FiberSIM software for designing composite products

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March 23, 2006 There can be no more difficult proving ground than Formula One in the design and rapid prototyping of parts, and we have written before about the advanced techniques employed by Renault F1 in building the cars which won the 2005 title and lead the 2006 title. Accordingly, those who study advanced composites are in for a treat at the JEC Composites Show 2006 show to be held later this month at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles in Paris, France. Engineering software developer Vistagy will be on hand to show the latest version of its FiberSIM 5.1 design environment for composite products and to have one of their best known customers present not just the Renault F1 race car, but to have the F1 team’s CAD support engineer, Alan Duerden, deliver a presentation entitled “Champion cars, composite parts, and FiberSIM” in the VISTAGY booth. FiberSIM 5.1 provides specialized tools that enable engineers working in commercial CAD systems to automate design processes early in product development. This results in more efficient and accurate manufacture of complex or large composite parts, including products produced in multiple stages. There will also be demonstrations of the new Airframe Design Environment (ADE) which helps engineers design airframe assemblies.

“With FiberSIM 5.1, we’ve reinforced our commitment to helping engineers capitalize on the vast potential of composite parts and development processes so they can create cutting-edge, innovative products,” said Bob Flory, vice president of product development at VISTAGY, Inc. “By automating many of the most repetitive or complex composites design tasks early in development, FiberSIM 5.1 enables engineers to select the optimum product design choices and manufacturing methods to reduce cycle time and costs. As a result, our customers will realize a significant competitive advantage with FiberSIM 5.1.”

FiberSIM 5.1 introduces a number of new features that enhance the latest composites design and manufacturing processes. The software provides three primary advantages:

• Automation earlier in the product development process. Engineers who produce large or complex composite parts utilize FiberSIM to help them design and validate laminates, zones, layers and ply sequences. The software provides new capabilities to automate design methods earlier in product development for more efficient manufacture of composite parts. For example, the new Merge Model capability enables engineers to quickly and automatically divide an electronically generated model, such as a representation of an aircraft fuselage, into several separate models and combine them again at a later time. This capability allows a number of engineers to simultaneously work on the parts of a large composite product to significantly decrease development time. The Symmetric Laminate Utility generates a model, such as an aircraft’s composite left wing section, and then applies all the data to automatically create a corresponding structure for the opposite, righthand side, saving hours of manual design time.

• Capabilities specifically designed to optimize various composites product development processes. Composite designs will not be economically feasible unless they are tailored to the specific manufacturing processes being used to produce them. The new Automated Deposition Design (ADD) option automates the creation of composite product geometry that is specific to manufacturing processes such as tape-laying or fiber placement, saving weeks of manual work for large structures. The new Extended Ramp Object, for example, extends boundaries of material and defines a natural drop-off to make it easier for a fiber placement machine to ‘ramp up’ onto a tool and do its job properly. FiberSIM 5.1 provides unique tools for ply lay-up, material overlay, tape-laying and splicing that optimize composite designs for quicker downstream manufacturing. There are also new documentation enhancements, such as automatic generation of 2D plybooks that list the sequence of laminate plies, eliminating drawings and manual note-taking methods used prior to FiberSIM.

• The creation of a complete product definition that can be easily leveraged downstream. With the breadth of new capabilities in FiberSIM 5.1 and support of open standards, engineers can create a complete composite design definition with all associated citations and data necessary to drive downstream processes. Using the power of Extensible Markup Language (XML), the complete data set can be easily shared across the enterprise. As a result, engineers understand the history and context of design details, which helps minimize potential errors downstream, achieve desired part quality, and meet specifications in a fraction of the time of traditional processes.

The Renault F1 Team racecar will be on exhibit at the VISTAGY booth (#C21). Renault F1 Team has used FiberSIM to advance the design and manufacture of composite components on three generations of racecars, including the R25 car, which raced the team to victory in both the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Formula One Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships in 2005. Alan Duerden, CAD support engineer for the team, will give a presentation titled “Champion cars, composite parts, and FiberSIM” in the VISTAGY booth at the following times: • Tuesday, March 28: 10:30, 13:30, and 16:30 • Wednesday, March 29: 10:30, 13:30, and 16:30 • Thursday, March 30: 9:30, 11:30, and 14:30

About VISTAGY

VISTAGY, Inc. develops engineering software that provides specialized functionality to significantly improve the value of commercial 3D CAD systems. VISTAGY’s specialized engineering environments enable engineers to capture and communicate complete digital product definitions within CAD, thereby increasing productivity, improving the communication of product information throughout the product lifecycle, and allowing better-informed decision-making early in design. VISTAGY software is used throughout the world in the aerospace, automotive, marine, medical, sporting goods, and transportation interiors industries.

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