Two new, seamlessly integrated features in the latest release of Siemens’ STAR-CCM+ software for multiphysics computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation and analysis enable automated product design exploration and optimization. One is Design Manager, a capability in STAR-CCM+ version 12.04 that lets users easily explore multiple design options within their CFD simulations. The other is STAR-Innovate, built on the proven technology of HEEDS, the multidisciplinary design exploration (MDX) software that Siemens came to own through its 2016 acquisition of CD-adapco, which had previously acquired HEEDS and its developer, Red Cedar Technology. STAR-CCM+, now developed and managed by Siemens PLM Software, is part of the company’s Simcenter portfolio, a robust suite of simulation and test solutions. See our Predictive engineering analytics: Simcenter unifies, advances Siemens PLM’s simulation/test portfolio.
“I firmly believe that single-scenario engineering simulations are about to become a thing of the past,” says Siemens PLM Software senior vice president of product management Jean-Claude Ercolanelli. “If you know how to use STAR-CCM+, then you will instinctively know how to use Design Manager. This means that every engineer who installs STAR-CCM+ v12.04 can now conduct design exploration studies with ease to discover better designs, faster.”
“STAR-CCM+ is the only multiphysics CFD offering that seamlessly enables engineers to perform design exploration studies backed by an industrial-strength optimization tool like HEEDS,” Ercolanelli adds. “As a result, engineers can spend less time setting up and monitoring simulations, and more time assessing the outcomes to determine what makes good designs great. This is a game-changer.”
HEEDS: The Pro/E of design space exploration
Our firsthand research among users in global automotive, aerospace, gas turbine and other manufacturing industries confirms HEEDS is a breakthrough technology that at last makes multidisciplinary design exploration easily and readily usable by engineering discipline leads, without their having to become experts in the arcana of design space exploration (DSE) tools and methods—design of experiments, response surface models, scatter plots, Pareto frontiers, stochastic optimization, on and on. Or, as is more often the case, hire an engineering service provider with specialized expertise in DSE in order to gain access to the technology’s benefits.
Indeed, we believe it is not too much to deem HEEDS the “Pro/ENGINEER of design space exploration”—bringing to DSE the same generational leap forward that PTC’s then-revolutionary technology for parametric, feature-based 3D modeling represented over the cumbersome, not very usable or practical solids modelers available to that time. HEEDS is the first in a new wave of software tools that promise finally to bring design space exploration out of its two-decade history as a niche technology applied only in extreme situations, and at last make it a practical everyday engineering tool. Other new-generation DSE tools of this ilk include DATADVANCE pSeven, ESI MINESET, ESTECO modeFRONTIER 2016, Noesis Solutions id8, Phoenix Integration’s newest iteration of ModelCenter, and more.
Design Manager: Automating systematic exploration of designs directly within STAR-CCM+
“Companies are looking for innovative answers to today’s challenging engineering problems to differentiate themselves in the market,” Siemens notes. “Using simulation to explore what is feasible drives this innovation.” To this end, Design Manager lets users set up and automatically evaluate families of designs directly within STAR-CCM+, with capabilities for process management and product performance assessment. Included in every instance of STAR-CCM+ v12.04, Design Manager automates the systematic exploration of designs by evaluating variations in geometry and operating conditions. “It leverages the all-in-one platform, automated meshing, pipelined workflow and accurate physics in STAR-CCM+ to overcome the complexities that have historically prevented many from using CFD simulation in this way,” the company says.
STAR-Innovate add-on: Single- and multi-objective optimization studies intelligently search the design space
The optional STAR-Innovate add-on lets users “take it one step further and perform single- and multi-objective optimization studies to intelligently search the design space using the same time-tested and proven technology found in HEEDS,” Siemens says. The software also provides stochastic analysis to help engineers determine the sensitivity of their simulation predictions to small changes in input parameters, such as manufacturing tolerances on a critical dimension or fluctuations in boundary-condition values.
“Design exploration cannot be a luxury anymore; it needs to be part of the standard engineering process”
As STAR-CCM+ product manager Bahaa Haddoukessouni writes in an illuminating blog post: “For years, simulation has been used with tremendous success to reduce engineering time and costs through validation and troubleshooting. Digital design exploration, however, is often seen as a luxury that cannot be afforded due to the investment needed in purchasing, learning and deploying optimization tools. With today’s business pressures you need to explore the design space early in the engineering process to discover innovative products faster and meet your customer’s expectations. Design exploration cannot be a luxury anymore; it needs to be part of the standard engineering process—and that means removing the barrier to entry that has so long existed.”
“That is why I’m pleased to announce the release of Design Manager,” she continues. “With a single click in STAR-CCM+ you can now create a design exploration project. Without needing any additional licenses, you can get started with any parameter sweep study and access the power of automation. With a single click in STAR-CCM+ you can now create a design exploration project. Without needing any additional licenses, you can get started with any parameter sweep study and access the power of automation. And you know the nice thing? It is part of STAR-CCM+! Meaning you are already familiar with the workflow and you get access to all the important technologies in STAR-CCM+ enabling design exploration.
“What if you want to expand to intelligent optimization? Design Manager gives you access to our best-in-class optimization technology embedded in STAR-CCM+ with the STAR-Innovate add-on license. Traditional methods require you to be an optimization expert to choose and tune algorithms to search an unknown design space. Our hybrid and adaptive approach uses a blend of algorithms to automatically overcome this obstacle.
“But running exploration studies means handling large amounts of data, right? Design Manager makes it so easy to quickly browse through designs that you won’t feel limited at all. You can investigate differences and compare different variants of one exploration project or even different projects at once in the same interface. Interactive 3D scene files, synchronized views and interactive tables and plots bring you a new level of interactivity to more deeply analyze your results.”