Computational fluid dynamics (CDF) may sound intimidating, especially if you don’t have any simulation experience, but it will definitely put your organization ahead. Modern CFD software solutions deliver never before seen abilities to accurately simulate complex physical models and interactions. Many even have the modeling versatility and computational precision needed to resolve the toughest design challenges.

CFD simulation can be used in more cases than you think

Despite its name, computational fluid dynamics software is not only for fluids – it can also be applied to airflow, thermal, and structural analyses.

Here are just a few of the examples of the problems CFD software has the ability to solve:

  • Accurately predict the performance, fuel efficiency and emissions of a gas turbine engine.
  • Help design wireless antenna towers that resist wind loading while keeping costs to a minimum.
  • Help engineers optimize the air flow and aggregate movement through an asphalt dryer.
  • Optimize the conflicting objectives of pressure drop and uniform velocity in designing a heat exchanger.
  • Enable engineers to optimize any product or process that involves fluid dynamics.

CFD applications go far beyond simulating water moving through a pipe. (although it can absolutely do that too)

Now the rub… powerful software typically comes with complexity – complexity is often the result of the challenge to achieve accurate results in less time.

Challenge of Achieving Accurate Simulation Results in Less Time

Today, with global competition intensifying and product complexity increasing at a rapid rate,

your engineers need to accomplish tasks in less time and with less training than ever before.

Their time should be devoted to improving the performance of your products or processes instead of understanding how to operate CFD software.

They shouldn’t be wasting time crawling through a plethora of options that are irrelevant to their task at hand.

In fact, your CFD software should presenting the right choices to reduce the amount of experience and user input required to ensure a successful simulation.

This is exactly what ANSYS technology does, and it is changing the game.

A CFD Simulation Game Changer: ANSYS Fluent

ANSYS has undertaken a large initiative to overhaul the Fluent user experience with these goals in mind:

  • Provide a single-window CAD-to-Post solution in Fluent
  • Accelerate the workflow for generating a mesh from imported CAD
  • Remove barriers that frustrate users and waste their time

The new Fluent Experience builds on the advantages Fluent has always had over competitors – higher solver accuracy, broad range of physical models, moving and deforming meshes, superior parallel scalability, ability to resolve reacting flows, and integration with other CAD and simulation tools through the ANSYS platform.

ANSYS 19.2 pushed these differentiators to the limit by releasing a task-based workflow with Mosaic-enabled Meshing that speeds up CFD simulations and helps engineers get accurate results with less training.

Accurate Computational Fluid Dynamics in less time

ANSYS’s new computational fluid dynamics task-based workflows deliver more accurate results in less time – here’s how.

ANSYS redesigned its Fluent user interface to provide a task-based workflow for meshing that enables your engineers to do more and solve more complex problems than ever before, in less time.

Introducing a New Fluent Experience for CFD simulations.

The new Fluent task-based workflow streamlines the user experience by providing a single window that offers only relevant choices and options, and prompts your engineers with best practices that deliver better simulation results.

This workflow builds on Fluent’s existing advantages and it includes:

  • higher solver accuracy
  • broad range of physical models
  • moving and deforming meshes
  • superior parallel scalability
  • ability to resolve reacting flows
  • and integration with other CAD and simulation tools through the ANSYS platform.

The context-sensitive command structure in the new task-based workflow reduces the time required to find the right option and reduces the chance of making a mistake.

Best practices are embedded into the Fluent, task-based workflow in the form of defaults and messages to the user that:

  • Guide the user by focusing on meaningful tasks
  • Indicate status and warnings with graphics
  • Create custom workflows by modifying the task-list
  • Process upstream changes robustly
  • Present tasks as simple inputs and choices
  • Minimize user intervention with intelligence and behind the scenes automation
  • Record and replay the workflow

This reduces the amount of training required to start using the software and makes it easier for occasional users to return to the software.

The new workflow provides navigation cues that guide the user through the meshing process.

As each task is completed, it turns green and folds up so only the elements needed for the current task are exposed.

The streamlined task-based workflow provides the right solution for most problems, but ANSYS

also recognized that one workflow cannot fit every potential application.

This is exactly why the new workflow has been created in the form of custom templates.

It allows users to modify, save and distribute built-in templates to optimize their workflow for industry-specific, company-specific or application-specific requirements.

