June 8th, 2010 3:51 pm
Posted by Bobbie Steinmetz
Tags: finite element analysis, product design, simulation, technology breakthroughs, work group high performance clusters, workgroup clusters, Xeon 5600 series
Design engineers can use increasing workstation power to build better products.
Most design engineers haven't had an opportunity to fully exercise their skills and creativity in designing new products. Because of the need to do finite element analysis and simulation on large clusters or supercomputers, designing on the desktop was largely hit or miss. It wasn't possible to create a design, run the analysis, and incorporate the results back in order to fine-tune the design. You needed an expert and access to an expensive and often complicated high-end cluster or supercomputer to analyze a design and employ the results to improve the design. Unless the analysis indicated an inadequate design, the engineer took the results of a single analysis and made final adjustments to a design. While it met the defined design criteria it may not have been the optimal design.
That approach is changing, thanks to the affordable power of engineering workstations and work group high performance clusters. With these tools, engineers can complete virtually all of the initial design work on the desktop, rather than taking a design as far as it can go on the desktop, then sending it to a supercomputer or cluster to perform a structural or dynamic analysis. Now, analysis and simulation can be done by all design engineers as a part of the design process. Any design engineer can be an expert in analysis and simulation, performed on the desktop workstation.
Today, it's possible to create a design, perform multiple analyses and even a simulation of the design, make adjustments based on the results, and run the analysis again to ensure its correctness. It's also possible to test different designs altogether to determine the most appropriate one.
Technologies That Are Changing the Game
What is driving this new approach to design engineering? Two technology breakthroughs; first, users now have access to inexpensive workstations and workgroup clusters based on the new 64-bit Intel® Xeon® processor 5600 series. These workstations and work group clusters deliver the compute capacity of high performance computers that were in a glass room just a few years ago. Second, the transformation from discrete software tools into organized and democratized software suites from companies like ANSYS, SolidWorks and others are easier to use by more than just the expert simulation engineer.
The result is... read the full article at DE Desktop Engineering, authored by Peter Varhol | Published May 6, 2010.
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