Firstly, credit where credit is due. This article was inspired by fellow PLM soldier Rob Ferrone who includes the title “Digital Plumber” in his LinkedIn profile.

How does the plumbing analogy fits into PLM? A generalized definition of plumbing from Wikipedia:

“Plumbing is any system that conveys fluids for a wide range of applications” (Interestingly derived from the Latin word plumbum or lead – these were the first pipes used for water delivery).

Of course, the term has subsequently been extended to cover any system that facilitates the flow of fluids, information, air etc. For example, people talk about “a problem with the plumbing of my heart” when referring to arterial blockages. Or “Our network plumbing is inefficient” meaning that there are bottlenecks in the passage of data in the network.

So, how does this extended definition apply to PLM and why is it important to pay attention to “PLM Plumbing”. Let me try my own definition:

PLM Plumbing – The art and science of optimizing background systems to ensure that information, processes and workflows in a PLM system flow efficiently as possible for a user.

It is important to split this definition into two parts because really, we are talking about two different participants in a PLM system. Let’s examine the sides below.

The User

What does a user want out of a PLM system? Here is a partial list of features or behaviors that are likely to result in great User adoption:

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Minimal button clicks
  • Fresh, modern look
  • Easy access to help screens, tooltips and other aides
  • Presentation of the right information
  • Easy “drill down capabilities” for looking up details
  • Dashboards and reports
  • Responsive screens (no “slow load”)
  • Use on any device
  • Work anywhere anytime
  • Accessible and intelligent search capability (users compare to Google)
  • Simple and easy to understand workflows
  • Simple process to create objects with uncluttered forms

The list above is obviously incomplete and high level. Also, many of the requirements are functions of the underlying software and its design, and cannot be changed easily, certainly not at a specific implementation.

The PLM Plumber

So, what are PLM Plumbers? They are the heroes of a PLM Implementation, constantly working in the background to provide Users with all their requirements. They take care of the “plumbing”; all the background setup, infrastructure and configurations that a User does not want to deal with but allows for efficient data flow.

Here are a few areas where an expert PLM Plumber can have an impact:

Infrastructure Design

A crucial part of any PLM implementation is ensuring that a robust infrastructure supports the system. Not designing this correctly can have implications for user performance and hence acceptance. Another complete blog could be written about this subject but, suffice to say the PLM plumber is an expert at these matters – this is the essence of plumbing. (Just a word of warning, don’t create something analogous to the title picture of this article)

Device Availability

It is a fact of modern life that everybody expects to be able to conduct business anywhere, anytime. More and more business interactions are migrating to smart devices – should not PLM? The system can be configured and enabled to allow for this. In terms of the plumbing, this may entail some behind the scenes IT systems (VPN, Mobile web pages, device security etc.). Include in implementations!

Workflows and processes

Often committees design convoluted and complicated workflows that are then implemented in a PLM system. The result of this is that Users do not understand them, are frustrated when they don’t work and make multiple mistakes. It is the duty of the PLM Plumber to simplify and streamline workflows and processes – Users will appreciate this. And, reduce the number of clicks to approve a workflow.

User Entry Forms

Another irritation to Users is the large forms that needs to be completed when creating an object in PLM. Multiple fields with lots of information are presented. The average user completes the mandatory fields only (those with *) and hits create. So why have the non-mandatory fields in the first place? It is the duty of the PLM Plumber to fight against unnecessary fields.

Organization and Security

This is an important part of any PLM Implementation and one where the PLM Plumber can have a large impact because most PLM systems must be configured from scratch when it comes to the security model. It should be noted that nothing is more annoying to a user than to get a message such as “the user is not authorized for this function”. Not only is it a blow to their ego, it also is one of the events guaranteed to result in non-adoption. Of course, there are good reasons to have security in place, one must prevent unauthorized actions in the system. This is where the PLM plumber comes in by designing a good security policy that balances corporate policies with User convenience. The actual design is transparent to the User, they want to get their job done.

