DESIGN ENGINEER

Software works out best costs at the design stage

Cost Advantage, a program that allows engineers to analyse their designs for cost and manufacturability, is now available for NT computers.

As product costs are set at the design stage, design engineers using the program can cut product costs by up to 15%, says developer PS Industry Group.

Cost Advantage links to CAD and other databases. Base models cover injection moulding, casting, manual assembly, electronic assembly, machining and composites.

New process models can be based on proprietary processes, company design standards and customer specific data.

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Legacy design data developed on early CAD/CAM systems, or even corrupted design data, can be recovered using Cadfix, says the UK vendor.

Cadfix Pro is an advanced geometry exchange and diagnostics software package that assesses imported data for geometric imperfections and repairs the model for export to another design, machining or analysis program.

The geometry fixer has both automated and user-defined repair functions. Cleanup facilities include Nurbs freeform data manipulation.

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CoCreate extends the capability of its SolidDesigner 3D design software with Design Information, a module that allows non-geometric information such as dimensioning and tolerancing data to be attached to geometric models.

The aim is to cut down on paper sent to production, particularly in the early stages of a product’s life. Eventually it could eliminate the need for drawings altogether.

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Design work now accounts for half the workload at Northwest Aerodynamic Models, which makes prototypes for British Aerospace, Dera and other customers.

To cope with the increase in design work and for compatibility with customer IT systems, the company has invested in Anvil-5000 Cad/cam software. Using Anvil’s Iges translator, NAM now sends designs to customers electronically.

The program provides 3D drafting, modelling and rendering and includes as standard some useful features such as Verify, a module used to display and evaluate up to 5-axis tool paths.

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Finite element software company Algor says it has improved the solid model meshing capability of its Algor FEA program to refine the surface mesh and provide more accurate FEA results.

Improvements to the module, called Merlin Meshing Technology, means users achieve better results using fewer data-entry operations. Algor FEA software works directly with both wireframe and solid models from virtually any CAD system, the company claims.

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Roller bearings company NSK-RHP has cut the cost of producing drawings by one-third, and has saved £58,000 in one year since it started using SDRC’s I-Deas design software at its European Technology Centre at Ruddington in Nottinghamshire.

Fitness for purpose is the theme behind product development which aims to strike a balance between bearing life and cost. While most of the centre’s drawing activity is based on 2D data, around 20% of the work involves complex shapes.

The I-Deas program provides 2D productivity the key to reducing costs, according to to the company and, when needed, seamless transition from 2D to 3D modelling and finite element analysis.

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Users of the latest version 5.2 of the technical computing software Matlab get faster, simpler development in C, C++ and the component-objects environment ActiveX, says supplier Cambridge Control.

New features of the program include GUI development and visualisation tools such as the HDF data file interface and OpenGL graphics rendering.

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Fluid flow analysis software Phoenics has been upgraded to make it easier for inexperienced users to work with CFD programs. Version 3.1 uses virtual reality to simulate fluid flow patterns from CAD data.

Walls, chairs, fans and heat sources can be selected and positioned within the virtual environment, while temperature, texture, materials, flow direction and turbulence can be specified.

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