CAE / Computer-Aided Engineering

Computer-aided engineering (CAE) is the use of computer software to simulate performance in order to improve product designs or assist in the resolution of engineering problems for a wide range of industries. This includes simulation, validation, and optimization of products, processes, and manufacturing tools.

A typical CAE process comprises of preprocessing, solving, and postprocessing steps. In the preprocessing phase, engineers model the geometry (or a system representation) and the physical properties of the design, as well as the environment in the form of applied loads or constraints. Next, the model is solved using an appropriate mathematical formulation of the underlying physics. In the post-processing phase, the results are presented to the engineer for review.

CAE applications support a wide range of engineering disciplines or phenomena including:

  • Stress and dynamics analysis on components and assemblies using finite element analysis (FEA)
  • Thermal and fluid analysis using computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Kinematics and dynamic analysis of mechanisms (multibody dynamics)
  • Acoustics analysis using FEA or a boundary element method (BEM)
  • 1D CAE, or mechatronic system simulation, for multi-domain mechatronics system design
  • Mechanical event simulation (MES)
  • Control systems analysis
  • Simulation of manufacturing processes like casting, molding and die press forming
  • Optimization of the product or process

Some engineering problems require the simulation of multiple phenomena in order to represent the underlying physics. CAE applications that address such problems are often called multi-physics solutions.

Benefits of CAE

The benefits of CAE include reduced product development cost and time, with improved product quality and durability.

  • Design decisions can be made based on their impact on performance.
  • Designs can be evaluated and refined using computer simulations rather than physical prototype testing, saving money and time.
  • CAE can provide performance insights earlier in the development process, when design changes are less expensive to make.
  • CAE helps engineering teams manage risk and understand the performance implications of their designs.
  • Integrated CAE data and process management extends the ability to effectively leverage performance insights and improve designs to a broader community.
  • Warranty exposure is reduced by identifying and eliminating potential problems. When properly integrated into product and manufacturing development, CAE can enable earlier problem resolution, which can dramatically reduce the costs associated with the product lifecycle.

CAE Software

Here are examples of CAE software applications:

NX CAE is a modern simulation environment that enables engineering teams to reduce modeling time, shorten design-analysis iterations and improve productivity for FEA. NX CAE provides solutions for pre-and postprocessing, structural, thermal, flow, motion and multiphysics analyses, optimization, simulation data management and simulation-driven design.

NX Nastran is a finite element solver that analyzes stress, vibration, structural failure/durability, heat transfer, noise/acoustics and flutter/aeroelasticity.

LMS Virtual.Lab is an integrated suite of finite element, boundary element and multi-body modeling software that simulates real-life performance of mechatronic systems. It allows you to quickly build complex models and accurately study structural integrity, noise, sound, vibration, correlation to test results, system dynamics and durability performance, optimizing designs long before prototyping.

LMS Samtech contains a finite element method (FEM) solver suite to simulate critical performance engineering attributes for mechanical systems. It is designed to fulfill the precise requirements of applications such as wind turbine development, rotor dynamics, structural and thermal analyses, and composites. Its high-end solvers handle both nonlinear FEM and multi-body simulation. The software also features a high-level CAE integration platform for managing the aviation engineering process.

LMS Imagine.Lab helps you drive virtual, intelligent system design all along the design cycle. It offers all the necessary tools to create, manage and use models and data, answering various model-based systems engineering needs. It effectively deals with the specific challenges associated with mechatronic system simulation.

Femap is a CAD-independent, solver-neutral, Windows-native pre- and postprocessor for advanced engineering FEA. It provides engineers and analysts with an FEA modeling solution to handle even the most complex tasks easily, accurately and affordably.

Solid Edge Simulation is a built-in FEA tool for design engineers to validate part and assembly designs digitally within the Solid Edge environment. Based on proven Femap finite element modeling technology, Solid Edge Simulation significantly reduces the need for physical prototypes, thereby reducing material and testing costs, while saving design time.

The following software components are used by CAE software developers as the foundation for their applications:

D-Cubed Components are six software libraries that can be licensed by software developers for integration into their products. The capabilities they provide include parametric sketching, part and assembly design, motion simulation, collision detection, clearance measurement and hidden line visualization.

Parasolid is 3D geometric modeling component software, enabling users of Parasolid-based products to model complex parts and assemblies. It is used as the geometry engine in hundreds of different CAD, CAM and CAE applications.

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