Reports and Dashboards

All Users want certain information from the system that will allow them to effectively do their job. Each User may require a different set of information, presented in a certain manner. Here is where the PLM Plumber can become very useful by configuring the correct reports and dashboards for Users. In general, Users don’t want to be bothered with this task – they want to see the results.

The Art

Note that my original definition included the word “art”. This may seem an overreach when discussing a technology such as PLM, but it can be defended. For example, faced with trying to balance complexity and simplicity in a workflow the PLM Plumber applies his art and produces an elegant result. Consider also Reports and Dashboards – is not the correct design of a sleek dashboard an art?

Conclusion

Here is to Plumbing in PLM. Just as Plumbers create complex, background, invisible systems that deliver fluids, so does a PLM Plumber deliver information to Users in an efficient manner. Embrace your destiny!

Visit www.tatatechnologies.com to learn more about our PLM offerings and how we can help customers use the best technology for their needs.

During this unprecedented time our world is going through with COVID-19, many of the norms in our lives are changing, including the way we learn. Kids across the world are now using video communication services such as Zoom to communicate with teachers. Teachers are quickly adapting to online learning systems to manage homework. Employees are being directed to their online corporate learning modules. Classroom training is all on hold for the foreseeable future. We are all getting a crash-course in a world of remote learning.

Many engineers will be affected by the coronavirus in our new remote working environments. Unfortunately, many engineers may even be forced to look for work elsewhere as jobs are lost. To help engineers throughout the world at this time of need, i GET IT, a learning solution of Tata Technologies, will make available our library of training courses for free for individual users. We are also offering special training packages for companies that wish to take advantage of online learning. This includes online courses for Autodesk, CATIA, 3DEXPERIENCE, SOLIDWORKS, NX, Teamcenter, PTC and our collection of engineering topics. These are the same courses used by the leading manufacturing companies around the world and focus on new and advanced user topics. We hope people take this opportunity to up-skill, learn a new CAD application or transition into a new version.

Free Access for Individuals

i GET IT understands how difficult this time can be for many engineers so we are opening our free trial to 100% of all of our courses in i GET IT. Individuals wanting to take advantage of the free access can sign-up at i GET IT below. You will instantly get access to 1,000’s of courses, assessments and technical articles through May 2020. After the free access period, you can choose to continue on an affordable month-to-month plan.

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Providing Assistance to Companies

During the COVID-19 crisis, companies are sending their employees to new remote work environments and planned classroom training sessions have been cancelled. Tata Technologies is helping companies with special i GET IT training packages to keep employees’ training on task. Employees can access i GET IT from anywhere, anytime, at their own pace. Companies can take this unique time to have employees learn new skills and sharpen up on the latest changes to your CAD applications. For more information on how i GET IT can help and learn about our special training packages, please submit a request below and an account representative will be in contact.

If you are a customer of Tata Technologies, please inquire how we are helping our customers during this difficult period with i GET IT access.

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About i GET IT

i GET IT is an online engineering knowledge development and sharing tool, which specifically addresses the engineering community with an extensive MCAD/PLM training library, powerful customization tools, learning management features and assessment capabilities. As online provider of engineering training for the past 20-years, i GET IT helps companies use the leading mechanical design applications from Autodesk, Siemens PLM, PTC Creo, Dassault Systems CATIA, 3DEXPERIENCE and SOLIDWORKS, along with topics in GD&T, FEA, Plastics, PLM and other engineering skills.

Unlike other generic learning providers, i GET IT is created by dedicated resources from industry PLM leaders at Tata Technologies. This allows us to offer the most comprehensive training solution for the leading engineering design and manufacturing applications plus industry skills, providing a consistent and updated offering for each release. It also allows i GET IT to consult directly with customers, providing customized solutions that fit your exact training needs and beyond.

To learn more about our learning courses and features, visit https://myigetit.com.