Any workflow can also be recorded and replayed to accommodate users who run a series of simulations, such as to evaluate a series of candidate designs or make incremental improvements to a simulation to more accurately reflect the real world.

This is a snapshot from the Fluent Single-window, task-based workflow for watertight geometries available in ANSYS 19.2.
This is a snapshot from the Fluent Single-window, task-based workflow
for watertight geometries available in ANSYS 19.2.

Saving time with simulation

The new advancements within ANSYS Fluent have customers everywhere raving.

R&D Thermal Research Engineer at INDAR, Itsaso Auzmendi-Murua stated , “Fluent reduced generator thermal simulation preprocessing from six to eight days to four hours.”

Solving the most critical concerns in CFD simulation

If you know anything about CFD (and even if you don’t) accuracy and solution time are two of the most critical concerns in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation, and both are highly dependent on the characteristics of the mesh.

Why? Different types of meshing elements are needed to deliver optimal performance in resolving different geometries and flow regimes- but transitioning between varying types of elements has long been a challenge.

The transition zone has typically relied on non-conformal interfaces or on pyramids/tetrahedra, but these come with issues regarding mesh quality and excessive cell count.

This is why it has often been necessary to compromise on a common element type in order to minimize transitions.

ANSYS Mosaic meshing technology changes the game by automatically combining disparate meshes with polyhedral elements for fast, accurate flow resolution.

This Mosaic mesh-connecting technology conformally connects any type of mesh to any other type of mesh, making it possible to build optimal meshes that use the best type of element in every section of the mesh.

ANSYS Fluent Mosaic Meshing for CFD Simulations

Mosaic technology allows native polyhedral meshes to connect with the following element types:

  • Surface: triangle, quad, polygon.
  • Volume: hexahedral, tetrahedral, pyramid, prism

Simulate faster than ever before

I’ll leave you with a quote from a little Italian car company you may have heard of before. Just like them, adding a tool like Fluent to your tool shed will help you simulate and solve complex problems faster than ever before. If you want to talk through specific use cases or pricing please contact our sales group and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Now for the quote…

“With Mosaic technology and the Fluent end-to-end workflow, our team runs three times as many simulations in the same amount of time and develops cars faster than we ever could before.”Ferdinando Cannizzo, Head of GT racing car development at Ferrari

This article talks about the barriers to simulation driven design faced everyday by engineers throughout the product development process – and how your organization can overcome them. We speak to product development companies and teams every day. Most strive to achieve:

  • Deeper understanding of product performance
  • Faster ramp-up, shorter development cycles and quicker time to market
  • Reduced design-cycle times
  • Fewer prototypes and first-time quality at reasonable cost
  • Reduced warranty liability and exposure

Odds are you’re already familiar with the traditional product development process. Taking ideas from concept, to design, simulation, prototyping all the way to manufacturing your products. For many years, industry has tried to consistently use simulation as a part of that process; for good reason. It typically improves quality, on-time delivery, and customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, when simulation is used as a part of the product development process, it’s almost always used as the final validation step after a design is practically complete. But the fact is… that’s not exactly the vision of “simulation driven design” that the industry has been striving to achieve for years.  

So why is that? Let’s talk about the common barriers holding many companies back from achieving simulation driven design.

Common barriers of Simulation driven design

1.     Engineers feel they need to consult a simulation expert

Often, engineers feel like they don’t have the expertise to run simulations while they design – they feel like they need to consult an expert that may not be directly accessible. This creates design challenges early in your product development process.

2.     Engineers feel they need a simplified copy of the actual design model

Often, a simulation expert’s initial task is to figure out how to simplify a copy of the design model so that the simulation will run in a reasonable time and still provide an accurate actionable result. Many engineers don’t feel comfortable making the call regarding what part of their design is critical for a successful simulation.

3.     The iterative design process can be complicated

We can all agree that the design process is an iterative one. We can also agree that designing products is complicated. If it wasn’t, everyone would do it.

Certainly, a design engineer would want to use simulation as he/she iterates a design, but this would require running a simulation that could take hours – on multiple uniquely simplified copies over and over again. It’s just not efficient. It’s too disruptive to the design process. Because of this, design engineers generally don’t do it.

The solution: Simulate Earlier in the Design Process

What product development teams really need is a simulation tool that is fast, responsive, and so simple to use that it can literally keep up with design engineers during every step of the way.

