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ANSYS hopes CAD+CAE = better CAE

So you’re a CAD company without an analysis capability or a CAE vendor without strong ties to any one 3D modeling engine. How do you compete with the integrated suites offered by vendors such as Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, PTC and Siemens?

You partner. Last week, ANSYS announced that it was licensing the SpaceClaim Direct Modeler to enable users to model designs or import models from any major CAD system, revise as needed and get to simulation as soon as a design can be conceptualized. SpaceClaim Direct Modeler also is generally seen as easier to use than many traditional history-based modelers which should enable analysts and design engineers who are not CAD experts to more readily manipulate 3D geometry.

Most design teams use one of two approaches to analysis: Analysts either wait until a full CAD model is available, which is too late in the process to be as effective as possible — or they use relatively simplistic modeling tools available within CAE platforms to rough out a design, which may sacrifice details. SpaceClaim’s direct modeling approach will also eliminate much of the rework usually required to repair CAD models imported for CAE, by making them more suitable and optimized for CAE. Typical CAD models wind up with flaws that are acceptable in the CAD world but would significantly hinder analysis if uncorrected (such as edges that aren’t perfectly aligned), so the rework saving alone could be significant for many ANSYS customers.

Of course, SpaceClaim benefits: ANSYS will distribute the combined product, vastly enlarging SpaceClaim’s sales reach. Too, if analysts are successful with SpaceClaim Direct Modeler, they can influence decisions in the design department — definitely a positive for SpaceClaim.

The end-result: added pressure on MSC Software and Altair Engineering to strengthen their modeling solutions and form stronger partnerships with CAD vendors. There aren’t too many alternatives out there, so the race is on.

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