Category "Tips & Tricks"

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.

Many years ago, or so it seems, one of the methods for checking clearance and interference’s was performed through the use of drawings. By cutting sections through the parts in an assembly drawing, the detail of that assembly could be shown in a section view, and then distances could be measured between parts to determine whether clearance objectives where being met. This task involved tools such as a compass, a drafting pencil, and a scale along with the ability to draft accurately. Another method was to build a full size scale mockup, or buck, of the part or assembly to visually check for interference’s and you could also use a wide variety of tools to take measurements.

While there may be nostalgia for these methods, modern CAD tools and technology can accomplish the same tasks in far less time. By assembling parts and cutting sections through the CAD data, we can then electronically measure for clearance between parts and assemblies. This process is much faster than with drawings, and can greatly improve productivity. However, what if you had to find clearance issues within a very large data set like an engine, or transmission, or an instrument panel? This amount of data loaded into a CAD session can be difficult to work with due to the model size and complexity of the parts within these assemblies. Also, the tasks of cutting sections and taking measurements required for the clearance analysis is a skill only possessed by the proficient few.

Because of this and other problems, solutions were created that transform CAD data into lightweight tessellated data files. By translating the data into a JT (Jupiter Tessellation), or similar file, the viewer can read very large assemblies quickly and perform a multitude of tasks on that data.

One such viewer is Siemens Teamcenter Visualization Mockup, better known as VisMock. This tool is more than just a viewer, it’s a real-time digital mockup tool that you can use to detect and solve design issues early in your product lifecycle, getting you from art to part faster and cheaper than ever before! And, VisMock is a very intuitive and easy software to learn and use. With VisMock, the learning curve is minimal in comparison to learning a CAD system, so this lends itself well to those non-expert users who are looking for quick answers to design issues. For example, a non-CAD user can go into VisMock and perform a Clearance Analysis, and in a matter of minutes have the answer to a nagging question on whether there is a clash or clearance in their assembly, or to adjacent parts and assemblies.

VisMock is used in Automotive, Aeronautic and Aerospace, Ship Building, and Consumer Product industries as a design verification tool that can reduce or eliminate the use of rapid or traditional prototypes. This can further reduce the cost of bringing a product to market.

Teamcenter Visualization is available in four different levels: Base, Standard, Professional, and Mockup. Each level builds upon the one before it. Siemens offers Teamcenter Visualization this way so that it is scalable, so as your company grows, so can your visualization software.

Some of the key benefits for using Teamcenter Visualization Mockup:

  1. User friendly application that gives quick results for aiding in critical decisions across all disciplines within your company as well as your entire enterprise.
  2. Reduce cost by reducing the need for traditional and rapid prototypes.
  3. Making use of your digital twin moves critical decisions earlier in the product lifecycle where making changes to CAD data is easier and cheaper than correcting mistakes to a physical product.
  4. Four different levels to fit your current needs and for scalability.

So, can your business benefit from faster decision making by a wider range of participants? Teamcenter Visualization can facilitate this requirement and bring substantial benefits.

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.

There have been quite a few market whispers about MSC Software and its products since the company’s acquisition by Symphony Technologies few years back. It’s flagship pre-processing tool called MSC Patran has been under spotlight since the introduction of new equivalent tool by MSC Software (now Symphony) called MSC Apex.  MSC Software adopted a similar strategy during 2008-09 by introducing a bunch of multi-disciplinary pre-processing tools such as MD Patran and later SimExpert. All these products had a very long gestation period with little luck in making a long term market presence.

Many veteran FEA analysts, particularly in aerospace domain are well familiar with the pains of using MSC Patran in geometry cleaning, meshing and composite modeling environments. The objective of this blog is to take a deep dive into these issues and demonstrate how an alternative product called Femap from Siemens can alleviate many of these unaddressed issues.

Femap has been a part of FEA community since more than 30 years and it was developed with the mission of having a dedicated PC based pre and post processor for engineering FEA. It is solver neutral as well as CAD independent solution that offers high performance modeling and analysis capabilities to solve toughest engineering problems.