No copies. No waiting. Just immediate simulation results throughout the design process.

By using simulation capabilities that are ‘pervasive’ across a concept and detailed throughout design stages – your organization will break down the barriers between design and simulation. Requirements and Quality.

That is the key.

The best part? There are solutions that give every design engineer what they need to truly achieve simulation driven design.

They provide design engineers with the ability to instantly understand how product design changes can impact a products performance. These solutions are called ANSYS Discovery Live and Creo Simulation Live.

The solution that makes simulation driven design easy

PTC and ANSYS partnered together to achieve an overarching goal to remove simulation barriers for product development teams. They accomplished this by deeply integrating ANSYS’s breakthrough of Discovery technology directly into Creo.

This partnership provides the best and broadest portfolio of engineering simulation software – putting the best in class design and simulation capabilities into a single product available to the fingertips of every design engineer – it’s called Creo Simulation Live.

How Creo Simulation Live Works

Creo Simulation Live uses a unique technology approach to deliver simulation results interactively as a product is being designed.

This solution compliments existing simulation offerings that tend to focus more on the analyses that require higher levels of fidelity or are used as a final validation step.

Creo Simulation Live works differently because it does not require the user or designer to be an expert in the field of analysis. They simply need to know basic constraint techniques and away they go.

Using this simulation technology analysis setup and simulation is fast and easy.

In fact, engineers are able to quickly learn the tool navigating a familiar command ribbon UI, context sensitive menus, RMB command access, simplified workflows and engineering terminology. Because, again, Creo Simulation Live puts real-time simulation right in your Creo design environment.

Creo Simulation Live even uses intuitive menus to define and place loads, and constraints. It allows simulations to be created and visualized in minutes and updated on-the-fly. It gives design engineers instantaneous feedback on design decisions.

How much can Simulation Driven Design Save You?

Solving design challenges with instantaneous simulation sounds great, but let’s talk about the return on investment (ROI) it could provide your organization.

Engineers across a diverse range of applications can take advantage of the many features that Creo Simulation Live offers to reduce both time and expense in the design process. These include:

  • Optimizing the product design and identifying issues early in the design process
  • Reducing the need for multiple heavy analysis iterations or prototypes
  • Mitigating the risk of product failure, warranty and liability claims

Investing in Creo Simulation Live gives your engineers a tool that enables them to realize their full design potential. 

Just like any business investment, engineers must be able to prove that the results obtained by using Creo Simulation Live are greater than the resources invested, and it’s worth the investment. On a basic level the return on investment (ROI) is the calculation of an investment’s cost versus its benefit.

To calculate an approximate ROI on Creo Simulation you don’t need to be an accountant, I will keep it simple! Try using the following formula: ROI = ((Gain of Investment)- (Cost of Investment)) / (Cost of Investment)

The Gain of Investment is the amount of money your organization will gain from using Creo Simulation Live.

Remember, money your organization does not have to spend, such as prototype costs, should also be included in your Gain of Investment number. E.g. the value of reducing the number of physical prototypes, the expense saved by reducing the number of hours spent on non-final design simulations, etc.

Your organization might also include the improved quality resulting in reduced cost of product warranty and repairs. In addition, you may also consider the value of the time saved in the product development process when using Creo Simulation Live. 

Creo Simulation Live can significantly reduce the number of design and prototype cycles, allowing more robust products to be marketed earlier. The Cost of Investment is the amount of money your organization will spend on Creo Simulation Live. The most obvious cost is the price of the Creo Simulation Live software.  To obtain specific costs for your organization feel free to reach out to us.

Your organization may also want to include the cost of training or implementation for the software. We can help you figure out the bottom-line investment in things like software and training. When calculating ROI make sure to document two things that will have an impact on your calculations, the timeframe, and the precision of your numbers.

Pick a timeframe for your calculation that is relevant to your organization (in the case that you are unsure as to what this might mean for your organization, we would be happy to assist). One year is a good timeframe to start, allowing the results to be annualized.

Your ROI calculation should be an estimate, and not down to the last dollar. Many of your numbers will be approximations.  Document your assumptions as you compile the numbers. That way you can voice your justification if asked later on.

Let’s look at an example taken from the Aberdeen Group – Industry Averages for Simulation Driven Design (2008, 2016).