As-Is

Traditionally, a PLM implementation was carried out using large internal servers and associated IT infrastructure – what is now termed “on-premise”. Such implementations would be configured and customized to suit the processes and requirements of the business. Although most PLM customers would pay lip service to “Out of the box (OOTB)”, most would immediately turn around and apply customization’s.

So, what are the problems associated with this model? Let’s list a few of them:

Upgrades

Because an on-premise installation is static it is normally frozen at the level at the time of installation. The software vendors are constantly improving their offerings and normally have an annual upgrade cycle. Large implementations with multiple customizations and external connections are very difficult to upgrade (not least of the problems is that the original software vendor does not support customizations). This leads to the situation that these environments often are several years behind the latest release and are hugely expensive to upgrade when this becomes an imperative.

Underlying hardware and software

A PLM installation is dependent on underlying operating systems, databases and browsers. If these are upgraded or changed often the PLM environment will not operate

Supplier compatibility

A typical automotive or aerospace supplier (and there are many) runs at least 5 different versions of the same CAD package. This is required to make sure that they have the required version for each OEM they supply to. Large OEMs have lengthy and update cycles and are not synchronized. Of course, anyone who has touched a CAD file with the wrong version, will understand the potential pain.

In addition, suppliers must maintain a unique connection for each OEM they work for and must manually extract and upload data from these connections. Definitely wasted effort.

Software Bugs

Ever submitted a ticket about a software bug to a PLM company? The first response from their technical support will be – Can the error be replicated in an OOTB environment, we do not support customized environments? So, if the error is in a customized environment, you will largely be on your own trying to solve the problem.

Technical Team

To maintain a large on-premise PLM implementation, an organization needs a dedicated technical team. These resources are difficult to recruit and expensive to maintain.

Technology Access

Technology is constantly improving, including PLM applications. So, what holds back companies from using the latest? In a large majority of cases the answer is – we cannot move until our major customers move.

To-Be

Consider that Salesforce was founded in 1999 and in just over twenty years has revolutionized CRM applications. A large part of their success – a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) offering on a multi tenet architecture.

The PLM landscape is showing a shift toward a cloud-based SaaS model, similar to Salesforce. Its adoption is still small but growing.

So how does a cloud-based SaaS PLM approach overcome all the problems associated with the on-premise model? Here is a list.

Automatic upgrades

As the software vendor is responsible for upgrading the environment, every user is automatically up to date with the latest version – no more expensive, lengthy upgrades. Everybody always has the latest technology.

Simplified IT

Because all the complicated software behind a cloud-based PLM is transparent to the customer and users, IT requirements for a cloud-based system are greatly simplified. Usually these are restricted to browsers and workstation operating systems. Also, no more large IT team to support the PLM implementation.

Supplier Collaboration

This is one of the largest benefits. No more running multiple versions: everybody is automatically on the same release and patch level. The other potential huge benefit from a cloud PLM is the concept of a single license have access to multiple tenets – in this scenario a user would log out of his tenet, log into an OEM tenet, retrieve data or collaborate and then use the same license to access his tenet. No more custom connections, ftp or email!

Objections?

Of course, there will always be objections to progress. Here are a few:

Cloud security is a large technical topic and beyond the scope of this article. However, lets revisit the example of Salesforce mentioned earlier. Is not a company’s contacts, sales leads, pipeline and revenue forecasts very valuable and sensitive? All stored on the Salesforce cloud. Probably of equal value is engineering data and associated documents, so why not have them on the cloud?

It is true that a cloud-based application such as PLM requires a larger and reliable Internet connection. But think of the on-premise servers that are been saved.

Cloud based SaaS model allows little or limited configuration/customization possibilities. This goes to the heart of another age-old PLM debate – change business processes to suit the system or change the system to suit the business. Organizations always pay lip service to the former (“We want OOTB”) but adopt the latter (“Can we implement our smart part numbering system”). A cloud PLM will keep everybody honest.

The Future of PLM

This short article probably does not completely cover the topic but makes some compelling arguments. The future of PLM is on the cloud! Let’s embrace our destiny!