  • Mid surface extraction

Almost all FEA pre-processors have this embedded tool but as the geometry becomes more and more complex, many of them fail to extract mid surfaces correctly. The automatic feature of Femap makes this job not only easy with minimum number of clicks but offers higher fidelity as well. User does not need to select opposite faces multiple times in case thickness changes in space. Just enter the maximum thickness value a part has and Femap does the rest for you. Its further possible to combine the mid surfaces so they appear as a single entity in the history tree.

 

  • Tools in the meshing toolbox

Before creating a mesh, the meshing toolbox offers multiple value added features to clean and modify the underlying geometry for a better mesh.

  • Project curve:

This features splits the extracted surface at the boundary of thickness transition so that the underlying elements are able to update the shell thickness property as the thickness changes on either side of the split.

  • Feature removal options

There are many features in CAD that may not be needed in FEA analysis and holes are the prominent ones. It is possible to close holes and similar geometries with just a click, if needed. By default, a point entity is created at the geometric center of the closed holes to make sure a kinematic constraint can be applied at those points, if needed.

  • Pad and washers

These features allow for mesh refinement in the vicinity of holes and depending on the geometry of holes, either a washer (circular) or a pad (square) option may be chosen. The feature creates iso-parametric meshes around the holes based on the distance of influence defined by the user. This is an “on the fly” feature that updates an existing mesh every time this feature is executed instead of creating a new mesh.

  • Dynamic node repositioning

This is a very handy feature to improve mesh quality on the fly. With the mesh quality contour option active, user can dynamically move any node of the mesh either on surface or on a curve until its quality improves which is instantly perceived by the user as element color changes from red to green. The effect of this tool is very local and only a few elements in the vicinity of selected node are considered at a time.

  • API’s for automating repetitive tasks

Most of Nastran based BDF’s include multiple RBE’s. Femap understands the pain of creating these RBE’s manually and applying boundary conditions to them. The custom tools provide an option to create RBE’s by selecting peripheral curves or nodes. The independent nodes are created automatically. Using API’s it is further possible to completely automate the RBE generation process.

The grouping options in custom tools provide an option to automatically define a group for independent nodes of all the RBE2’s in the model. This group can later be used to create constraints on RBE’s without picking each independent node individually.

 

In this series of ‘what’s new in 2019” release we will highlight new features in standalone fe-safe as well as in durability apps of 3D Experience platform. General enhancements as well as specific enhancements in fe-safe/rubber are included.

Durability roles in 3D EXPERIENCE Platform

  • Fatigue specialist role in 3D EXPERIENCE Platform is now available in 2019 GA though it was introduced in 2017x FD05. Perhaps one of the most interesting feature of any role on the platform is its “look and feel” apart from robust functionality behind the scene. Here is how latest fatigue specialist role looks like. The durability app is integrated into structural and mechanical scenario apps. Moreover, unlike standalone Fe-Safe, it is possible to visualize 3D model while creating scenario for durability in 3DX. Structural analysis case job and durability case job can be launched simultaneously from user interface.
  • Fatigue Loading: Number of complex loading scenarios are supported on the platform since 2018x release. These include superposition, sequence of stress or stress-strain frames, mean stress correction etc.
  • Dynamic case supported: There was enough requirement to support durability simulation for dynamic events.  Durability cases of FEA can now be used to define loading on the platform.
  • Surface finish: The Kt factor can be defined directly as a surface finish.
  • Cloud: The role is now available both on premise as well as on cloud.
  • Material properties/algorithms: Now include cast iron, SN curve definition, eN curve definition as well as constant amplitude endurance limit. The algorithms now include finite life, infinite life as well as stress based and strain-based algorithms.

