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Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »
ANSYS and MachineWorks Expand Use of Polygonica
March 15th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe
Recently, ANSYS, known for its engineering simulation software, and MachineWorks known for its machining and verification software signed an agreement to expand the use of Polygonica Polygon Modeling Software toolkit throughout the ANSYS organization.
Polygonica is a polygonal solid modeling toolkit for processing polygon mesh and is the creator of MachineWorks.
Polygonica carries out a wide range of geometric operations on polygon mesh models such as automatic solid healing, fixing self-intersections and Boolean operations. Other algorithms in Polygonica allow remeshing, simplification, offsetting and point cloud manipulation.
Polygonica is built on MachineWorks’ core technology for material removal and machine simulation, and has a wide range of applications for many sectors, including additive manufacturing/3D printing, where solving complex polygon modeling problems is required when handling defective models with vast numbers of polygons.
Polygonica is used in ANSYS Discovery Live software, ANSYS’ relatively new tool that enables fast computation of CAE analysis results using the power of local GPUs. ANSYS Discovery Live shortens the feedback loop between design and analysis and lets product designers see relevant results immediately during the conceptual design process.
Interview with ANSYS at IMTS 2016
Even though we’ve been told by a number of software vendors for several years now to use engineering simulation and analysis at the earliest stages of product development, relatively few companies have heeded the advice and actually done so. In many cases, it’s still design, break, repeat in a cycle that gets very expensive quickly trying to achieve optimized design goals. Even with all the insistence and chiding from the simulation folks, I’d estimate the percentage of design work that includes simulation early in the process as somewhere between 20-25%, although that may be a bit on the high side.
With ANSYS Discovery Live, ANSYS hopes it will break and change that cycle.
ANSYS readily admits that while Discovery Live is a means of bringing simulation to the engineering masses earlier in the development process, it doesn’t pretend to do everything for everybody, and there will always be a place for engineering simulation specialists for deeper dives. Discovery Live is targeted to early design exploration and to users new to simulation. Because it is not a solution for every simulation problem, Discovery Live does not compete with other more advanced ANSYS products, such as AIM, but data from it can be exported for more further study.
With Discovery Live, ANSYS undertook a major research and development effort to build a new simulation technology based on the massive parallel nature of graphics processing units (GPUs). For example, the newest NVIDIA GPUs can deliver capabilities that approach supercomputing levels and, when combined with Discovery Live, results can now be calculated thousands of times faster than with conventional methods (think seconds instead of hours).
Interactive Physics in ANSYS Discovery Live
Discovery Live supports fluids, structural and thermal simulation applications – enabling engineers to experiment with design ideas and see instant feedback. Users can run an analysis first approach as they design – enabling them to iterate with a 3-D model and interactively explore the impact of simple and complex changes. Discovery Live’s environment provides users with instant simulation results, tightly coupled with direct geometry modeling to enable interactive design exploration and rapid product innovation.
Hopefully, Discovery Live will bring simulation upfront where it really belongs, instead of being relegated as an afterthought. Discovery Live may finally fulfill the long held hope of simulation driving design.
Other Polygonica Adopters
ANSYS Discovery Spaceclaim software was an early adopter of the Polygonica technology, which was initially used within additive manufacturing workflows. The SpaceClaim team helped progress the Polygonica functionality to support more generic polygon-based CAD functionality.
“We are very excited that ANSYS have seen the potential for using Polygonica across their product range and we fully expect they will be driving us to deliver solutions to even more challenging polygon-based geometry problems,” said Dr Fenqiang Lin, Managing Director of MachineWorks.
“The agreement with MachineWorks enables ANSYS to provide the industry-leading faceted modelling capabilities of Polygonica more broadly to our customers,” said Justin Hendrickson, director, product management at ANSYS. “Our recent release of ANSYS Discovery Live brings simulation to every engineer through remarkable ease of use and dramatic speed—Polygonica extends the included geometry editing to faceted data beyond traditional CAD.”
MachineWorks Hybrid Manufacturing Simulation Software
MachineWorks is a software development toolkit used by manufacturers looking to simulate any type of CNC machining and check for clashes and gouges in the full machining environment.
According to the company, more than 60% of CAM developers in the world have integrated MachineWorks software for CNC simulation and verification. MachineWorks is integrated not only into CAM applications but into stand-alone verification applications and controller-based applications, including collision avoidance systems.
MachineWorks v8.0 provides a much simpler integration experience by simplifying the work required to embed MachineWorks and by reducing the number of libraries needed for specific functions.
Switching between CAD and polygonal data can be frustrating and time consuming so MachineWorks has also added new modelling functionality that provides surface and feature detection capabilities.
Interview with MachineWorks at IMTS 2016
MachineWorks now provides simulation for sheet metal bending, including highly optimized collision checking and customised performance for this type of manufacturing.
The new cloud simulation functionality supports rendering of simulation in real-time even on slow network connections between client & server due to MachineWorks’ improved implementation, compression and communication tools.
A 3D recording of a simulation can be performed for creating movie files within MachineWorks v8.0. The recording contains information to provide customization options on the production of a movie. This new function creates new possibilities not just for marketing but for actual manufacturing as recordings can show abnormalities otherwise undetected.
So, in a nutshell, there is a lot going on symbiotically with ANSYS, Polygonica, and MachineWorks that will benefit customers.
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