Current Customer Numbers:

  • Annual Product Revenue: $100M
  • Percentage of Product Revenue from New Products: 25% ($25M)
  • Cost of Poor Quality (% of revenue): 8% ($8M)
  • Annual Cost of Prototypes (% of new product revenue): 2% ($500,000)
  • Number of Design Engineers: 100

Sample Creo Simulation Live Benefits:

  • Cost of Poor Quality: 10% savings – ($800,000)
  • Annual Cost of Prototypes: Decreased by 39% – ($195,000)

Creo Simulation Live Cost:

  • 100 Engineers x (~$2,400/engineer) = $240,000

ROI Calculation:

  • ROI = (($800,000+$195,000) – $240,000) / $240,000
  • ROI= 3.1

This demonstrates approximately a 300% return on investment!

Given this kind of return on investment, you now have a solid argument as to why purchasing Creo Simulation Live is the best option to overcome your design challenges! 

The Form Wash is designed for the Form 2 3D printer from Formlabs to automate the cleaning process between printing parts. It makes things much easier for engineers who don’t want to waste any time cleaning their prototypes so they can either use the Form 2 again for another print job or get back to their next project.

Washing printed parts before post-curing helps to remove excess residual resin from part surfaces and cavities. Formlabs suggests using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) as the solvent that is most compatible with washing.

Form Wash by Formlabs
The printed part on the left after cleaned in the Form Wash compared to the printed part on the right that was not cleaned.

If you take a look at the image above, you can see that the left part is much cleaner and visually is more detailed than its counterpart. After using the Form Wash, you can typically use the Form Cure to expose printed parts to light and heat to stabilize the parts for performance. Using the Form Cure is not necessary but using the Form Wash and Form Cure together is recommended for optimal finishing.

Colder Products Company (CPC) has trusted EAC for years to provide them multiple Form 2 printers and other Formlabs equipment and materials to rapidly prototype customized quick disconnect couplings, fittings, and connectors for plastic tubing used around the globe. We answer a few questions that users have about the Form 2 and also include an engineer’s intake as well. Here is how Jeff Martin, an applications engineer at CPC, uses the Form Wash in-house to reduce time spent cleaning 3D printed parts.

How much time does it take for one wash?

Formlabs says that most resins require washing for the Form Wash default programmed time, which is 10 minutes – although additional time is needed for some resins. The following table shows Formlabs’ recommended wash times for each resin being used.

ResinWash TimeResinWash Time
Tough20 minElastic10 min + 10 min
Rigid15 minDental SG5 min
Grey Pro15 minDental LT Clear 5 min
Castable10 minDenture Teeth & Base10 min
Castable Wax10 minCeramic 5 min
High Temp6 minAll other resins10 min

Jeff suggests that you should set your wash time at 20 minutes for each wash. He also recommends that it’s best to physically have 2 Form Washes in-house to speed up the cleaning process, “The first Form Wash set to 10 minutes to wash parts hanging from the build platform, and the second Form Wash is used to clean the parts broken free from supports.” (Keep in mind, he typically uses Rigid Resin for his 3D prints).

Form Wash by Formlabs

What’s the best way to wash prototypes?

If you’re using the Finishing Kit, Formlabs recommends that you should wash your prototypes in at least two standard wash tanks  – the first wash, being the ‘dirty’ wash, would take 10 minutes and then the second wash, using a cleaner tank, for another 10 minutes. Once the first tank gets dirty, you can dispose the IPA, transfer the second tank into the first tank, and then pour new alcohol into the second tank.

The Finishing Kit includes 2 wash tubs to manually clean your 3D prints – whereas the Form Wash automatically cleans your parts and prototypes. 

Jeff says the advantage of having a second Form Wash is that you can use Formlabs’ same theory of having a clean tank to do the final rinse. “I find it in my experience to be extremely useful to remove the supports for the second wash. The reason is that the supports block the fresh circulation of clean solvent from the parts. You will notice that for deep aspect bores and blind holes, if you do not remove the supports, they often times will not fully be cleaned of resin. After removing the supports and letting the parts bounce around in the basket during the last 10 minutes, they will always come out clean.”

Learn more FAQ by reading our related blog, “Everything You Need to Know About the Form 2 3D Printer.” If you’re interested in a free sample, then contact us at your earliest convenience. 

Also, follow me on LinkedIn for tips and tricks on how to use the Form 2 and other equipment and materials from Formlabs!

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.