In today’s Internet of Things (IoT) era, more products are being electrified. That simply means more electronics and electrical systems are being integrated into products. That’s the context in which we’ll be reviewing Altair HyperWorks in this post.
Note that this post is one in a series of reviews on Altair’s solutions. The overarching post is Altair’s Vision: Solution Breadth Surprises, which links to reviews of other Altair solutions. Furthermore, note that HyperWorks is also an expert simulation and analysis tool for mechanical design. The post providing a review of those capabilities is Altair HyperWorks: Expert Mechanical Simulation.
Setting Up Simulations, Reviewing Results
Note that these capabilities leverage HyperWorks to set up analyses. As described in our post on Altair HyperWorks: Expert Mechanical Simulation, this includes:
HyperMesh is their pre-processor. It accepts geometry from a wide range of MCAD applications, including CATIA, Creo, SOLIDWORKS, NX, Fibersim, and others. It also accepts neutral formats like IGES, STEP, JT, Parasolid, and more. It supports surface and solid (hexa and tetra) for practically all physics that are needed. It provides a mesh morphing capabilities that allows a user to drag geometry while the mesh updates in real time. There is also automated and interactive meshing here as well. Note that this tool can export out files for almost all solvers, including those not offered by Altair.
HyperView is their post-processor. Here, you have all the traditional capabilities like fringe plots with animations or deformations for results. A wide variety of solvers are supported here, including all of Altair’s offerings but also ANSYS, Abaqus, Dyna, MARC, Nastran, SIMPACK, and others. It’s been architected to work with very large datasets, as more analyses are taking more physics into account. This solution includes Hypergraph, a graphing toolset that can work on top of simulation results. Functionality that can automate the generation of analysis reports is also provided.
HyperStudy includes a number of capabilities that allow engineers to improve their design. This includes the traditional parametric-based optimization. But it also includes design exploration, stochastic and sensitivity studies. Users can gain a lot of insight into their designs with this functionality.
Distributed Electrical Systems Analysis
Let’s say you have a new product all ready for the IoT era. You’ve fitted with a bunch of sensors. You’ve dropped in a few busses. You have some embedded control systems. You have a few antennas to get the product connected. You power it up and… whoops… data isn’t being transferred or a sensor has interference. That’s the problem with all these electronics: they emit strong electromagnetic fields around them. They can interfere with one another. Troubleshooting what is wrong can be painful and time-consuming because physical tests don’t tell you the root cause of the problem, it only tells you there’s a problem. This is where Altair’s products come into play. Note that these tools work with the HyperWorks set of solutions, most notably HyperMesh, HyperView, and HyperStudy, as well as other third-party solutions. Here are the tools in this realm.
- FEKO is a solver for high-frequency electromagnetics. That means you can use it for antenna design, antenna placement, determining hazards from radiation and even the interaction of biology with electromagnetic fields.
- Winprop is a solver for electromagnetic wave propagation. This is good for sensors like Light Detection and Range (LIDAR) if you are instrumenting your products with smart systems like auto-parking for cars. Again, it uses the HyperWorks set of tools for pre-processing, post-processing and more.
Note that the design definition for these tools can be brought in from a wide range of CAD packages and other CAE solvers.
A lot of companies are simply purchasing electronics off the shelf to incorporate into their products, but some need to develop their own stuff. In these cases, you need to make sure that the electromagnetic physics of the component work. Flux is a solver for static and low-frequency electromagnetics. This is needed for the design of motors, actuators, and sensors, but also electric machines and high power equipment. Again, it leverages the HyperWorks set of tools for pre-processing, post-processing and more. These tools also integrate with many 3rd party tools like CAD packages and CAE solvers.
Integrated Circuit Design and Simulation
Some manufacturers are purchasing off-the-shelf processors to incorporate into their products, or simply getting standard integrated embedded systems. But some manufacturers need custom processors to keep up with the processing needs of control systems and data collection. Those ACIS, FPGAs and other ICs require some simulation to ensure that they work as intended. This is where Altair’s MODELiiS comes into play. This toolset supports both IC design and simulation.
The amount of electronics in today’s products is only increasing. Using simulation and analysis here, beyond the traditional checks required of electrical engineering, is an oft-overlooked need. Altair provides some incredibly powerful and useful tools in this regard. If you’re jamming more electronics in your products, you might want to take a look here.