the best methods.

    Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology 2 will be available sometime this summer, and I am looking forward to taking a closer look at the broader implementation of Synchronous Technology throughout the product. So, while some of my peers may tend to look at the parts that are still missing with regard to Synchronous Technology, I’d rather dwell on the fact, that although my comments above are based on a single demo, Solid Edge has made definite progress since the first time around, and the company is committed to making it more comprehensive with future releases.

    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.

    Delcam announced that it overtook PTC in CAM sales during 2008, this according to the latest NC Software and Related Services Market report from CIMdata. After achieving record sales over the year, the company moved into third place by revenue behind Dassault and Siemens, the first change in the top three companies in more than five years. The report also confirmed Delcam’s position as the world’s leading supplier of CAM software and services, with an increased lead over the second-placed Planit Group. Delcam was also shown to have the largest development team in the industry, with 140 people working on the company’s software. According to CIMdata, an important reason for
    Delcam’s success is the company’s diversity, both in the markets it supplies and its geographic coverage. It claims to be the only CAM specialist to appear in the top five suppliers to all of the geographic regions and key industries (mold, tool and die; automotive, and aerospace) according to the report.

    Dassault Systèmes (DS) announced the availability of Abaqus 6.9, its unified FEA product suite from SIMULIA. This release delivers key new capabilities for fracture and failure, high-performance computing, and noise and vibration. In addition, SIMULIA is continuing to enrich the product suite with capabilities for modeling, meshing, contact, materials, and multiphysics. The Extended Finite Element Method (XFEM) has been implemented in Abaqus and provides a powerful tool for simulating crack growth along arbitrary paths that do not correspond to element boundaries. The general contact implementation offers a simplified and highly automated method for defining contact interactions in a
    model. This capability provides substantial efficiency improvements in modeling complex assemblies such as gear systems, hydraulic cylinders, or other products that have parts that come into contact. A new co-simulation method allows users to combine the Abaqus implicit and explicit solvers into a single simulation—substantially reducing computation time. For a more complete list of new features and enhancements, visit:

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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

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