Visit www.tatatechnologies.com to learn more about our PLM offerings and how we can help customers use the best technology for their needs.

Computer aided engineering has always been a role of a specialist. This statement is very much evident from the fact that more than 50 percent of analysts today have a graduate degree; either an MS or a PhD. This is because these physics-based simulations are a lot more than collection of icons, toolbars and pull-down menus. Unless the user is well familiar with the core engineering aspect of the problem being solved as well as with the underlying governing equations that solve the problem, he is very likely to make an error in modeling that would lead to erroneous results. In such situations “a stress solver becomes a stress creator.”

If one dissects the subject of computer aided engineering, he would see several branches of it. The main ones are: finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, multi-physical simulation as well as multi body dynamics. Each of these branches have several sub-branches of it. For example, finite element analysis can be divided into structural analysis, thermal analysis, coupled analysis. The structural analysis can be further sub-divided into linear static structural, non linear static structural, linear dynamic, non linear dynamic etc. As one moves keeps digging inside, simulation becomes more niche and more specialized. This justifies the need of a specialist with many years of experience with advanced technical and academic credentials.

While we, at TATA Technologies do not provide work experience or academic credentials, we do transfer expertise in computer aided engineering and many other fields of engineering through dedicated technical trainings as well as on the job trainings. We offer software products specific trainings such as Dassault Systemes portfolio, Siemens PLM portfolio, Autodesk portfolio as well as several industry vertical trainings such as modeling of welds and connectors in automotive chassis, design for light weight etc. We do provide small sessions on best practices as well such as effective element selection in Abaqus, overcome convergence problems in non linear simulation etc.

We train people with various levels of experience and knowledge. The student may be a fresh designer out of college who has recently joined his first organization or may be a subject matter expert with years of design or simulation experience and trying to learn something new. As mentioned, we teach both software as well as methodologies and workflows.

If you have a high end engineering software in your organization that seems to be underutilized because of lack of human resource, please get in touch with us.

Visit www.tatatechnologies.com to learn more about our PLM offerings and how we can help customers use the best technology for their needs.

In today’s digital world it is more competitive every day. To get ahead of the curve, companies are looking for a means to expand their engineering capabilities such as electromechanical, human engineering, industrial design and styling, tooling and fixture design, or factory design. Many companies have a dedicated pool of NX licenses and are simply looking to add a couple of add-on modules for a few specific jobs but hesitate to buy them due to cost. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pool of add-on licenses from which to pick and choose for those one-off jobs?  Now you can — through Siemens’ NX Product Engineering Token Licenses, also known as Value-Based Licensing.

Whether you manage or own a small, medium, or large company…token licensing can add flexibility and value to your product design capabilities and save you money. You can have access to a broader NX product portfolio without making a large investment.

What is NX Token-Based Licensing?

Token licensing provides a flexible and cost-effective method for you to run almost any NX Product Engineering add-on module including multiple translators. The token pool does not include products with royalty or programming authoring tools (NX Open Authoring). However, with more than 50 products in the pool from which to choose, you will have the flexibility to perform the engineering and design work necessary for your needs without having to make a separate purchase. Look at the wheel graph below to see a sample of the many available modules.

Token licensing is like “per-seat” floating licenses as both require you to check out a needed license, then check it in when you are done using it — making it available for access by a different user. The two options differ in that access to products in the per-seat floating license scenario is comprised solely of the products the company has purchased whereby token licensing allows access to every product in the token license pool. You have a greater set of products that can be easily accessed when you need them. No more infrequently used software sitting on a shelf.

How does NX Token-Based Licensing Work?

For starters, tokens are added to a base application such as: Mach 1 floating and above, or an NX Automotive Bundle, or a Daimler Supplier Bundle. Each NX application in the token pool consumes a defined number of tokens when in use. The total number of applications and which specific applications can be checked out (on top of the Base Application) is limited by the number of tokens the user has available.

