EAC’s been in the engineering and design technology world for a long time. Over the years we’ve carefully cultivated our product portfolio to meet the ever-changing needs of people and companies that design, manufacture, and service products. Our partnerships with PTC and ANSYS allow us to offer a few different design simulation and analysis solutions to our customers.
Design simulation, Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and many other terms all fall into the “simulation and analysis” bucket. These tools help engineers and designers create virtual prototypes of their products. This helps groups rapidly prove, or disprove, design ideas in a digital space – reducing the time and money spent on physical prototypes, and increasing confidence in designs.

“If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all” does not apply to simulation software. Different tools offer different benefits, accuracy, speed, and ease-of-use. Here’s a quick overview of some of the tools we offer. Contact our sales group to learn more about pricing, full capabilities, and packaging.

Option 1) PTC Creo Simulate

Simulate is a fantastic tool that’s fully integrated into PTC Creo Parametric CAD software. It offers fantastic meshing capabilities and accurate simulation results directly within a user’s familiar CAD software interface. All you need to do select the PTC Creo Simulate tab and you’re off and running. This is great for designers and engineers looking to test the stresses and loads under which a product will operate in ‘real world’ conditions. Based on your simulation and analysis results, you can either fix design flaws or forestall them. If you’re already using PTC Creo you should explore PTC Creo Simulate. Because, why would you ever manufacture a product without testing and analyzing it first? Creo Simulate comes in two flavors – Simulate and Advanced Simulate. They come with two different price points. One or the other might be the best option for your company. It really comes down to whether you need to simulate materials with linear or non-linear properties.

Option 2) ANSYS Discovery Live

ANSYS Discovery Live blows my mind. This tool was released in late 2017 and delivers functionality never seen before. Discovery Live uses ANSYS Discovery SpaceClaim to pull in IGES, STEP, and CAD models. Then the interface guides users through applying materials and some constraints – and Boom! It runs the simulation…in real-time…right in front of you. I’m talking about the ability to run wind-tunnel testing in real-time! Discovery Live is different from PTC Creo Simulate and most other simulation tools. It uses the Graphics Card (GPU) to run the simulation. This means it doesn’t occupy your core processor and RAM to while solving. You get better computer performance and instantaneous results for structural, thermal, fluid flow, wind tunnel, structural/fluid interaction, and more. Discovery Live is a great tool for engineers and designers that want to test a lot of design options quickly. The price is incredibly reasonable for a tool this powerful. You can see pricing and compare Discovery Live to AIM here.

Option 3) ANSYS Discovery AIM

Sometimes simulating real-world conditions requires more features and control than tools like PTC Creo Simulate, Solidworks Simulation, or Discovery Live might offer. ANSYS Discovery AIM is a great option when that’s the case. ANSYS Discovery AIM is a “multi-physics” simulation tool. What does that mean? Multi-Physics or Multiphysics refers to the ability to combine properties and solvers to simulate product usage. “Physics” in the simulation world refers to the kinds of simulation you are running – e.g. electromagnetic, thermal, structural, radio frequency, fluid flow, etc. AIM is a workflow driven multi-physics tool. It guides users through the steps necessary to complete a successful simulation. This is the perfect option when companies want a robust solution, but may not have experienced analysts on staff. Much like how PTC Creo Simulate maintains a familiar interface to make simulations easier; AIM uses guided workflows to make detailed upfront simulation accessible to engineers and designers.

Option 4) Dedicated ANSYS analysis software

When product simulation and analysis goes to the next level you need the ANSYS flagship products. These are sometimes known as the ANSYS Workbench products. Unlike PTC Creo Simulate or the Discovery software, each of these tools focus on one area of simulation…and deliver results you can take to the bank (or the regulatory agency). They are more complicated and come with a higher price point, but the results are unmatched. ANSYS’ comprehensive software suite spans the entire range of physics, providing access to virtually any field of engineering simulation that a design process requires. Organizations around the world trust ANSYS to deliver the best value for their engineering simulation software investment. If you need to test a specific physic – fluids, structures, electronics, semiconductors, or embedded software – this is the option for you. Contact us to learn more about a specific solution’s pricing and functionality. Also, if you’re a start-up make sure you ask us about special offers available through the start-up/entrepreneur program.

So there you have it. My layman’s take on a variety of simulation options. I hope you found this helpful. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to see a demonstration of any of these tools.

Engineering simulation is the key that will unlock your future innovation. It is the quickest way to validate and optimize designs. These software tools are no longer obscure systems that require specialized skill sets.
Some engineers and designers still shy away from simulation software, but that is quickly changing for two reasons.

1) There have been many improvements to CAD embedded tools like Solidworks Simulation and PTC Creo Simulate.

2) Companies like ANSYS have created easy-to-use upfront simulation tools like AIM and Discovery Live.

This article was written for the people hanging on to outdated misconceptions about engineering simulation. It’s time that everyone realized a few things.  

The tools have gotten easier to use and processing power has become more accessible. This has begun to make it easier for engineers to run simulations. It doesn’t take a doctorate or a dedicated super-computer-workstation.

Due to the advancements in technology, eventually every engineer in every industry is going to be able to use engineering simulation. In fact, it could get to the point very soon if you are not using engineering simulation as part of your workflow; you could get left behind. It’s really that much of a competitive advantage when it comes to solving problems quickly.

Engineering simulation no longer needs to be looked at as something scary or complex. It has transformed into something that can be fast, easy to use, and affordable.

Take a look at the ANSYS Discovery product lines for example.

