Established in 1982, HBM nCode is the leading supplier of durability, test and analysis products.
Jon Aldred, product manager for the software solution nCode DesignLife™, in an interview.
Increasing the efficiency of measurement tests and product designs is one of the major tasks for many industries and companies. How can nCode software solutions support technical experts in achieving their goals?
Jon Aldred: nCode software helps in several ways with regards the efficiency of performing product validation and design. Primarily this means enabling engineers to get more done in a reduced amount of time e.g.: Enable engineers to be able to analyze more data more quickly. Enable engineers to find the right data more quickly. Re-use measured data more effectively and confidently to avoid re-testing. Re-use analysis processes to ensure standardization and repeatability. Predict durability problems up-front in the design cycle to avoid expensive and time consuming failures.
In test and measurement applications it is becoming more and more difficult to handle increasingly huge data volumes. How can nCode GlyphXE™ help to find out which data is really important?
nCode GlyphXE™ provides the ability to process large amounts of data quickly. Multiple tests each with millions of data points can be processed to a finished report. In GlyphXE™, the user can graphically create an end-to-end process, which includes all the necessary analysis steps into a formatted document with the key results and summary information. In this way a large amount of measured data can be reduced to information which can be more meaningful to an engineer or his/her manager. This process-oriented approach is key the improvements in overall efficiency.
Could you describe a typical workflow?
In some ways there is no typical workflow and that is perhaps the strength of GlyphXE™. After data acquisition, engineers may use GlyphXE™ to edit the measured data, calculate new derived channels and automatically generate a report on the whole acquisition project. Another may want to perform a vibration analysis on a few channels from a rotating component. Another engineer may want to show where the peak vibration occurred on a map of the proving ground. All these are possible with GlyphXE™ and having created a required process, these can be saved and re-used next time.
nCode DesignLife™ is the leading software solution for fatigue analysis. Could you give us one or two examples of how effective and cost saving it is to perform durability and certification analysis before starting production of a prototype?
Development cycles used to be long enough to allow physical testing of prototypes which could then feed back into design in a build- test –fix loop of product validation. This was costly and time-consuming. Now because of compressed development cycles in industries such as automotive, it is necessary to commit to expensive tooling prior to the completion of physical tests. This means that the physical tests are at best a confirmation that the design is correct – not a means to optimize. Therefore there is tremendous pressure to predict product performance criteria such as durability using computer models earlier in the design process. Whole proving ground schedules can be simulated using nCode DesignLife™ to indentify durability problems in the chassis or body structure before a prototype is even built. In other industries such as wind energy, DesignLife™ enables a wider range of loading conditions to be simulated than would be cost-effective to test – thus enabling a more robust design.
Are there specific industries that are particularly suitable for nCode software solutions?
nCode software began in 1982 with fatigue analysis in the railway industry, and nCode has continued to provide leading tools to the transportation industries such as automotive, aerospace, off-highway and defense. In recent years we have also seen significant growth in energy industries such as wind power. nCode software has particular strength where there is large amounts of data to be analyzed or fatigue expertise is required.
Efficiency is not only important when it comes to product designs. Also the handling of the software itself must be very efficient and time saving. How important is ease of use to nCode?
It is increasingly important that engineers can quickly get the answer they are looking for. With DesignLife™, analysts have now commonly using finite element models with several million degrees of freedom. These are large models that can be very time consuming to solve. We are using several ways to achieve fast solution times. For example DesignLife™ can use multiple runs in the same analysis, performing a quick and simple analysis on the whole model and then a more accurate analysis only on the important areas. Also we are using multi-threaded calculations to make the most of the multi-core processors in modern computers. In addition to raw computing, nCode software enables the complete processes to be easily re-used. This provides an ease-of-use that prevents the average user having to answer unnecessary questions and enables the engineer to quickly go from data to results with minimal inputs.