Here is an example of how tokens work. Let’s consider a configuration of five Mach 1 floating seats (NX11001) and a 100 token value pack.

At 9 AM the token pool is full and ready for use.

At 9:30 a User 1 starts using NX Human Modeling… the Human Modeling app uses 26 tokens leaving a remainder of 76 tokens available for use.

Now at 9:45 AM, User 2 starts using NX Realize Shape. This app uses 35 tokens leaving a balance of 39 tokens available for use.

At 10:15 AM, User 1 finishes with Human Modeling and the tokens are returned to the pool leaving a balance of 65 tokens available, and ready for use.

Finally, at 10:30 AM, User 4 starts Routing Base, and… well you get the picture…!!!

We can help you size the pool and get the best configuration to suit your needs. You will need to consider the number of users accessing the pool and the “daily use” NX products versus “occasional use” NX products. Tokens are best used for “occasional use” products, so if you have a product that you rely on daily, it may be better as a floating add-on. Token pools are most cost-effective when there is a wide variety of NX applications needed.  In general, if four or more add-ons are needed then token-based licensing is an attractive option. You can mix tokens and floating add-on licenses to give you the most flexibility at a good price.  For example, if you have someone who uses a particular floating add-on license every day and another person who uses it on occasion, it might be best to purchase one floating add-on for the every day user and a value pack of tokens for the occasional user.

NX token based licensing offers numerous advantages:

    Access to multiple products
    • More than 50 apps currently in the pool and growing
    • As new modules are added to the pool, you will be able to use them without additional effort from your internal purchasing team.
Extreme flexibility
  • Run the add-on module you need, when you need it
  • Run occasionally needed products without having to make a separate purchase
Useful for a variety of users
  • Electromechanical, Industrial Designers and Styling, Mechanical Designers, Tooling and Fixture Designers, Translators, etc.
Cost effective
  • Access to individual add-on licenses for all the products in the NX Product Engineering token pool would be cost prohibitive.

If your business can benefit from a broader NX portfolio without having to make a large investment — Token-Based Licensing is for you.

For more information contact Tata Technologies at
info.americas@tatatechnologies.com

Visit our website at www.tatatechnologies.com

Tata Technologies is a Siemens Platinum Smart Expert Partner indicating our validated expertise in NX-CAD.

It has been the experience of many CAD experts, to sit and operate a CAD system like NX, while a person with little or no CAD experience sits beside them and tries to navigate the system vicariously through the expert in order to view and interrogate assemblies, parts, and drawings. I liken this approach to someone sitting in the back seat of your car while they tell you how to navigate the streets to get them to where they need to go when they could just as easily operate the car themselves.

Ok, I get it, CAD software can be difficult to learn and operate, and so the mindset is that it’s easier to tag an expert to do the driving… but does it make sense to tie up two resources for the purpose of viewing CAD data? Wouldn’t it be more proficient, and cost effective, to utilize a user friendly viewer to review and interrogate your NX CAD data… one that can be accessed and used by all… even by those with little or no CAD experience? The obvious answer is yes, so for this reason, many companies have employed the use of a lightweight viewer that relies on tessellated data. Obviously, this is not the most proficient or cost-effective solution for viewing NX data since these viewers require data translation which means they use a separate file format, and the viewer is a separate application, both of which need to be managed and maintained by your companies IT department… all of which add time and money to your product development projects.

NX Viewer is a subset of NX with a simplified layout containing a reduced set of menu items and icons, making NX Viewer easy to learn and operate, and since it is so easy to learn, it can help free up resources that would normally be deployed as CAD “drivers.” Everyone in your company can benefit from using NX Viewer, but the ones that can benefit the most are your casual users… your Engineering Managers, Shop Floor personal, Estimators, Engineers, and anyone who needs read access to native NX data but do not need write access to the data. You’ve heard the old adage, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Teaching the casual user to “fish” for what they need to view, and “drive” on their own to where they need to go has never been easier.

