Integrated solutions for CFD and CAE tools provide a convenient framework for engineers using simulation in their design process. Although integrated tools like ANSYS Workbench, Siemen’s Simcenter, and COMSOL Multiphysics provide flexibility in solution methodology and analysis, there are significant benefits to using best-in-class tools for design and optimization.
1. More Flexibility
Engineering practices are evolving over time and there has been an increased focus on collaboration and multi-disciplinary approaches to design problems. Engineers face highly dimensional problems which require a flexible architecture that integrated solutions often lack. File format compatibility is often more flexible in a best-in-class tool, and the tools themselves can be interchangeable if a better solution comes along.
2. Tools Designed by Subject Matter Experts (i.e., Depth of Capability)
Integrated solutions continue to improve their pre- and post- processing over time to meet the needs of their users, and the generalist will welcome this improvement; however, the specialist solving complex engineering problems requires more advanced tools. A tool that specializes in a certain class of functions will typically hold the edge within its own domain over one that seeks to be all and do all. Best-in-class tools like Pointwise, ICFD++, and Tecplot 360 have been developed by subject matter experts that allow the specialist to answer tough questions.
3. Breadth of Capability
Many best-in-class tools have been around for decades and have large user bases worldwide. This combined with their focused area of specialization means that the breadth of capability found in these tools is unmatched by competing integrated solutions. Years and years of adding new features & capabilities within a given domain, such as post-processing, results in an unparalleled breadth of capability. Tecplot tools, for example, have a user base of well over 50,000 and has been around for 40 years.
4. Compare Solvers and Other Physics Engines
Attend an event like the MDAO (Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization) Conference and you will hear folks talk about the challenges of working within a heterogeneous simulation environment. Even organizations that use all-in-one integrated modelling solutions typically also handle technical data from tests and standalone solvers. A major advantage of tools that are not natively integrated with one tool chain is that they can be used in conjunction with a variety of tools. In the case of post-processors, the engineers may want or need to compare results across a variety of sources, and to do so with the consistency that a single interface can provide.
5. Higher Level of Support
When it comes to pre- and post- processing, getting the answers to your technical questions quickly is critical. Best-in-class tool developers have specialized support engineers that collaborate closely with users to assist them through their project work. When you reach out to a point-solution software provider for support, the support engineers know the product backwards and forwards. That depth of expertise is harder to come by when the product in question encompasses so many aspects of the design and simulation workflow, which can result in greater difficulty reaching the correct support person. To provide an unbiased example (😉) of excellent support for best-in-class software, here is what customers have said about Tecplot’s support:
- “It is truly the best! I don’t understand how Tecplot can provide such excellent support!”
- “Very satisfied … support went over and above what I asked of them. Everything is functioning perfectly now.”
- “The interactive Teams session was the best approach; Support was able to immediately witness my screen, do some quick tests, diagnose the issue, and offer the solution.”
Which CAE tools are you using in your design and optimization workflows? Whether you are using specialized best-in-class tools or an integrated solution, what is the greatest challenge you face in your work done with these tools?
Read the related blog: Top 3 Reasons to Post-process COMSOL Results with Tecplot 360