CAD Files Reader and Handler

Scaling software potential super-fast

Radial engine CAD assembly | STEP File - 15.8 Mb - 2.3 M triangles output surface

This success story describes how Artificial Twin | CoGe™, our advanced technology for Computational Geometry, allowed an Italian company providing advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation services, to scale up their potential super fast with a top class reliability and robustness.

CAD models are the primary source of geometrical information in Mechanical Engineering. For software in this field, being able to support as many input file formats as possible, guarantees a strategic market advantage. For this reason, leveraging our production-ready tool, which allows ingesting and to discretize NURBS files (such as STEP, IGES, BREP, ACIS, Parasolid), besides common polygonal mesh surfaces (like STL or OBJ), provides a very important, high-value feature.

In addition, the sound knowledge our professionals have on this matter, makes them able to design, develop and deliver a plug-and-play solution to the customer, adapting current state-of-the-art algorithms and methods to specific needs, constraints and interfaces.

Complex STEP assembly interactive viewer (Use mouse to zoom, pan and rotate)

CAD models and NURBS files

CAD models are created combining mathematical descriptions of shapes. Basic elements, appropriately mixed by means of CAD software, allow generating 3D objects of the desired degree of complexity and accuracy.

These models are a fundamental piece of modern Engineering, they are a basic building block in many processes, from design to virtual testing, from 3D printing to virtual prototyping.

Once created by means of dedicated applications, CAD models are used as input for all those activities that rely on a geometrical description of the object of interest. One common way to provide such geometrical description is by means of NURBS files, a technology contained in standard file formats that describes shapes by means of mathematical functions, meaning with no accuracy loss nor discretization with respect to the original model.

Artificial Twin | CoGe™ natively supports many NURBS-based CAD files, like STEP, IGES, BREP, ACIS, Parasolid and other formats. This allows to perform exact modifications (such as Boolean operations) as well as to discretize them with any desired refinement level.

Jet engine CAD assembly | STEP File - 49.7 Mb - 2.5 M triangles output surface

Simulation software and its objects

In this project, Artificial Twin | CoGe™ played a major role in scaling simulation software potential. PM2 Engineering is an Italian company providing advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics services, they sometimes use third party software, but they are also developers and maintainers of their own CFD simulation software, which covers grid generation, solution methods and post-processing. It implements the immersed boundary method with anisotropic Cartesian grids and coupled density-based solvers.

Their code was able to import different types of polygonal mesh files, such as STL and OBJ, as input geometries on which to perform Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations. They wanted to add support for NURBS files, which would allow to accept all major CAD files as inputs for their software.

These geometry files are a fundamental piece of information for simulation software, they define the domain of interest, delimiting boundaries and describing internal shapes and elements. For example, they are used to define the domain which encloses a given urban area one wants to simulate, but also to describe the external aerodynamics profile of a vehicle to be tested.

Front axle CAD assembly | STEP File - 15.3 Mb - 0.8 M triangles output surface

Flawless integration delivered

Relying on Artificial Twin | CoGe™ technology, PM2 Engineering has been provided with a state-of-the-art, reliable and optimized solution, ready to be integrated in their production environment. The experience Artificial Twin has in advanced software development, allows to flawlessly take care of custom software integration. In this specific case, source code has been provided already adapted to take care of specific interfaces their main application had.

This approach reflects how we work, showing the commitment to fulfill all customer needs, leveraging our long experience to provide a market ready solution super quickly. As in this project, we are also open to ship the source code of the solution of choice, allowing the customer to independently maintain and expand it, if needed, when upgrading their application.

During the entire development phase, the modern agile approach is adopted. The incremental continuous delivery, supported by a rigorous unit and regression testing, is aimed at guaranteeing complete customer satisfaction and goal alignments in every project phase. A strict collaboration and communication is of primary importance and, as in this specific project, it has been a key element in quickly converging to the final solution.

Artificial Twin | CoGe™ CAD file importer integrated

Artificial Twin | CoGe™ in action

The video on the right shows a number of very detailed and “heavy” CAD models being successfully opened inside PM2 Engineering software application after Artificial Twin | CoGe™ integration.

Screenshots in this page show some examples of advanced CAD models where the number of polygons generated by the discretization of the original NURBS file are in the order of few millions. The accuracy of this discretization depends on two parameters that have a meaningful default value to be used by non-expert users, but they can also be edited in order to prescribe custom linear and angular resolutions of the discretization process.

CAD files can be very computationally demanding to read, for this reason an optimal discretization tool is of paramount importance to provide a flawless user experience. Even on the most complex ones, Artificial Twin | CoGe™ is able to read and discretize geometries and fill custom data structures in less than 60 seconds of run-time, using a standard CPU.

Our experience in the field, in addition, allow us to spot optimization opportunities for our customers, providing a very high value service, in which we firmly believe to foster success for both parties.

F1 front wing CAD assembly | STEP File - 18.8 Mb - 0.2 M triangles output surface