Putting Ideas into Operation Faster with Digital Engineering

Research and Development in Virtual Engineering

Simulation Models from CAD Data (Cad2Sim)

Virtual engineering produces a completely new quality of product development by running through, analyzing and optimizing each stage of the product life cycle in a virtual environment independent of time. Primary models created in a design engineer’s CAD environment cannot be used directly for virtual product development based on modeling.

The Fraunhofer IFF has developed a new concept for obtaining model data from design tools and converting them automatically into the structured, cross-domain, object-oriented modeling language Modelica. Parameters relevant to a simulation and a particular virtual product’s structure can be ascertained in advanced CAD environments through an interface. Many commercial tools convert geometric data from CAD models and thus also prepare data from other CAD environments for further processing.

The Fraunhofer IFF developed the XWS format to manage data from multibody system models. This very flexible format based on XML saves not only the hierarchic structure and reference VRML geometry data but also different mass properties. We created a plug-in for the CAD environment Pro/Engineer, which generates such an XWS file from an assembly. The Fraunhofer IFF’s solution produces a Modelica multi-body system model from XWS data fully automatically. The six-legged robot pictured here was developed in collaboration with the team at Otto von Guericke University’s Robotslab. CAD2Sim was used to convert design data automatically into Modelica and test it already in early stages of development.

This development establishes a bridge between the design engineers’ CAD environments and integrated simulations.

The project was co-funded by the state of Saxony-Anhalt.