Is Nastran-in-CAD right for my company?
This is part 2 of my discussion on how Nastran-in-CAD works. We’d left off talking about the Nastran-in-CAD price tag, at $9-12K up front with $2k licensing/year. Ouch! Do you really need to spring for this, on top of the CAD license itself? This is about exactly what licenses of Inventor Professional and SOLIDWORKS cost you. Do you want to spring at least $4k/year on annual subscription fees?? Eek.
This really depends on how the cost of design failure hits your bottom line. The return on investment for simulation-driven design is substantial. Why? Many different reasons:
- Good machines are harder to design and manufacture than they used to be. Design in today’s world of global, high-yield production is often modular. This makes assemblies really big and complex.
- Non-proportional loading, with stress and deformation in one area affecting other parts, is hard to predict.
- Global operating environments are more varied and put a greater variety of stresses on machines and parts.
- A much wider range of materials is available, and they deform and fatigue in very complex ways.
- The ever greater need for reduced time to market, with every person and node in a company’s workflow under the gun for increased productivity and efficiency.
And of course, there’s good ole money. Product problems can quickly send costs soaring through the roof—litigation, down time, staffing for repairs, recalls, redesigns. Not to mention the impact on brand and reputation. Double ouch!
We live in a world where failure is expensive. When you have greater testing capability during design, making changes costs a lot less. As a huge bonus, there is a natural fostering of more profound innovation when design iterations can be evaluated quickly!
It’s the reverse at the other end of the product workflow: making changes on the shop floor gets really pricey, really fast. Plus it’s nearly impossible to make substantial changes at this point. So why not make stuff safer and stronger sooner? It’s a win-win.
There’s nothing wrong with SOLIDWORKS’ or Inventor’s good ole linear static analysis. Sure, you can use existing simulation functionality in these CAD modelers to understand a stress load on metal.
But this measurement alone isn’t enough to understand how a product operates in the real world. This is what is great about how Nastran-in-CAD works. What happens after 10,000 cycles? How about plastic or composite materials, which can have large, non-proportional deformations? What if a precision part expands when it gets warm or shakes too much and sends a function elsewhere in the assembly off tolerance?
More in my next post on how Nastran in CAD works. Thanks!