Being a CAE analyst for almost 20 years has been an interesting journey. Looking back to see the huge development in computer power and the development of the simulation software, in terms of supported physics, features and ease of use, is very pleasing. The turnaround time for a typical simulation has been reduced from months to days. However, there is one part of the process that has not changed, and not gotten the same speed up; namely reporting.
Communicating simulation results with project managers and stakeholders, as well as documenting the work in the company’s product development process, is very important in order to have traceability of decisions that are made and to be able to review the work. My experience, however, is that you in the rush of the project only deliver some preliminary result pictures and presentations to the project manager. The important, but boring and time consuming reporting, is left for later. This is obviously not an optimal way of working, since you may have forgotten important conclusions about the analysis when you find the time to write the report.
The problem with report writing is that it requires manual work making screen dumps, cropping and re-sizing the images, as well as reading out properties from the model, and typing in the report. Often you might start from an old report and replace just what has changed. Is this a quality assured way of working?
When a person is reviewing these kinds of reports there is absolutely no guaranty that the content of the report actually matches the FE-model. In order to review the analysis I have seen examples where they look at the APDL input file for the simulation to check the material properties and load cases etc. instead of reading the report. For a third party reviewer this is impossible to read unless they are also an expert of APDL syntax. Don’t get me started about custom macros or linked input files making this reviewing mission impossible!
Then there are examples of automatic report generators that can extract model information to a report that either contain too much or too little information. Usually you have to spend a lot of time editing and to transfer to your company specific template so if you make a model update the work is lost and has to be re-done.
To avoid spending time writing engineering reports you may either a) become a manager b) find a new solution. I took the latter and have developed a new app called “Report Generator” found on the ANSYS app store.
The core values this app will bring to your business can be summarized in these six points.
- Speed up 10X. Automatic picture export, report layout and formatting done in seconds. Free up time for the engineer to do more analyses and deliver reports instantly in order to take correct decisions faster.
- Quality Assurance. Report content matches the actual FE-model, makes for a valid third party reviewing. No copy/paste errors or wrong images.
- Traceability. Easy to document the development of a product and make new report revisions when there are new prerequisites. The documentation is automatically saved in the ANSYS project.
- Process integration. Use company specific report templates with standardized content. Easy to read and find content independent of who is writing the report.
- Simplicity. Easy to use ANSYS Mechanical GUI for creating text, figures and charts
- Flexibility. Custom report content from a simple result page to a full engineering report with appendix.
To read more about this app click on the link below where you will also find a sample report made with the app.
ANSYS ACT Application Store/Report Generator