      Enhancements in standalone Fe-Safe

  • Weld fatigue enhancement: No need to have perfectly structured meshes in region below the weld line nodes through the thickness for the calculation of nodal forces and structural stress. However, element faces should be present on the crack surface.
  • Integration of Tosca, Abaqus and Fe-Safe verity for the optimization of chassis sheet thickness with multiple seam welds.
  • Groups and sets created within Fe-Safe are now written out in the Fe-Safe ODB file.
  • A new algorithm called Prismatic Hull infinite life method was introduced in 2018xFD01 that is now available in 2019xGA.
  • Interpolation engine in Fe-safe Rubber: Abaqus Rubber models are computationally extensive and take long time to solve. In many situations full duty cycle takes long time to solve in abaqus. Now user can break up duty cycle in standard series of load combination levels. When imported in Fe-Safe rubber, solver can make interpolations to approximate full duty cycle stresses from standard series of stresses.

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

Off of the shelf and out of the box, NX Weld Assistant offers a wide range of welding and material fastening capabilities. To enhance your experience using NX Weld Assistant, Siemens makes it easy to configure the software to fit your unique material joining application needs.

Let’s take a look at an example of how configuring the customer default settings will make a difference in how you can view welds and other methods of material joining.


We’ll start with Resistance Spot Welding. Notice the spot weld on the part in the image to the right.

The current default is set to create a green sphere that is 6mm in diameter. Since the symbol for a weld spot can differ with each company, Siemens allows you to configure their software settings to create a custom weld symbol.

Let’s adjust the Customer Defaults to create an 8mm diameter cylinder, and we’ll make it orange!

Here’s how we do it:

  • Select File + Utilities + Customer Defaults
  • In the Customer Defaults window pick Weld Assistant + Point Locator and then select the Resistance Spot tab
  • From Solid Display; choose Cylinder
  • Set the radius to 4.0 and change the color for two panels to orange
  • Don’t forget to restart your NX session for the changes to take effect

Now create a spot weld and see the change.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-22.png

Yes, you can have a different color for 2T versus 3T versus 4T welds…!

Key benefits to modeling welds in Cad include:

  • Provides a key piece of information necessary for a complete Digital Twin.
  • Mass properties inclusion (Weight and Volume).
  • Easy to visualize.
  • Easy to validate for correct location using Weld Advisor.
  • Easy to convey information via a Drawing or PMI
  • Available for inclusion into CAE analysis
  • Available for process planning
  • Available for robot programming
  • Significant time savings compared to manual application of welds
  • Having the ability to create and validate the welds in CAD ensures quality data is being sent to manufacturing thereby reducing the amount of rework.

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

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Does your design review process involve others who don’t have NX or Teamcenter yet? Are you dealing with small businesses that don’t have access to NX CAD, or they use a third party CAD software? How do you collaborate with them today? How do you include others in your Model Based Definition and remain in the digital realm?

Siemens has the solution and it’s called XpresReview!

XpresReview is a Siemens freeware for viewing 3D models, 2D drawings, PMI, and other associated documents by combining all of these objects into a single package file. Using XpresReview allows all participants in your review process (workflow) the ability to view all the information they need to collaborate effectively without having NX or Teamcenter installed on their computer.

By selecting Menu + File + Send to Package File, XpresReview creates a lightweight, high-fidelity representation of the parts model and drawings which allows colleagues, suppliers, and others to view, markup, measure, section, and collaborate on the data, and Siemens customers, vendors and suppliers can download the XpresReview viewer free of charge.

This viewer gives selective access to users who do not use Teamcenter or NX so they can exchange data with Teamcenter and NX users.

XpresReview includes easy to use tools for: 

  • Viewing – Navigate 2D drawings and 3D models
  • Measurements – Check dimensions for 2D drawings and 3D models
  • Mark up – Use highlighters to draw attention to specific areas and add text comments
  • Section Views – Create interactive clipping planes to view sections through 3D models and interrogate for clash or clearance.


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

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The Challenge

Often when listening to a CIMdata presentation, their consultant will offer a tongue in cheek remark: “the most widely used PLM tool is Excel”. So, is it true? It is worth examining the issue in more detail.

Before proceeding, a better definition of the title is in order. The more accurate formulation – “Does an Excel spreadsheet contain the master definition of the eBOM during product design in your organization?”

