By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
I get spooked beginning something using words like “get started,” “combination of technologies,” and the like because readers can interpret that to mean “stunningly dumbed down” or recall some useless multi-tool they once got on their birthday. So, you are forewarned: This is not that sort of thing. So here goes.
NEi Fusion Designer brings a combination of technologies—3D parametric MCAD powered by SolidWorks and Nastran FEA—together so that you can get started using FEA early and often then throughout the product development process. Think of “get started” in two ways. One, NEi Fusion is engineered to get the non-FEA savvy designer working productively with FEA right away. Two, it is also a tool—a set of tools,really—that enables small- and mid-sized outfits, the recently laid-off who are picking up some jobs as contract “consultants,” and so on to bring robust, professional-level Nastran-based FEA into their quiver without getting all a-quivering over the money they shell out for it.
NEi Fusion Designer provides the most used and needed analysis capabilities—linear statics, steady state heat transfer, modal, buckling, and prestress. It augments these functionalities with additional capabilities to handle composite material analyses, assemblies with contact, and optimization. Its SolidWorks engine means that you have feature-based, fully associative, parameterized solid modeling with all the neat stuff like extrudes, lofting, filleting, shelling, integrated sketching, multiple subassembly support, and so on. In addition to direct use of CAD geometry and dynamic editing of all geometric features, you get native, bidirectional data exchange of SolidWorks and most other major MCAD file formats like CATIA.
A couple of hidden assets of NEi Fusion, or at least part of the deal that NEi does not dwell on much in its literature about this product, are ease of use and support. NEi Fusion’s single-window integration between MCAD and FEA is engineered so that designers can obtain useful FEA results from the get-go. Then, as they build up confidence in their abilities, they can begin to execute more complex analyses, such as composites.
Which all circles back to support. NEi Software provides more support beyond the traditional e-mail—which they actually answer thoroughly and quickly—and phone than you can shake a stick at: Its online library of on-demand webinars, white papers, and how-to movies practically bulges. This means that, unlike my high school physics teacher, NEi knows how to make complex stuff like FEA accessible to intelligent people (a label which I did not qualify for then and probably do not today either) who need to get up and running with something they may not know much about fast. And, if you do know what you are doing, NEi Fusion lets you explode out of the gate.
NEi Fusion seems fully capable of handling all phases of product development from concept to design validation, trade-off studies, virtual testing, and quality assurance. And without soaking you: Right now, NEi Software is offering NEi Fusion for $2,495. That seems pretty good considering what your money gets you. But you can determine that yourself. Take a look at today’s Pick of the Week write-up and hit some the links to (registration-free) videos, datasheets, and other information to get a complete picture.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering Magazine