Many design engineers find that one of the big hurdles to using analysis software to ‘test’ various design options is the interface between the CAD software and the FEA model. Algor has attempted to tackle this by packaging a fully functional CAD package with its FEA products. Hence, Superdraw III can be used as a standalone design tool, using CAD entities such as lines, arcs and NURBS, instead of analysis tools such as node and element numbering.

But the engineer can also pull his existing CAD designs into Superdraw III on three levels. Firstly, he can import 2D and 3D wireframe direct into Superdraw II, then use automatic meshing or one of several meshing engines to build the FE model.

Alternatively, he may import NURBS surfaces into Superdraw III using the Supersurf module for parametric surface meshes. And lastly, virtually any CAD solid model can be imported using Algor’s Houdini software to create solid eight-or 20- node ‘brick’ or four or ten-node tetrahedral meshes. Houdini supports IGES, ACIS and stereolithography representations of the solid model.

Superdraw III then lets the user create models that are made of several element types; for example, plate/shell models combined with brick models. The software has many automatic meshing capabilities. It can patch between objects to build surface or solid meshes and can extrude or revolve 2D meshes into 3D brick meshes. It also comes with a number of other ‘mesh machines’, including Supergen, Supersurf, Merlin and Hexagen.


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