September 06, 2004
COSMOSDesignSTAR 4.5 Released With Wide MCAD Support
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by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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COSMOSDesignSTAR 4.5 Released With Wide MCAD Support

COSMOS has released COSMOSDesignSTAR Version 4.5, which includes 3D nonlinear contact analysis, support for motion controllers from 3Dconnexion, support for the XML material library format, and analysis support for the newest versions of Solid Edge, Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, and CATIA.

The new availability of 3D nonlinear contact analysis eliminates limitations caused by using static studies to solve contact problems, and provides users with a number of benefits.

"Engineers can now easily solve problems that require analysis of material nonlinearity coupled with contact -- such as an O-ring seal simulation -- within the COSMOSDesignSTAR interface," says Ramesh Ramalingam, Product Manager for COSMOS. "With reference to the same example, users can simulate the hyper-elastic behavior of the O-ring as it becomes compressed upon contact with bearing surfaces."

The new release of COSMOSDesignSTAR has a thermostat mechanism that can control all heat, power, and heat flux assignments for transient thermal analyses, and users can employ multiple thermostats at different locations. In addition, the new version enables engineers to apply different initial temperatures to different components in an assembly when performing transient thermal analyses.

COSMOSDesignSTAR 4.5 supports the popular motion controllers CadMan, SpaceBall, SpaceMouse, and SpaceTraveler from 3Dconnexion. The controllers operate together with a traditional mouse to provide a very ergonomic and intuitive way to work with 3D geometry. Instead of using a "normal" mouse with one hand as an input device for all activities -- including zoom, pan, rotate, select, and click on icons and menus -- users of 3Dconnexion's motion controllers can use one hand to move and rotate the part or assembly, and see CAD models and analysis results from all sides and angles, while using the other hand to perform all the normal selection tasks with the mouse.

The new release also features a Task Scheduler, designed to make it easier to run COSMOSDesignSTAR studies in batch model. The new utility makes it possible for users to schedule the meshing and analysis of up to 10 models. The Task Scheduler enables engineers to run all defined studies, or any specified one, either immediately or on a delayed basis.

Sara Phillips, mechanical project engineer, EMS Wireless, Norcross, Ga., has used COSMOSDesignSTAR in designing transmission antennae for cellular phone service. She and her team performed linear static, natural frequency and linear heat transfer analyses. "COSMOSDesignSTAR met our needs in each of these areas," says Phillips.

In particular, she says that the software helped the designers to optimize wall thickness as well as cross-sectional areas at the corners of the structure to make certain that the entire structure would support the wind load.

"It was especially important to do 'what if' analyses on this model," she says. "When COSMOS results show that we have a good model, we have confidence in the design. And, by the time we develop the actual product, we're certain the piece is robust."

COSMOSDesignSTAR helps design engineers and expert analysts alike detect potential design problems quickly and correct them before beginning prototype production, saving companies the time and expense of post-production fixes. By conducting multiple "what if" studies, design engineers can determine the reliability of their designs quickly, shorten design review cycles, and reduce the number of physical prototypes that need to be tested. COSMOSDesignSTAR is currently in use in some 2,000 companies.

COSMOSDesignSTAR now supports Solid Edge Versions 15 and 16, Autodesk Inventor Versions 8 and 9, SolidWorks 2005, CATIA V5, Rev. 2-13 (*.CATProduct and *.CATPart). COSMOSDesignSTAR also supports Parasolid up to version 16, ACIS up to Rev. 13, and other CAD formats via STEP and IGES.

Jack Van Heest of Aromech, Inc., Holland, Mich., design consultants who use SolidWorks, Autodesk Mechanical Desktop, Pro/Engineer, and Unigraphics CAD systems, says that he uses COSMOSDesignSTAR because, "it's very flexible, works with all the CAD programs our customers require us to use, and can handle many different kinds of problems."

I consider COSMOSDesignSTAR to be the big brother (or sister, depending on your sibling gender preference) of COSMOSWorks, COSMOSMotion, COSMOSFloWorks, and other COSMOS products. All are being used earlier in the product development process and this is a good thing, primarily because they, along with competing analysis products, are used to reduce the number of physical prototypes required as a product is developed. This can reduce both time to market and cost, sometimes quite dramatically. Also, once the province of analysis specialists (many with PhDs), these analysis and simulation applications are increasingly finding a home on the desktops and in the toolboxes of mere mortal
designers and engineers. What this all means is that analysis and simulation are becoming mainstream processes and are being thought of as integral to the overall product development process, and not just an afterthought or "if time allows."

Probably one of the biggest functional enhancements to COSMOSDesignSTAR 4.5 is its 3D nonlinear contact analysis that minimizes or eliminates limitations caused by using static studies to solve contact problems.

Below are some of the highlights that we think add to COSMOSDesignSTAR's utility:
  • A sketching tool that lets you create 2D profiles and use them to split the face of a solid or create 2D surfaces.
  • COSMOSDesignSTAR provides a method for solving thin, thick extrusions, and solids with an axis of revolution by using 2D analysis.
  • A mesh failure diagnostics tool locates and resolves meshing problems. It highlights the faces that failed to mesh and also suggests steps to troubleshoot the problem.
  • For assemblies with large size differences between parts, COSMOSDesignSTAR can automatically set appropriate element sizes for different parts.
  • In case of mesh failure on the first pass, COSMOSDesignSTAR automatically attempts to mesh a model multiple times with different element sizes. You can control the number of loops and the change in element size.
  • COSMOSDesignSTAR can employ remote loading where you can ignore certain components in an assembly, but consider their effects on the rest of the assembly
  • COSMOSDesignSTAR supports rigid connection restraint that helps to connect two disjoint parts in an assembly.
  • Shrink fit simulates the effect of fitting one component inside a slightly smaller cavity. It calculates the amount of shrinkage or expansion and the associated stresses.
  • The linear static module supports large displacement contact that helps the user to solve parts separated by large gaps.
  • COSMOSDesignSTAR lets you superimpose deformed shapes with results on the original model. The original model can be displayed with different levels of transparency.
  • COSMOSDesignSTAR can explode individual parts of an assembly with several view options.
  • COSMOSDesignSTAR 4.5 is a versatile package because it is available in a wide variety of possible bundle configurations that let you keep it as simple or make it as comprehensive as your needs dictate. You can also configure bundles for intermediate and advanced analysis. SRAC (the company behind the COSMOS product line, and a division of SolidWorks Corp.) can help you determine what base application bundles and add-ons would best suit your needs based on the types of products you design, the analysis requirements you have, and the MCAD products you use.

    Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.

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