Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Altair Rep Talks Up Computer-Aided Engineering 

Modeling and simulation solutions make inroads into all levels of the design process.

The computer-aided-engineering (CAE) revolution has arrived, according to Altair's chief marketing officer and director of worldwide operations, Jeff Brennan. While simulation software was once considered the purview of university research and select big-name, deep-pocket manufacturers, changes in the market dynamics have led to increasing mid-market adoption. Nor is software-based product development relegated to NASA spaceships and F1 racecars; all manner of industry can benefit from this trend. Modeling and simulation can be used to create stronger product packaging, increase the integrity of airframes or build better golf clubs.

Specifically, Brennan explains how CAE is making inroads into the front-end of the design process, with engineers using computer simulation techniques to spec out designs and optimize product characteristics. The software helps streamline materials selection to reduce weight while maximizing strength and other desired performance traits. Sustainability, energy-efficiency, and ergonomics are other possible benefits cited by Brennan.

Increased competition in the marketplace is what leads many manufacturing companies to seek out tools that promise to provide differentiation and excitement for their product. The ability to speed design times while reducing the need for costly physical testing may lead companies to expand the role of software in their entire design process.

Brennan envisions a future where "CAE increasingly will become the starting point for ideation and problem-solving, and the same suite of software will carry the engineer through the generation and selection of design alternatives, optimization, validation and communication throughout the enterprise."