Arvind Krishnan

Solid Edge 2022: Boosting Mechanical Design Processes with Modeling and Simulation

October 21, 2021

Mechanical design is a complex and demanding field. But a range of new capabilities in the latest release of Solid Edge can help ease the pressure on design engineers. This post highlights the new features of Solid Edge 2022 that can improve the mechanical design process. Challenges in Mechanical Design Numerous challenges exist when designing …

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Solid Edge 2022: Boosting Mechanical Design Processes with Modeling and Simulation

Mechanical design is a complex and demanding field. But a range of new capabilities in the latest release of Solid Edge can help ease the pressure on design engineers. This post highlights the new features of Solid Edge 2022 that can improve the mechanical design process.

Challenges in Mechanical Design

Numerous challenges exist when designing next-generation products, which are smarter, more personalized, and connected. Customers want more sustainable products, and companies face market pressures to reduce costs. As a result, design engineers often encounter complex and conflicting requirements.

In the past, design engineers have harnessed many tools to overcome these challenges in design. But today, they are increasingly turning to a single tool— 3D computer-aided design (CAD)—to manage increasing complexity. Using simulation early in the design process also helps. It can catch potential errors before they snowball into significant problems, enabling design engineers to meet complex product requirements more efficiently. 

Solid Edge 2022 delivers a set of modeling and simulation capabilities for mechanical design. In this post, we will highlight the new capabilities that can improve the design process.

New Modeling Capabilities to Tackle Modern Product Design

Let’s look at some of Solid Edge 2022’s new modeling capabilities that can help design better products. 

CAD Direct Modeling

Mechanical product development is a collaborative process involving multiple engineers, contractors, and suppliers. Often, different stakeholders use different CAD solutions. 

In Solid Edge 2022, design engineers can integrate CAD models from other solutions (like Siemens NX)  into their Solid Edge assembly design. There’s no need to import the model as a neutral CAD format first. 

Solid Edge also maintains smart associativity. So, whenever the design changes in NX, the Solid Edge assembly updates automatically. Design engineers can be confident they are working with the latest designs. They don’t need to manually exchange files or receive notifications about design changes via email. Designing using CAD direct modeling streamlines the design process and reduces the likelihood of errors.

Convergent Modeling

Solid Edge 2022 continues to build on the convergent hybrid modeling technologies developed in previous versions.  Here, engineers can use 3D scan techniques to introduce geometries. They can then import the geometries into Solid Edge as a mesh model. 

This import feature further improves designs. Design engineers can use the convergent modeling tools inside their CAD software. Solid Edge 2022 also has a new set of tools that can help engineers visualize the mesh model and clean up the geometry for further modeling. 

Design engineers can draw sketches and create additional features, bringing the cleaned meshed geometries to life. Using convergent modeling, they can also efficiently reuse existing designs. What’s more, Solid Edge’s sketching and modeling tools can further improve these meshed geometries. And as we’ll explain later, Solid Edge 2022 also allows engineers to simulate these imported mesh models.

Integrate Point Cloud Data 

When developing a new machine or equipment, machine or plant designers want to see their latest creation in the context of an existing factory or processing plant. This is where point cloud technology comes into play. 

Designers can scan an existing factory or plant as a series of coordinate points using 3D scan technology. This set of points is called a point cloud. Designers can now bring the point cloud data into Solid Edge, use it in their assembly, and integrate it with their newly created CAD model. 

This allows designers to visualize and measure critical dimensions. Engineers can lay out their factories and processing plants. They can spatially visualize these layouts and look for potential space constraints. If any conflicts are found in the existing layout, they can modify their new designs easily inside Solid Edge.

Model as Internal Component 

Often, engineers build assemblies with components from outside suppliers. While they may want to show these components in a CAD assembly, they would not like to model them as separate parts. This is because they want to differentiate between internally manufactured components and external supplier components right at the CAD assembly level. Having these purchased components marked clearly in their CAD assembly lets them see the entire product in action. 

When designing an assembly, engineers can now bring in purchased parts or model them from scratch within the context of the CAD assembly. The part resides only within the assembly. It has no reference outside as a separate part. 

So, design engineers can manage both purchased components and in-house manufactured components within the same assembly using Solid Edge 2022.

Better Design Enabled by Simulation

The new modeling enhancements in Solid Edge 2022 can help mechanical engineers tackle the challenges involved in designing today’s smart, connected products. Now, let’s highlight some of the critical simulation capabilities of Solid Edge 2022. 

Hydrostatic Pressure Boundary Condition

When designing liquid-containing pressure vessels, hydrostatic pressure is an important design parameter. In Solid Edge 2022, structural simulations can include hydrostatic pressure as a load. Users can easily define these loads by defining the liquid density and its internal height. Then, the simulation automates the rest. 

As a result, pressure vessel designers can quickly and accurately identify stresses and assess the safety of their designs. 

Simulation of Frames and Mesh Models

Many machines use frames as their foundational structural elements. So, the strength of a machine depends on the load-carrying capacity of the frame.

When modeling frames, beams are used as simulation elements. It’s often difficult to manually connect these beams using rigid connections, especially if there are many beam members in the frame. In Solid Edge 2022, design engineers can automatically connect all the frame elements, expediting the simulation process.

Solid Edge 2022 also handles imported 3D scanned mesh models. Engineers can easily run simulations on these imported models to see if they meet the requirements. This capability helps when reusing models from existing designs. Now, engineers can evaluate the suitability of existing mesh models from 3D scans using Solid Edge 2022.

Meshing Improvements

Meshing is a critical step in simulation. If a design engineer can’t mesh a model, there’s no simulation. The mesh quality also affects the accuracy of the results. So, the simulation software needs a robust meshing algorithm.

To achieve this, Solid Edge 2022 includes a new automated body mesh generation feature. It produces high-quality meshes without tweaking many mesh parameters. As a result, design engineers can obtain accurate simulation results by ensuring the aspect ratio of meshed elements is within acceptable limits. They can also use this feature for models that failed to mesh in earlier versions. 

Conclusion

Solid Edge 2022 features both modeling and simulation enhancements to boost mechanical design processes. As a result, design engineers can meet complex product requirements within today’s tight time and cost constraints.

They can import CAD models from Siemens NX directly into Solid Edge assembly while maintaining associativity. Designers can import scanned models for further design work. Engineers can include point cloud data in their assemblies and use that as a reference to model new geometries. They can also incorporate purchased parts into assemblies directly without needing to create separate parts.

That’s not all. Solid Edge 2022 also transforms hydrostatic pressure boundary conditions, automatic rigid connections for frames, and body meshing. These features enable engineers to perform simulation early in the design phase, inside Solid Edge CAD. 

To summarize, Solid Edge 2022 provides design engineers with exceptional modeling and simulation capabilities to transform mechanical design across the product development lifecycle. 

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