NX Viewer is a cost effective, user friendly tool that enables users to open, view (rotate, pan, zoom, fit) and interrogate (accurately measure and cut sections) NX CAD models and drawings in the native NX format, and because it is a view only tool (no write access) this ensures data integrity since the data cannot be overwritten.

Why use NX Viewer… why not just use NX? NX Viewer is far less expensive than a seat of NX and it’s a perfect way to read, browse, and interrogate NX assemblies, parts, and drawings by everyone, but especially by people with little or no CAD experience. Making design information accessible to all departments within your company, and not just engineering, can have a positive effect on productivity by improving communication and understanding between groups.

  • Features include:
  • Browse the assembly and model history trees
  • Rotate, pan, zoom, and fit the geometry
  • Hide and Unhide objects
  • Dynamic sectioning
  • Accurate measurement of model B-Rep geometry
    • NX Viewer is NX, so you are measuring real math data and not tessellated data.
  • Edit object display
    • Color
    • Translucency
    • Shaded or Wireframe
  • View drawing sheets
  • Key benefits:
    • Cost-effective and inexpensive alternative to purchasing a third party viewer or a full seat of NX.
    • Intuitive and easy to learn even by casual/inexperienced CAD users
    • Share information across your enterprise – collaboration is the key to productivity
    • Accurate measurements because NX Viewer is NX, so you are measuring B-Rep data and not tessellated data as with other viewers.

Today’s world of design, engineering, and manufacturing is all about collaboration, and NX Viewer is an effective tool for connecting all of these areas of your product development activities, getting your ideas to market faster than ever before!

For more information contact Tata Technologies at info.americas@tatatechnologies.com or visit our website at www.tatatechnologies.com

Tata Technologies is a Siemens Platinum Smart Expert Partner indicating our validated expertise in NX-CAD.

Many of the PLM solutions available bill themselves as a platform. It is interesting to look at whether the platform strategy is an advantageous approach for a PLM system. The rest of this blog post will examine the question.

In the strict definition, a PLM system need not be a platform; it comprises a collection of processes and technologies that support Product Development through its entire lifecycle. Therefore, PLM and platform do not necessarily go together, it could consist of point solutions.

What is a platform?

In the technology and software world, a platform is defined as a single underlying application that forms a backbone for the overall application. This platform can then be used to install user apps which provide different capabilities. The main characteristics of a platform are as follows:

  • Multiple capabilities are included in a single technology suite. In the case of PLM, examples may include CAD data management, project management, BOM etc.
  • Ideally, the various apps in the platform would communicate seamlessly with each other
  • A platform has an underlying database which is keeping track of all the various objects
  • Users are presented with a single interface, regardless of their function and activities

PLM as a platform

Let’s look at PLM as a platform

In this scenario, all the required PLM functionality is incorporated into one system (usually from a single vendor) and users access the system vis a unified interface. The important feature of this approach is that interconnections between apps are the responsibility of the PLM vendor.

PLM as point solutions

Let’s look at PLM as point solutions

In this scenario, all the required PLM functionality is made up of multiple point solutions (usually from different vendors) and users access the various systems individually. The owner of the overall PLM process is responsible for interconnections between the various applications.

Which is the better approach?

Both approaches are used by organizations, some deploying hybrid solutions. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each landscape:

PLM as a platform

PLM as point solutions

So, which is better? The true answer is probably situation specific and depends on an organization’s maturity, size, business model and other factors. Keep an open mind!

Visit www.tatatechnologies.com to learn more about our PLM offerings and how we can help customers use the best technology for their needs.

Its end of the year 2019 and just like any other prior year DS is ready with new release, both for standalone products as well as 3DX roles. Accordingly, we are ready with our blog series “what’s new in 2020”. So lets start with Abaqus CAE first. The later blog articles will include solver functionality enhancements as well.

