Category "Dassault Systemes"

Laws are very useful when it comes to wanting to control something that has a known variance in it.  For example, if I were a designer and needed a linear surface that begins at one angle at one end of the guide curve and ends with a different angle. Without the ability to do this, you would have to create two surfaces and do some sort of transition surface in between them. In this video below, I will run a linear surface using a simple law on the angle value to take it from 15 degrees and one end to 45 degrees at the other end.

In this case I used a linear style law, and as you see, when I looked at the surface from a plan view (from above) the angle direction was linear from the 15 deg to the 45 deg.  Below, I will show what would have happened if I had done it as an “S Type” law by modifying the law.

In the image below you can see them if they are overlayed over each other. The surface highlighted is the S Type law and as you can see it definitely has an “S” shape for the transition in between the 2 knows angles.

Both Law Types

Both Law Types

You’re probably thinking, “What if I wanted a specific angle somewhere in the middle of the transition?” This gets a little trickier. In that case you would use an Advanced Law.

In order to used the advanced type law, you have to first develop it.  The easiest way I have found to do this is with a sketch.  In the example below, I am showing what the sketch would look like for the original linear law. […]

How many times has the first design iteration submitted to FEA modeling passed the design criteria?

The answer is close to zero, but even if it does happen by stroke of fortune, the design is not the optimal design – which means that although design requirements are met and validated by FEA, there is always scope of improvement either in terms of cost or in terms of performance. In general, it is not unusual to reach the optimal design in 15 to 20 iterations.

An analyst know the pain of creating a detailed finite element simulation model. Most of the steps involved, such as geometry cleaning and meshing, are very time-consuming, and they are primarily driven by geometry. Let’s look at the workflow in more detail:

An analyst in automotive industry often performs finite element modeling work in Hypermesh, stress analysis in Abaqus, optimization in Optistruct, and durability in Fe-Safe or N-code. An analyst in the aerospace industry often performs CAD composites work in CATIA, finite element modeling in Abaqus CAE, stress analysis in Abaqus or Nastran, and durability in Fe-Safe. An analyst working in other industries has his own suite of FEA tools to work with. The entire process requires data flow from one simulation code to the other. This means output from one code serves as an input to the other. Quite often this work is also done manually by the analyst.

This means that in situations where optimal design is obtained in 20 iterations as mentioned above, an analyst has to perform geometry cleaning 20 times, create FE meshes manually 20 times, and also transfer the simulation data from one piece of code to the other 20 times. By the time these design iterations are over, the analyst’s face and computer looks somewhat like this:

Let analysts remain as analysts and let simulation robot do the rest!

The traditional job of finite element analyst is to build robust high fidelity simulation models that gives correct results under real life load applications. The analyst is not an FE robot who can perform repetitive tasks with ease. In situations like one mentioned above, it makes perfect sense to let FE analyst create a robust FE model only once per FE code involved. Subsequently introduce a simulation robot that can capture hidden steps and workflow, create a script and execute that script multiple times. This simulation robot is called ISight. […]

MANIPULATE DIALOGI often hear customers designing mechanical components say something like “I have assembly design constraints and don’t think I need Kinematics.” The truth is, you may not need them – if you design items that do not move. Kinematics is the study of motion, and even with the standard CATIA V5 Assembly Design constraints, you are limited to a single movement based on a given set of constraints by holding down the right mouse button when using the compass to move an item (holding down the right mouse button respects constraints already applied) or you have the option to check the button in the Manipulate dialog With respect to constraints. 

Below is an example of what can be done with simple assembly constraints and the manipulator and where its limitations are.


What if you needed more than one movement to happen at the same time? That is where Kinematics will help. With CATIA V5 Kinematics, you have many, many options for setting up motion.  Each grouping of given movements would be called a mechanism, and within the mechanism you would have joints. CATIA V5 offers every kind of joint I can think of and I have yet to run across anything else I would need.