There are two crucial points in this question

  1. Master definition implies that the BOM of record for final design is maintained in a spreadsheet
  2. eBOM is distinct from the mBOM maintained in an ERP system. Organizations generally do not use Excel for this purpose.

The Reality

BOM

So how prevalent is the master Excel BOM? If you are reading this article, you can answer silently for yourself. Aside from that, let us look at two data points:

Tata Technologies has conducted a PLM benchmark assessment at approximately 150 different organizations over the last 4 years. Based on our results, approximately 75% of these organizations use Excel in one form or another to control the eBOM.

Try a Google search on “Bill of Materials” and access the results for “Images”. Count how many of the images show Excel. By my informal count, at least 60% of the images from that search are Excel sheets of one form or another.

So, the prevalence of using Excel for eBOM would seem to be very high. Is that good or bad? Let’s examine that question in following sections.

The Good

Excel is perhaps one of the great inventions of the IT revolution. It is conceptually a simple tool but can be used in sophisticated applications. For generating and specifying a simple eBOM, it has the following merits.

  1. It is flexible and can be formatted in various was to portray an eBOM structure. The inherent layout of rows and columns is convenient for defining a structure
  2. One can add many columns to define and specify the various attributes of Parts in the eBOM
  3. Because Excel can easily perform calculations, the spreadsheet can automatically give aggregate results like total cost, total or sub assembly weights, total selling price, margins etc.
  4. It is a readily available tool across all businesses because of the persuasive nature of MS Office and everybody knows how to use it. Probably most businesses see it as an economical and inexpensive tool; dependent on budgets this may or may not be true
  5. Although it takes a little bit of dedicated formatting, the eBOM can show indented levels and collapsed sub-assemblies
Excel BOM
Excel BOM

The Bad

Of course, Excel may have some strengths, it has some significant weaknesses when it comes to eBOM management:

  1. It is difficult to do a BOM compare in Excel. Such functionality is required when two versions of the BOM need to be compared to see the differences
  2. Change Management in any Product Development environment is always a big challenge. While it may be possible to do revision control on an Excel spreadsheet (e.g. in SharePoint), it is impossible to do change control on individual parts in the eBOM
  3. Excel has no safeguards against anyone inadvertently deleting line items or details out of the eBOM.
  4. Calculations and formulas in Excel must be constantly checked to see they cover the correct ranges as changes will compromise these. Many companies have fallen to the problem of Excel formula mistakes
  5. By their nature, Excel spreadsheets are difficult to control and can proliferate easily, resulting in multiple copies. Which one is then the master?
  6. Excel eBOMs are always entered manually into ERP systems; requiring considerable effort and allowing the possibility of errors

The Ugly

Even if the “Bad” above is manageable, there are some situations where it is impossible to even consider using Excel for eBOM. Here are some of those situations:

  1. Large complex eBOM with part counts in the 200 and above range. No human can reasonably manage this in an Excel worksheet.
  2. Situations were the product has multiple configurations or variants. Because the number of resolved eBOM’s grow exponentially with the number of variants, it becomes impossible very quickly to manage
  3. When multiple downstream users must access the eBOM. This compounds the proliferation problem
  4. When the eBOM changes rapidly – keeping everybody up to date becomes impossible
  5. An eBOM is the very core of Product Development. Why use a half-baked tool?
  6. Excel cannot connect to any digital representation of the Part (3D model, Drawing, Specs etc.). This is a major shortcoming!

The Change

So, are you comfortable driving an automobile knowing that 66% of the eBOM sub-assemblies are managed in Excel?

There is technology that overcomes all the Bad and the Ugly. It exists today and is proven. The change to these systems may be difficult and potentially expensive but given the critical nature of an eBOM to a Product Development organization, it must be embraced!

Watch for the next article.

Tata Technologies is an engineering services company dedicated to engineering a better world. Visit our website at www.tatatechnologies.com

There is so much more to this command than welding. Not only is there a full range of weld types, but you can also model beads of adhesives, glue, and mastic as well as fasteners like rivets for example. Basically there are three categories in Weld Assistant for joining parts, they are: discrete welds, line welds, and adhesives. Normally a rivet is a type of fastener, but they are included as a custom weld in Weld Assistant.

