- Finite element analysis (FEA) studies: This type of analysis is used to determine the stresses and deformations in a product. This type of analysis can be used to identify potential problems with a product's design, such as excessive stress or deformation.
- Finite Element Method (FEM) studies: This is a numerical method that is used to solve partial differential equations. It is a powerful tool that can be used to analyze the behaviour of complex structures. FEM is used in a wide variety of engineering applications, including structural analysis, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, crashworthiness analysis, and so on.
- Multi-body dynamics simulation: This is a type of simulation that is used to analyze the motion of systems that are composed of multiple bodies. Kinematics, which involves accurately defining the position, velocity, and acceleration of each body in the system, is an integral part of this simulation. Multi-body simulation can be used to analyze the dynamics of products such as robots, vehicles, and machinery. With enhanced computing power, multi-body dynamics simulation is gaining traction.
- Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and thermal flow simulation: This is a type of simulation that is used to analyze the flow of fluids and heat. This type of simulation can be used to analyze the performance of products such as heat exchangers, cooling systems, and combustion chambers.
- Vibration analysis: This is a type of analysis that is used to determine the dynamic response of a system to vibration. This type of analysis can be used to identify potential problems with a product's design, such as resonance or excessive vibration. Vibration analysis is critical in automobile and aerospace sector. Apart from safety, it is needed in order to ensure the comfort of passengers.
- Thermal and cooling system analysis: This is a type of analysis that is used to determine the thermal performance of a product. This type of analysis can be used to identify potential problems with a product's design, such as overheating or insufficient cooling.
- Calculations for equipment like pressure vessels: This type of calculation is used to determine the structural integrity of pressure vessels. These calculations are typically performed in accordance with industry standards, and vary from country to country. For example, for boilers, India follows the standards mentioned in the Indian Boiler Act, while the US follows the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.
These are just a few examples of engineering services that go into product development – there are many others. It is pertinent to note that most products require more than one engineering service. For example, if a product is subjected to both mechanical and thermal loading, then FEA and CFD may need to be used together. Here are two real life examples where more than one engineering service is needed in product development:
Engine design: CFD is used to analyze the flow of air and fuel through an engine, while FEA is used to analyze the structural behaviour of the engine's components.
Wind turbine: Wind turbines are complex machines that are subjected to a variety of forces, including wind loading, gravity, and centrifugal force. FEA is used to analyze the structural behaviour of the turbine's blades and tower, while CFD is used to analyze the flow of air around the turbine. Multi-body dynamics is used to analyze the motion of the turbine's blades as they rotate.
Special Purpose Machines
Let us now turn our attention to special purpose machines and why engineering services are needed to develop them. Special purpose machines are machines that are designed for a specific task or application. They are typically more complex and expensive than general-purpose machines, but they can be much more efficient and effective at performing their specific task. The engineering analysis of special purpose machines is a critical part of the design process. It helps to ensure that the machines are safe, efficient, and reliable.
Special purpose machines can especially benefit from multiphysics simulation, which is a type of computer simulation that allows engineers and designers to study the behaviour of a product under different physical conditions. A few engineering properties that multiphysics simulation addresses include thermo-fluid dynamics, structural mechanics, electrical properties, magnetic properties and multiscale simulation. Just as an example, a company that designs special purpose machines for the semiconductor industry (which is very technology intensive) can use multiphysics simulation to study the interaction of electrical and thermal properties in their machines.
Some other examples of special purpose machines include:
- Automatic transmission: An automatic transmission is a special purpose machine that is designed to shift gears automatically. It is used in most cars and trucks today.
- Engine: An engine is a special purpose machine that is designed to convert fuel into mechanical energy. It is used in cars, trucks, airplanes, and many other machines.
- Aircraft landing gear: Aircraft landing gear is a special purpose machine that is designed to absorb the impact of landing and to support the aircraft on the ground.
- Rocket engine: A rocket engine is a special purpose machine that is designed to produce thrust by burning fuel and expelling the exhaust gases. It is used in rockets, missiles, and spacecraft.
Engineering Services for Special Purpose Machines
The engineering analysis that goes into designing a special purpose machine can be very complex. It typically involves a combination of FEA, FEM, CFD, and multi-body dynamics.For example, the design of an automatic transmission would involve FEA to analyze the stresses and strains in the components, CFD to analyze the flow of fluids through the transmission, and multi-body dynamics to analyze the motion of the transmission as it shifts gears.In addition, most special purpose machines also require stress analysis (the study of the stresses and strains that occur in materials. It is needed especially for high loads), failure analysis (study of the causes of failures in machines in order to improve their reliability) and vibration analysis.
Companies like Altair offer a wide range of software for FEA, FEM, CFD, vibration analysis, multi-body dynamics, and design optimization. For example, the HyperWorks suite of products is industry standard software required for design optimization, performance analysis and process automation of products. Most companies however do not have sufficient in-house resources or access to such high end software. Enterprises that offer engineering services can help such companies with their expertise and access to such software. Developing special purpose machines is a demanding engineering challenge; engaging a competent engineering service providing company for its development is the first step forward towards its successful implementation.