Bring Smart “Assembly Line” Process to Simulations

An assembly line is a manufacturing process in which parts are added in a sequential manner to create a finished product much faster than with handcrafting-type methods. Can we apply the same principles to simulations?

Many a times, a new product is made by using components from some previous designs along with some new parts. So, when performing engineering simulations on the new design, is there an efficient way to leverage the unchanged components from the previous design?

In today’s distributed workforce, various components of a product may be designed at different locations; some even by external contractors. When analyzing the full product, is there a way to directly use the analysis models from the different groups?

Usage scenarios assembling models

As product designs are becoming more and more complex, preparing the model for an FEA simulation can be very time consuming. ANSYS Mechanical automates many processes, like meshing and contact detection, and hence saves a lot of manual effort. The effort to build a complex model with lots of parts and contacts can grow large, however. For example, a battery pack with more than 2000 bodies and 8000 contacts may require many months of work for an advanced user. With so much manual work, the possibility of human error is high. Furthermore, when the design of some components is changed, the engineer has to redo some work over again.

A smart solution to solving large assemblies would be to break down the whole system to manageable subsystems/components. An engineer (or a team) can work in parallel on small manageable components and later combine them to create the assembly. And, when the design of a specific component is changed, it should be a small change to replace that component in the assembly model. This will reduce the design cycle as well as the human errors significantly.

example assembling component models

ANSYS Workbench is parametric and persistent. Parametric changes to the geometry of a component model can be efficiently addressed via our geometry interfaces, which provide bi-directional connectivity with all major CAD systems. Our own geometry tool, ANSYS DesignModeler is also fully parametric. Additionally, the Parameter Manager in ANSYS Workbench allows complete control over a range of geometry, meshing, setup and results parameters. Because ANSYS Workbench is persistent, any time a model parameter is changed, the whole model is automatically updated. This allows rapid turnaround of any design changes and updates.

Once the component models are defined, these can be assembled using the for-fee ACT extension called AssemblyManager. The AssemblyManager exposes additional export and import features in the ANSYS Mechanical interface. The export feature allows exporting of selected model data and the import feature allows importing the model data to create an assembly. Multiple component models can be imported and positioned at different locations and/or patterned. When the design of a component is changed, it is possible to remove the old component and update the assembly with the new component model very easily.

assembly manager

Let’s see how the big battery pack model is assembled from smaller components.

With the development schedules for engineering products shortening, the need to efficiently utilize the existing resources and simulation models is a very high priority for all companies.

The AssemblyManager extension provides a smart solution that makes it easy to create and manage big assemblies comprised of component models. This approach, to combine analysis models efficiently, deals with repeating or unchanged components. Hence, it allows engineers to be more productive and makes their work more enjoyable. It also helps to cut down the simulation preparation time for the current and future designs.

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