In this post, let’s take a look at how to model rivets. We will create a custom spot weld to mimic a rivet. We will start by configuring a custom weld spot under File + Utilities + Customer Defaults.

  • From the Customer Defaults window, select Weld Assistant + Point Locator and then select one of the Custom tabs.
  • Set the Solid Display to Cylinder and give the custom Point Locator a name… Rivet for example.
  • Set the other attributes accordingly, and then select OK to finish the configuration.

Now create a Rivet the same way you would create a Resistance Weld Spot.

  • From the Weld Assistance command select Weld Point Wizard.
  • From the Weld Point Wizard block:
    • Select your Method
    • Set the Type to the new custom Point Locator you just created (i.e. Rivet)
    • Select Next.
  • Select the Face Sets and then select Next
  • Select the points you want to create Rivets at and then select Next.
  • Select Finish to place the Rivets.

If the Rivets don’t show up at first, then select the Solid Weld Point Display option.

Key benefits to modeling welds in Cad include:

  • Provides a key piece of information necessary for a complete Digital Twin.
  • Mass properties inclusion (Weight and Volume).
  • Easy to visualize.
  • Easy to validate for correct location using Weld Advisor.
  • Easy to convey information via a Drawing or PMI
  • Available for inclusion into CAE analysis
  • Available for process planning
  • Available for robot programming
  • Significant time savings compared to manual application of welds
  • Having the ability to create and validate the Rivets in CAD ensures quality data is being sent to manufacturing thereby reducing the amount of rework.

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Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI) consists of non-geometric data, that is attached directly to a 3D CAD model to define geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), engineering and manufacturing specifications, dimensions, and text.  PMI is part of Model Based Definition (MBD) and together these two elements are a part of a Digital Twin.

Applying PMI to a 3D model can reduce or eliminate the use of 2D drawings and can be used downstream to perform tolerance analytics and coordinate-measuring machine (CMM) inspection.

PMI is a command within NX that gives you the ability to create/attach dimensions and annotations to define the 3D model, and requires model views similar to the views on a drawing.  These dimensions and annotations are associative to the 3D geometry, and if it is decided that a 2D drawing is required, then the PMI can be inherited from the 3D model and automatically applied to the drawing views.

We think of MBD and PMI as new technologies and 2D drawings as “old school,” but there are valid uses for a 2D drawing.  Given the ability in NX to quickly create 2D drawings with associative dimensions inherited from the 3D PMI… this gives you the best of both worlds.

The image below demonstrates what PMI looks like in a 3D model view, and the next image down demonstrates the inherited PMI in a 2D drawing view:

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NX Realize Shape is a powerful and intuitive subdivision design tool that makes use of primitive shapes to create concept design models.  In the image below you can see a sphere has been chosen, but there are a number of other shapes to select from such as cylinder or block to name a few.

These primitive shapes can be placed over top of background data like sketches or even art work similar to what you see in the image above.  When a primitive shape is created, a cage is automatically created that surrounds the shape.  The shape can be morphed into designs by transforming that cage.  By selecting on, and dragging the cage elements (lines or points), you can mold the shape to fit the background image.

 

As seen in the image above, you can split a face into smaller faces (subdivide) in order to create more cage elements. This gives you greater control of the cage anytime more detail is required in a given area of your design.

By selecting cage elements (lines or points) and dragging them up or down, left or right, the concept designer is able to morph a simple shape into a complex form in a relatively shorter period of time versus having to work with .

Why do we promote the use of Realize shape?

Simple, this model represents the birth of the digital twin.  This digital twin is then used for detailed design, documentation, validation, simulation, and all the way to traditional or additive manufacturing… all within a single unified environment like NX… means you are going to use trusted data from concept to manufacturing… without requiring conversion or translation, and this is going to shorten your innovation lifecycle, getting you from concept to market faster!

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