Going beyond traditional "materials data management," MaterialCenter was designed from the ground up to meet the demanding integration and scalability requirements of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME), the interface between materials engineering and virtual product development. Through integration with MSC's solutions and third-party simulation tools, MaterialCenter aims to drive down the cost of physical testing by providing the ability to virtually engineer products with next-generation advanced materials.
MSC Software (www.mscsoftware.com), through its engineering simulation and analysis software and services, is focused purely on virtual testing. In a telephone interview, MSC’s President and CEO, Dominic Gallello, told PlasticsToday that companies such as Ford and Boeing run their system-level models through complex virtual testing prior to building a physical prototype.
“Our goal is to blur the boundary between material engineering and structural engineering, allowing for more pervasive use of advanced materials while helping manufacturers dramatically reduce the cost of physical testing needed to validate a new material system,” said Gallello. “Physical testing costs are exploding and no aerospace or automotive material process can exist going forward without truly incorporating materials designed and tested virtually.”
The browser-based interface of MSC’s new MaterialCenter is designed to be easy to use, configurable, and have the ability to provide required access controls across the enterprise. The CAD and CAE pre- and post-processor integration helps improve the product development team’s efficiency and promote uniformity across the development groups. The MaterialCenter has an extensive material library with simulation-ready data and a robust open platform for integrating materials information to customers’ entire product environment, including CAD, CAE, and PLM (product lifecycle management) systems.
Complex materials are defined as algorithms (programs, user subroutines) written to work with simulation tools. MaterialCenter can capture these algorithms so that a company and its users know exactly what material model was utilized in an analysis. This includes not only MSC tools (MSC Nastran, Marc) but third-party tools as well (Abaqus, ANSYS, Matlab, Excel, COMSOL, etc.), according to MSC.
In MaterialCenter, material data is managed with Pedigree so that the user knows exactly who created it, when, and how. The material data is also tied to specific use cases. The audit trail will allow traceability, so that a material’s use is tracked, allowing the material creator to realize what his or her users need. This also allows for an organization to look backwards and see what projects utilized a material. This is very important for warranty work and understanding risk, explained MSC.
This is the latest in MSC Software Corp.’s recent business expansions. Last year, MSC acquired e-Xstream Engineering, developers of the Digimat product, a material modeling software platform with which companies can perform predictive design for thermoplastics and fiber-reinforced plastic parts and materials.
“We work with material suppliers who use it to perform modeling and analysis of thermoplastics,” said Roger Assaker, materials strategist for MSC and CEO of e-Xstream Engineering.
Digimat can simulate the performance of the part by describing the behavior of the material, and allow engineers to know how a material will behave in both a non-reinforced and a reinforced material.
“By taking the results of the processing simulation like Moldflow or MoldEx 3d, we can predict how the material will flow based on how the mold is built,” said Assaker. “Digimat predicts how the fibers will orient inside the material based on how the material is processed. We can predict how the material will behave in the part and thus how the part will behave. It takes the complexity of a reinforced material and keeps you from over-designing the part, meaning reducing the amount of material and optimizing wall thickness and thus improving the material properties. We can gain 120% of improved accuracy so you can design confidently without the need to overdesign.”
A Digimat analysis can help molders design the mold to orient the fibers in FRP materials in the way the material is injected so the fibers don’t break. “It provides optimum gate positioning and flow control to improve the performance of the material,” said Assaker. “It links the process condition to the end performance of the part. Without Digimat technology it’s a silo. We’re bridging the gap between processing and part performance because one directly influences the other.”
Engineers will see tight integration between Digimat and MaterialCenter, Assaker noted. Digimat material properties, models, and algorithms can be captured in MaterialCenter and used in subsequent simulations with complete traceability across the enterprise. “Engineers will know exactly what material model was utilized in an analysis, which ultimately can help organizations make better decisions and reduce the risk associated with product design and test,” he added.