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29-03-2017 | Original Article | Issue 1/2018

Engineering with Computers 1/2018

Sustained CAD/CAE integration: integrating with successive versions of step or IGES files

Journal:
Engineering with Computers > Issue 1/2018
Authors:
Robert Kirkwood, James A. Sherwood

Abstract

CAD/CAM/CAE integration offers designers, analysts, and manufacturers the opportunity to share data throughout the product development process. Such integration reduces product development cost and supports the development of better products. Finite-element (FE) meshing applications integrated with solid model data from CAD systems represent a major subset of CAD/CAM/CAE integration. Many practitioners find that sustained integration with the CAD geometry is often not economical because of mixed CAD formats and the need to simplify geometry before modeling. This article assesses those circumstances and the cost/benefit trade-offs that lead to the not-economical conclusion. The article also introduces new techniques for sustained integration with FE meshing applications. Virtual persistent identifiers (VPI) enabled by design change vectors (DCV) are proposed as tools to enable sustained integration between FE meshing applications and imported neutral format CAD models (e.g., STEP, IGES). VPI techniques are shown to enable sustained integration using neutral format files with no extensions to their current format. The approach accommodates “integrate as you go” (ad-hoc integration) instead of the homogeneous integration approach that requires extensive planning, investment, and policies. The same ad-hoc capability can be used to repair broken associativity and mitigate risks associated with migrating from one CAD platform to another. The authors conclude that VPI should be useful for ad-hoc integration, integration repair, and migration to new exchange standards like the feature definition standard in STEP AP-242. A simple example of the proposed process is shared.

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