The joints are groupings of your constraints that can then be controlled by commands; they are very simple to set up. The freedom to have anything move at any given time!  In fact, if you already have constraints defined in your assembly, it has a slick converter option to re-use the work you already have done and add your constraints to joints! Below is just a simple mechanism with multiple joints defined being played to show how the toy excavator product works.


Although this is a simple mechanism, the Kinematics package has the ability to do so much more….like analyze the travel of a particular joint and check if the limits have been reached.  If you combine the Kinematics package with the CATIA V5 Space Analysis license you will have the ability to check for clash and clearance between moving parts – which is exactly what most customers need to do! Add in a CATIA V5 DMU Navigator license and you can animate your sections – how cool is that?!

Bottom line: if you need motion and need to know how your motion affects other parts in your assembly, contact us and we will get you moving in the right direction!



In today’s engineering environment, there are a plethora of design tools available. One question I often hear is “Why CATIA?” It’s a question that seems simple enough, but the answer is much more complex. CATIA generally involved a greater initial investment, but in terms of overall design cost, you may be surprised to learn that a CATIA license can be a real bargain.

Ask: “What are we trying to accomplish?”

What type of design work are you doing? Do you require the ability to create complex surfaces? Are you going to create a small number of models and small assemblies or will there be a large number of models and large assemblies? Are you sharing the models with customers or vendors? Do you start every design from scratch or reuse as much data as possible?

The list of questions above is certainly not complete, but you can see by the number of questions already posited, the answer is multifaceted.

Complex Surfacing

Let’s look at the creation of complex surfaces. Many CAD systems can create surfaces of some level, but what if your company needs to create complex shapes? Look at how many CAD systems can create complex surfaces, and the list gets shorter – much shorter. Next, how many systems can modify complex surfaces? One example of this is the actual morphing of a complex surface. One might use this ability to compensate for springback in a metal stamping or counteract warpage in a plastic part. Now the list is much shorter. CATIA can easily handle these operations.


Large Assemblies

Next let’s look at large assemblies – something on the order of 500-1,000+ models. While virtually all systems can create assemblies, what happens when these assemblies get very large? Can the system handle them? How are you going to manage these assemblies? Is the system still able to operate or has its performance degraded to the point that it is virtually unusable? CATIA can handle very large assemblies, entire automobiles, aircraft, ships, etc. With CATIA V6 the management of these models is OOTB. Again the list is short at this point.

Data Reuse

Lastly, let’s look at data reuse. […]

When I think of the countless customers I have consulted with over the years, it amazes me how many don’t use parameters to control the design and capture design intent! What is a parameter, you ask?  A parameter can be thought of in two ways when it comes to CATIA V5. Parameters are built the moment you start a new part – as you can see in the image below, we already have parameters for the Part Number, Nomenclature, Revision, Product Description, and Definition created automatically. Parameters are being created each time you build any feature.  These types of parameters are known as system parameters.


You can and should build your own parameters to define your design intent. It’s every bit as important during the initial stages of a design to define your intent this way as it is to make sure sketches are constrained properly. In fact, it helps you in your sketch constraints (every constraint is a feature that has parameters associated to it). In this simple example of a piece of standard rectangular tubing shown below, there are constraints defining the height, width, wall thickness, and radii. Even though this is very easy to create, if I am a designer I would want to design it in such a way that I never have to waste any time designing a piece of rectangular tubing again. If I am a design leader, I feel the same and don’t want any of my designers doing this again in any design that involves any piece of rectangular tubing. The use of parameters will get us there!



The parameters I am talking about are user defined parameters. Simple to create but very, very powerful in their functionality.  The simplest way to create a user defined parameter in CATIA V5 is through the fx icon found on the Knowledge toolbar.


You might be thinking, where have I seen that icon before? Oh yeah, in Excel when I need to create a formula for my cell. That is the point we are making here! In Excel, I use this function to compute things for me and make it easy to come up with a desired result.  In CATIA, we will create some parameters and then, when necessary, assign formulas to them to come up with our desired result.  When you click on the icon, you get the Formulas dialog and when you click on the drop down list next to the New Parameter of Type button, you can see you have many, many options.