  • Partitioning enhancement: The partition method using sweet and extrude has been improved to include multiple disconnected edges at the same time. That means multiple partitions can be done in a single partition operation. Less clicks, less time.
  • Global renumbering: It is now possible to define renumbering in assembly context. And that is true for both dependent and independent part instances. For large assemblies, the user now does not need to switch multiple times between part and assembly modules to perform renumbering. In case of dependent part instances, any renumbering performed on an instance is automatically propagated to associated part at part level mesh.
  • Enhancement in query tool: The queries for points/nodes/distances can now be made with respect to a local coordinate system as well that can be a cartesian, cylindrical or spherical CS. Earlier only global cartesian CS was available for queries.
  • Shrink fit possible in explicit: This is a BIG enhancement for our explicit users. Perhaps those users who have struggled with the convergence of shrink fit in standard would appreciate this feature. Earlier initial overclosures in explicit could only be adjusted strain-free thereby making explicit step ineffective for shrink fit. Now explicit step has option of treating initial overclosures as interference fit. This is applicable for both contact part as well as general contact inexplicit. Big relief.
  • Hyperfoam test data evaluation: Computation of material coefficients using uniaxial and multiaxial test data has been a very useful feature of Abaqus CAE. However this functionality was limited to hyperelasticity and viscoelasticity. Now hyperfoam material evaluation can also be done using curve fitting techniques.

Enhancements in copying models: The copy model feature has been enhanced to include constraints as well. However, if constraints refer to named sets and surfaces, those sets and surfaces should exist in the target model.

BC/Load manager with color coded cells: Lastly, the looks and feel of BC, Load and interaction manager has been enriched by making it color coded as shown below. It matters if this manager has to be used in a simulation report.

Tata Technologies is a global engineering company that helps organizations engineer better products. Visit www.tatatechnologies.com or contact info.americas@tatatechnologies.com.

FEMAP! That can be defined as a dedicated standalone, windows based pre and post processor for different types of finite element analysis simulations. It has a long history since its inception in 1985. The product was earlier with Unigraphics Systems which was acquired by Siemens PLM Solutions few years back. Every branded FEA software product gets upgraded every year with new valuable features that look good as well as feel good. FEMAP is no exception. Here we are looking at new functionalities in FEMAP release 12.0.

PAD and WASHER enhancement: Pads and Washers are used to effectively partition the geometry to get high quality isoparametric meshes around stress raisers such as holes. Till now this functionality was available only for circular geometries. Now the feature includes arbitrary geometries that may include tangential discontinuity

COPY/ROTATE/REFLECT: This functionality allows users to copy/rotate/reflect geometries along with associated meshes, loads and boundary conditions. The command can be executed successively to create different types of patterns with respect to translation and rotation.

Mesh Point Editor: Hard points are points defined by fixed coordinates on a curve or a surface that constrain the mesher by creating nodes at these specified locations. Hard points are desired at assembly level meshing to ease connection between different parts through node to node connectivity instead of using contacts. Hard points are further useful in connecting solid or surface mesh with a beam mesh which is a common application in civil structures such as concrete reinforcements. FEMAP 12 has a hard point editor through which hard points data can be imported into Femap via an external file or a clipboard. View/options can be used to control the display of hard points.

COHESIVE elements: These elements are used in modeling phenomenon such as delamination and material damage. Common real-life examples are peeling of a tape or evolution of a crack. NASTRAN solution sequences 401 and 402 have cohesive elements capability so it’s worth to include cohesive meshing capability in FEMAP.

Mesh->editing->cohesive meshing command has been added that work similar to mesh->editing->edge split command with a difference that cohesive command adds layers of cohesive element at the split with user defined element thickness and adjusts the size of original elements to achieve mesh compatibility.

BEAM Centerline Finder: This feature was earlier available as an API but now it has been included in the GUI of FEMAP 12.0. For arbitrary shapes, sometimes it is not possible to define all the section properties of beams. This feature extracts the beam properties using cross section of underlying solid geometry. User has two options. First option is to interactively pick curves and cross section of underlying solid. Second option is to pick only solid and FEMAP uses longest edge of the solid as curves for associated beams.