These new engineering simulation tools offer all engineers and designers a fast, simple way to create better products.

The discovery product family is a suite of tools that are designed to put simulation in the hands of every product development engineer. The Discovery family includes; Space Claim, Discovery Live, and Discovery AIM.

Space Claim is a direct modeling tool that provides the ability to quickly edit designs and repair geometry within CAD files. It’s bundled with Discovery Live and AIM to provide an easy way to simply geometry and perform quick design experiments.

Discovery Live is truly an instantaneous simulation tool that is designed for rapid design iterations. You won’t believe until you see it! Real-time concept exploration. No waiting, just results. Make a chance to your design and see simulation results update before your eyes.

Ansys Discovery Live Model Analysis

Check out our demo on Discovery Live. There’s no “demo magic” here. You’ll see our engineers adjust geometry on-the-fly and quickly run simulations on several changes in a matter of minutes (We often blow people’s minds with this.) 

Discovery AIM Complete simulation, driven by an intuitive guided workflow. In-depth concept and design analysis without any coding or guess work. This a high-fidelity tool that provides an entry point into the full power of the ANSYS platform. This multi-physics tool provides a high level of control and the ability to create your own meshes. With AIM’s combined physics workflows your team could easily evaluate how fluids and structures interact. You could look at electric conduction, stress analysis, and even add in additional contacts for assemblies you may want to observe.

Ansys AIM multi-physics tool provides a high level of control and the ability to create your own meshes. With AIM’s combined physics workflows your team could easily evaluate how fluids and structures interact.

The ANSYS Discovery product line really makes simulation accessible. Even an industrial designer that may not have a lot of engineering specific knowledge could use these tools to quickly optimize designs and validate design A versus B (or C, D, E, F, etc. if they feel so inclined).

These basic easy-to-use, affordable tools provide engineers with an entry into using simulation as a part of their workflow. 

Don’t believe me yet? Watch this short video to see it for yourself.

EAC Product Development Solutions (EAC) is proud supporter of STEM education and fostering the development of future engineers. This is why we are excited to announce a partnership with the Lakeville South High School (LSHS) STEM Academy.

EAC Partners with Lakeville South High School's STEM Academy

The STEM Academy at Lakeville South High School began as a pilot program during the 2013-14 school year. At the time, it had two sections of Engineering Your Future 1. Today it has six sections of Engineering Your Future 1, four sections of Engineering Your Future 2, and one section of Engineering Your Future 3. The demand for these courses has risen significantly in such a short amount of time. Furthermore, 50 of the 200 students in the STEM Academy are young women.

The goal of the STEM Academy is to prepare students for STEM careers, whether they head straight into the workforce, enroll in a technical college, or pursue a four-year college degree. Lakeville Area Public Schools have recognized the ncreased demand for STEM careers, in turn increasing the demand for STEM classes. STEM jobs are growing faster than jobs overall in Minnesota, more than twice as fast as all industries in Minnesota according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

EAC offers many products and services to help companies improve the way they design, manufacture, connect to, and service their products. One of the ways we do this is through the sale of the product development software toolsets created by PTC and ANSYS. EAC has pledged to donate 1% of all engineering software and support sold in MN to the LSHS. We will also make an equipment donation to the STEM Academy valued over $20,000. The school will receive a Bridgeport CNC Mill and a 3D Systems Printer.

EAC’s donation will supplement funds for supplies and equipment coming in 2016-17 that voters approved in their levy referendum in November of 2015. This includes programming at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.

“The pieces of equipment are instrumental to state-of-the-art STEM education. Given the expense, such purchase might not be possible without the generosity of partners such as EAC,” said Justin Just, STEM teacher at Lakeville South High School.

Jacob Stewart, Senior at Lakeville South High School said throughout his four years in the STEM Academy the biggest things he has learned were “being able to work in groups and [thinking] outside the box. There’s no one right way [to solve a problem]. Failing is a big part of improving and learning.”

Stewart plans on studying engineering next fall at Iowa State University. The opportunity of working with and learning from state-of-the-art equipment may have given Stewart and his classmates a competitive advantage over their peers.

Another LSHS Senior, Will Duncan said the experience of building 3D printers has opened up future career possibilities that he might not have considered. “My dream job is to make prosthetics for people who don’t have the technology or resources to make limbs. 3D printing or other efficient technology could make that a possibility.”

In an effort to expand the awareness and success of this program EAC also plans to create a mechanism for their customers to donate additional funds and support to the program by “opting in” when placing an order.

“I want to be intentional in our efforts to support local students and schools. Some people say STEM is big right now. I say it is big for our future. Today’s students are doing amazing things. They have amazing ideas. And the staff at LSHS is doing a fantastic job preparing these students to impact the engineering and product development world. I’m proud of this program. Not only does it support a great school and great students; it also reflects EAC’s dedication to its customers. Not only do we want to provide great product development technology and services. We also want to make sure that local companies will be able to recruit talented individuals in the near future and for years to come,” said Thane Hathaway, President & CEO, EAC Product Development Solutions

Program Details:

  • This is a new program EAC is launching in MN
  • EAC pledges to donate 1% of Engineering Software and Support sold in MN during 2016
    • Minimum 2016 cash donation of $5000
  • $20,000 hardware donation
    • Bridgeport CNC Mill
    • 3DSystems Printer
  • In addition to a minimum cash donation and percentage of sales, EAC will provide a mechanism for customers to donate directly by “opting in” when placing an order.

Learn more about Lakeville South High School’s STEM Academy here.