I recently read an excellent white paper from Cyon Research titled “Classes of MCAE Software: Clarifying the Market”. It spoke about the requirement in the industry and the characteristics for CFD software packages that were targeted for use by the CFD specialist. It also emphasized that the emerging need was for CFD software that could be used by the design engineer who was not a CFD specialist.
This, of course, is different by application. The design of an airplane wing by Boeing would certainly require extremely sophisticated simulations and be perform by teams of CFD experts. But the majority of fluid flow and heat transfer product simulations could be performed by the design engineer if that engineer had the right software package. To quote Cyon’s paper:
“Since the inception of MCAD, vendors have been promising MCAE software that is so integrated with CAD, so automatic in meshing, and so helpful to the design engineer in terms of appropriately describing boundary conditions, that the need to resort to specialists would be greatly diminished. But despite continued improvements in ease of use, model transfer, automated mesh generation, and other capabilities, there has not been a general uptake of MCAE by design engineers to date.
We believe that is about to change. …..”
At Mentor, we see this trend already in motion. Design engineers, i.e. not CFD specialists, are discovering that, given the right software, they can perform accurate simulations on their products, perform multiple “what-if” variations, and quickly deliver a design that performs to its optimum.