For more information contact Tata Technologies at
info.americas@tatatechnologies.com or visit our website at www.tatatechnologies.com

Tata Technologies is a Siemens Platinum Smart Expert Partner

What are Formboards, and what do they do?

To describe what a formboard is, and what it does, we need to start with what a wiring harness is, and what it does. The dictionary describes a wiring harness as a system of insulated conducting wires bound together with insulating materials, used in the electrical system of a machine, such as a motor vehicle or washing machine. Wiring harnesses can be found in just about every product that requires electrification. Trains, planes, farm equipment, machinery, RV’s, ships and boats, automobiles, motorcycles, computers, and home appliances… if it has electronics, chances are it has one or more wiring harnesses.

Wiring harnesses are usually produced manually on a flat surface, using a full scale drawing as a guide or a roadmap of sorts. These tables are typically referred to as formboards or harness boards. A formboard drawing is a flat representation of the 3D wiring harness. The main requirement on the formboard is that a manufactured wiring harness can physically fit in the product as intended. Not meeting this requirement can result in a wiring harness that doesn’t fit right, or cannot be installed in the product without using force to make it fit… thereby putting undue strain on the wires and connectors.

Image result for wiring harness formboard"
In the image above, note the full size wire harness drawing superimposed on a platform.
Photo credit: assemblymag.com

Creating formboard drawings in CAD can be a repetitive and time consuming task. Flattening out the wiring harness to make a 2D representation of the 3D harness can take hours or days depending on the complexity of the harness. This task can be made much simpler and less time consuming through the use of a Siemens product called, “NX Routing Harness.”

Go from 3D…
…to flattened…
…to a drawing, in the time it would take you to say, “Show me the money!”
Can your current software solution do that?

Here is a description from the Siemens playbook… “NX Routing Harness provides all the tools needed to route an electrical wiring harness consisting of bundles of wires in a product assembly. Capabilities also include the ability to specify typical mechanical parts and supporting equipment such as connectors and other devices. The software can also import the wiring characteristics for connections between electrical devices. This “connection list” may be created from a 2-D logical design application such as NX Schematics or other external ECAD systems. NX Routing Harness can automatically traverse paths which have been routed between the devices and assign the wire descriptions to the path segments as specified in the connection list. The wire descriptions are used to compute bundle diameters and to create solid bundle models. Actual wire lengths and diameters may be automatically added to the connection list for feedback to upstream ECAD applications or downstream to manufacturing applications. NX Routing Harness also identifies minimum bend radius violations and produces design and manufacturing documentation such as formboard drawings.”

NX Routing Harness does more than flatten a harness… it generates a full assembly, with all electrical connectivity information intact. The result is identical to the 3D assembly, but is laid out on a single plane while maintaining the relative position of each connector to the bundle as the harness is flattened. NX Routing Harness generates a 2D formboard drawing, while taking the unique approach of creating a Digital Twin of Manufacturing.

Some of the key benefits for using NX Routing Harness:

  1. User friendly application that gives quick results for 3D routing and 2D formboard creation.
  2. Reduce cost by making use of your digital twin to eliminate physical prototypes and rework… your harnesses will fit the first time.
  3. Reduce cost by re-using logical design which eliminates redundant data creation and improves quality by enforcing design standards
  4. Predicts accurate wire lengths and accurate bundle diameters for interference checking and space allocation for early analysis.

Are you responsible for designing wiring harnesses and creating formboard drawings? Can you and your company benefit from a powerful design tool that simplifies wire routing, harnessing and formboard drawing creation? Are you interested in streamlining your wire routing process to save time and money? Then you and your company could benefit from an NX Routing Harness demo today!

For more information contact Tata Technologies at
info.americas@tatatechnologies.com or visit our website at www.tatatechnologies.com

Tata Technologies is a Siemens Platinum Smart Expert Partner indicating our validated expertise in NX-CAD.

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