There is a phrase among finite element analyst user community. Those who have been in the industry since a while must have heard of it at some point in their career.


It means that if the data being fed into the input deck is not correct or appropriate, the solver is very likely to give incorrect results, and that’s if it does not fail with errors. Many of us believe that getting some sort of result is better than getting fatal errors, which is not correct. Fatal errors give clear diagnostic messages to the user that allow him to correct the input deck. However, getting erroneous results sometimes makes a user feel that the simulation has been successful even though the results may be far from reality. Such situations are hard to predict and correct, as the underlying cause is not clearly visible.

One such situation arises when the user inadvertently chooses an element type that is not capable of capturing the actual physical behavior of the part or assembly with which the element is associated. The incompatibility may lie with respect to element material, element topology, element dimension, or the type of output associated with the element. The objective of this post is to highlight the capabilities and limitations of some lesser known element types available in the Abaqus element library to promote their proper usage.

Planar elements

These elements are further classified as either plane stress (CPS) or plane strain elements (CPE). The plane stress elements are used to model thin structures such as composite plate. These elements must be defined and can deform only in X-Y plane. For these types of elements:

szz = t xz = t yz = 0


The plane strain elements are used to model thick structures such as rubber gaskets. These types of elements must be defined and can deform only in X-Y plane. For these types of elements:

ezz = gxz = gyz = 0


Generalized plane strain elements


Our SIMULIA user community has been using the conventional analysis and portfolio tokens for a while now. These tokens are primarily used to access the Abaqus CAE pre-processor, Abaqus solver, and the Abaqus viewer. The analysis configuration offers Abaqus solver licenses in the form of tokens, and Abaqus CAE as well as Abaqus viewer as interactive seats. The portfolio configuration offers all three components of Abaqus, i.e. the solver itself, Abaqus CAE as well as Abaqus viewer as tokens.

                                                                                                                                                      IS SIMULIA = only ABAQUS!

The new equation has been EXTENDED

                                                                                                                                   SIMULIA = ABAQUS + ISIGHT + TOSCA + FESAFE

The overall simulation offerings from Dassault Systèmes go way beyond Abaqus finite element simulations. The functionalities now include process automation, parametric optimizations, topology optimization, fatigue estimation, and many more. And starting from Abaqus release 6.13-2, all these additional capabilities are included in a single licensing scheme called extended tokens. Here is an overview of these additional SIMULIA products.extended-products


ISight is an open desktop solution for creating flexible simulation process flows, consisting of a variety of applications, to automate the exploration of design alternatives, identify optimal performance parameters, and integrate added-value systems. The simulation process flows created from ISight can include multiple third party simulation components such as Ansys, LS-DYNA, Nastran, Mathcad as well as general purpose components such as Matlab, excel, calculator, and many more. It offers advanced parametric optimization, Design of experiments and Six Sigma techniques. Moreover, the vast amount of Simulation output data generated by such techniques can be managed effectively using the post processing runtime gateways of ISight. It’s rightly called a Simulation Robot.




Tosca is a general purpose optimization solution for designing high performance light weighted structures. As fuel economy continues to be the most important design factor in the transportation and aviation industries, designing lightweighted components and assemblies will remain a top priority, and Tosca can really help to achieve those objectives. […]

When I first started in the Design and Engineering field, CAD was used primarily by large OEMs and some large suppliers. Most companies’ design work was done on drafting boards with vellum and pencils, or Mylar and ink.


As the technology evolved, CAD became more affordable, and increasingly necessary if one wanted to do business with certain OEMs. But while the design work was being done in CAD, the official documents were still paper – actual paper, created in CAD, printed, signed off by hand and distributed through the purchasing departments.


Eventually the paper gave way to PDF files for distribution, at least from the OEM; most companies still used paper (some still do!) internally to manufacture and inspect their products. They still create, release, and distribute 2D drawings and balloon the drawings for inspection purposes.


