Writing the Next Chapter in Simulation-Driven Design

It’s often said that everyone has at least one good book inside them. But if that’s true, what’s stopping more of us from becoming the next J.K. Rowling?

I’m not sure if the analogy quite stretches to the world of design engineering. However, I think it’s safe to assume that broadening access to world-class design tools significantly improves the chances of great ideas making it to the real world.

Altair is very much driven by that belief. We’re committed to breaking down barriers to design by making high-performance simulation more accessible. Specifically, that means easier to use, and less demanding in terms of the hardware needed to support it.

Altair Inspire™, our fully integrated topology optimization and rapid simulation solution, reflects this approach, and has helped define the concept of simulation-driven design. Instead of being used exclusively for validation, simulation has become integral to the entire process. As a result, users can (and should) test more alternatives at the earliest possible stage of development and identify the most efficient solutions faster. Inspire also makes it easy to realize these benefits, because it can be learned in just a few hours.

Altair’s commitment to both simulation-driven design and design democratization made the acquisition of Altair SimSolid™ a perfect fit. As many readers will appreciate, SimSolid represents a ground-breaking approach to structural analysis. With accuracy that has been independently verified by NAFEMS, it enables simulation of complex assemblies direct from CAD files. The skilled and time-consuming tasks of geometry fixing and meshing are eliminated. Results are delivered in seconds or minutes, rather than hours or days.

The integration of SimSolid into Inspire is therefore a logical progression – and exactly what users will find in the latest release of Inspire. Alongside the proven industry solvers Altair MotionSolve™ (multi-body system simulation) and Altair OptiStruct™ (structural design and optimization), Inspire now provides seamless support for a third, in the shape of SimSolid.

Within Inspire, users can make design changes directly on their models without having to go back to the original CAD system. Interactive design modifications like geometry edits, dimensional changes, and part replacements can now be immediately re-analysed on the fly with the SimSolid solver.

Additionally, Inspire can run simulations on a laptop or a workstation and has no need for expensive graphics processing units (GPUs) for it to solve large problems fast.

The benefits extend throughout the design community. By putting fast simulation within reach of all engineers, engineering leaders will cut product development costs and time to market. By running more iterations themselves, rather than having to refer to simulation specialists, product engineers will now make better design decisions. And, as I’ve already mentioned, the ability of simulation specialists to use SimSolid is no longer reliant on CAD know-how to make design changes.

In fact, it’s not really a question of who ‘does’ simulation anymore, but where it figures in the process and the added value it delivers. What’s more, we are very much on the first chapter here. Going forward, more of SimSolid’s functionality will be embedded within Inspire. Which means unleashing the creative capabilities of more people, and the assurance of success for more design and development projects.

Watch this video to learn more about the Inspire and SimSoild integration.


James Dagg
James Dagg

About James Dagg

James joined Altair in 1987 where he worked as a structural analyst and as a multi-body dynamics analyst in the field of vehicle dynamics. He is currently the Chief Technical Officer for Altair’s modeling, visualization, and math-based solutions and strategy with a primary responsibility to create an exceptional user experience across Altair’s entire software portfolio. For more than 25 years, James has been a visionary behind Altair’s software strategy and development activities. Prior to his role as CTO, he was the Senior Vice President for solidThinking®. James received his BSME in 1988 from the University of Michigan and his MS in Applied Mechanics from U of M in 1993.