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ANSYS Aims for “Pervasive Simulation” with Discovery Live

Despite the benefits of analysis-led design practices and the democratization of simulation, CAE has primarily remained a tool for experts in many companies, often used at the end of the design process for validation of a handful of choice ideas.

ANSYS, along with other CAE vendors, have been aggressively trying to break that mold by touting new technologies aimed at simplifying simulation. However, most of those efforts have fallen short of opening up a new chapter for analysis as part of mainstream design practices. ANSYS is trying to change that dynamic with its latest announcement of Discovery Live, a new tool the company claims will enable what they are calling “pervasive engineering simulation.”

Engineering insights are displayed in seconds, including Instantaneous display of stress distribution on complex STL lattice structures. Image Courtesy of ANSYS

Built on new solvers architected specifically to exploit graphics processing units (GPU) technology, Discovery Live aims to make digital exploration through simulation available to all engineers, encouraging the use of upfront analysis to enable more productive, faster, and cost effective product development cycles. Based on ANSYS research, one out of every 22 engineers tapped simulation software during design workflows in 2005; today that ratio is one out of six engineers, and with this latest release, ANSYS is aiming to make the practice accessible to every engineer by 2020, according to Mark Hindsbo, vice president and general manager at ANSYS. Moreover, because 80% of product costs are tied to the early design phase, Hindsbro contends introducing analysis-led digital exploration capabilities at that point in the workflow should greatly reduce mistakes and eliminate unnecessary expenditures.

Once boundary conditions are established or geometry edits made, Discovery Live displays useful results all in real-time. Image Courtesy of ANSYS

“The more experimentation that can be done easier and quicker, the more stuff you can discover and the more innovative you can be in product design,” he says.

Discovery Live’s technology breakthrough lies with exploiting the massively parallel nature of NVIDA GPUs to conduct simulation in real time, allowing engineers to pose what-if questions, explore design scenarios, and get immediate feedback through instantly updated simulations, he explains. Users simply open a CAD file, hit a button to select one of the physics solutions (fluids, structural, and thermal), and interactively define boundary conditions and the software instantly calculates and displays results without the need for complex meshing, explains Justin Hendrickson, ANSYS director product management. Discovery Live also leverages ANSYS SpaceClaim technology for ease of use and CAD geometry capabilities.

Simulations in Discovery Live are set up in minutes using simple, point-and-click operations. Image Courtesy of ANSYS

“There is no need to spend hours or days cleaning up CAD geometry, setting up laborious meshes or complex physics set ups and then waiting to solve,” Hendrickson explains. With Discovery Live, you see results in real time, and as subsequent design changes are made, the impact is automatically reflected in the simulation results, he explains. “As fast you modify the geometry, the simulation updates—there is no restart,” he says.

Discovery Live is not a replacement for the traditional ANSYS simulation suite, which retains its solid footing among simulation experts. Rather, this latest tool is a complement to traditional ANSYS software, while targeting a different user base. “This is for rapid exploration, for quick what-ifs, as a front-end discovery tool,” Hindsbro says. “This is for people who never think of using simulation.”

The software is now currently available as a technology preview and will be offered in commercial form first quarter of next year.

Check out this video to hear more about ANSYS Discovery Live’s interactive results.


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About Beth Stackpole

Beth Stackpole is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.