Technology has reached the point where a 2D drawing is really no longer necessary for the manufacture of a part or assembly, yet many companies still create them, even if the OEM does not provide one. Typically, the 3D model is used for fabrication, unless it is being done by hand. The creation, release, storage, and distribution of 2D drawings is huge. I am sure if companies actually looked at what it is costing them they would be shocked.

Some OEMs and other companies have an electronic way to handle the storage and distribution portion which is huge but the creation unless automated is still quite costly. Then there is the interpretation of the 2D drawings which can lead to quality problems, which we know is very costly.
There is a better way. […]

We hold a number of online events every month. Some showcase a software solution or feature, others celebrate a customer success, and others offer helpful tips and tricks for users. Here is what we have coming up this month. Click on the title of the event, or the “Register” link, for more details and to join us.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 16 – 1:00 p.m. ET
Wine Bottle Stability Simulation
The wine brewing process is complex, and so is the process of manufacturing wine bottles. A bottle must be of specified volume while also being lightweight, stable during motion, and aesthetically attractive. Learn more about a real-life simulation process used to virtually design wine bottles that not only look and feel good but also remain stable on a fast-moving conveyor belt in a packaging plant.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24 – 1:00 p.m. ET
What’s New in Inventor 2017 R2
Autodesk will be releasing a significant update to Inventor, its flagship 3D design and engineering software. Join us and see these new features and a live demonstration of some of the more notable additions to Inventor 2017, followed by Q&A.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 25 – 1:00 p.m. ET
What’s New in NX 11
Siemens PLM will be releasing the latest version of NX at the end of August. Get a sneak peak of the new functionality, bells, and whistles that will be coming along with version 11.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 30 – 1:00 p.m. ET
Product Design Collection: What Happened to my Suites?
Your Factory Design and Product Design Suites have been retired. What does this mean for you? Join us to learn about the new Product Design Collection and the benefits the new collection offers.


Questions? Leave a comment and we’ll get right back to you.

As an FEA analyst, you are likely losing too much of your time in CAD repair.

If you are an experienced FEA analyst, you must have come across following types of situations often while meshing your models:

“I create 3D geometries in CAD uniting together several surfaces so that the CAD modeler itself sees one unique surface; however, whenever I export it as a .sat, .stp or even binary file for Parasolid and then import it into the FEA pre-processor, I again see all those surfaces that are not supposed to be there.”

“For some parts I am extruding surfaces to solids, and for some parts I am building solids out of intersecting surfaces. All in all, it is a kind of a box structure with a hole on one side. I started importing it to GUI part by part, and as soon as I have top and bottom plate and two sides, the meshing fails. How did you exactly resolve this meshing problem?”

The FEA user community knows that most of the user interfaces available for finite element analysis are good for FE modeling only – they are not expert CAD modelers. It often happens that the CAD model created is not free from defects from a meshing perspective. The most common problems are duplicate edges, gaps, silver surfaces, unnecessary patches, etc. The problem is often more severe if a CAD model is first translated to a neutral format such as .sat, .iges, .step files before being imported into the FEA pre-processor; the defects are generated during the translation. In many other cases, the repairs made in the CAD model are not propagated into FEA modeler. The only option left is to repair the geometry in the FEA model itself, but the repair tools required often don’t exist in these user interfaces.

One-click model transfer from CAD to FEA without any neutral file format

For Abaqus users, there is great news: the Abaqus CAE pre-processor now has associative interfaces for CATIA, ProE and SOLIDWORKS.

The CATIA V5 Associative Interface allows you to transfer CATIA V5 Parts and Products into Abaqus/CAE using associative import. Materials and publications assigned to the CATIA V5 model are also transferred to the Abaqus/CAE model as material and set definitions respectively. In addition to associative import, the CATIA V5 Associative Interface allows you to directly import the geometry of CATIA V5 models in .CATPart and .CATProduct format into Abaqus/CAE without any intermediate neutral files. The following options are available with CATIA V5 associative interface: […]

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