By Bruce Jenkins, President, Ora Research
The MSC Apex product family is MSC Software’s visionary initiative to make sophisticated linear structural analysis capabilities easily, intuitively and safely usable by design engineers without requiring specialized expertise in CAE. Its sixth and latest release, MSC Apex Fossa, shipped at the end of September.
The product family begins with MSC Apex Modeler, a CAE-specific direct modeling and meshing solution designed to streamline the CAD cleanup, simplification and meshing workflow for preparing product models for structural analysis. The software’s Direct Modeling capabilities let users create and edit geometry interactively by selecting entities of interest such as a face, edge or vertex of a model, then simply pushing, pulling or dragging to modify it.
Complementing Direct Modeling is the software’s built-in meshing technology. Through the combination of Direct Modeling and Meshing, for models that have already been meshed and need further geometry modification, users can employ any of the Direct Modeling or Geometry Clean-up/Repair tools, and the mesh will be immediately regenerated.
An add-on product that expands MSC Apex Modeler functionality with capabilities for linear structural analysis is MSC Apex Structures, a fully integrated and generative structural analysis solution for engineers and analysts. MSC Apex Structures packages a user interface for scenario definition and results processing with integrated solver methods. MSC characterizes the solution as unique in combining computational parts and assemblies technology with a generative framework, thus enabling interactive and incremental analysis.
The new Apex Fossa adds capabilities for solving vibration-related engineering problems. MSC notes that vibration issues must be addressed in any situation where a part or assembly is subject to a cyclic load, such as occurs in cars, airplanes, consumer durable goods and many other products.
Conventionally, investigating and resolving vibration problems has been a tedious trial-and-error process. Apex Fossa improves the process by enabling engineers to carry out design exploration directly and interactively in the analysis results space, eliminating the need to go back to a CAD environment to redesign the part or assembly. Democratizing vibrational analysis in this manner, making it accessible to many more engineers than before, promises to slash the time needed to achieve an optimal solution to a vibrational design problem from days to hours.
Engineers can now see how a part or structure responds to input parameters in real time. Users can explore a wide range of what-if scenarios by adding or removing mass, damping or stiffness. They can also determine whether they are observing a global or local behavior without leaving the Apex environment. This helps engineers rapidly determine which part of the structure is not behaving as desired, and quickly identify an effective solution.
Modeling—Even more productivity can now be achieved in geometry clean-up, mesh generation and clean-up, according to MSC. This includes new connections, loads and boundary conditions (such as moments, enforced motion, and dynamic loads and constraints), local coordinate system, distributed coupling, moments and dynamic forces, new meshing enhancements, geometry tools (such as slicing, mirroring and Boolean operators), and additional geometry export formats, specifically STL and SAT.
Simulation—The software’s computational parts-based generative framework has been extended from linear statics to now include the first phase of dynamics, Frequency Response. This includes Structural, Modal, and Material Damping, Multi-Step Analysis, Point Sensor, X-Y Plotting and Frequency Response results exploration.
Extensibility—Initial Python scripting capability is introduced in Apex Fossa. The Python API has been carefully designed for compliance with Python standards. The API is based on true Python idioms and uses built-in, native Python data structures, MSC says. The Python community of rich libraries makes customization powerful and easy.
In sum, MSC says Apex Fossa makes the CAD-to-mesh process radically faster, gives more engineers access to frequency response analysis, and makes the overall FEA process more effective, efficient and enjoyable.