Automatic Tool for Improving the Meshing Efficiency for Thin-Walled Objects-Mid-Surface Mesh Generation Utilizing Shape Recognition 2018-01-0478
Thin-walled objects, such as sheet metals or resin parts, are modeled as mid-surface in finite element analysis (FEA), where the extraction of mid-surface mesh is still problematic especially for objects with complicated contours. In addition, market demand for more variety of new designs required the modeling to be done in much shorter time, which makes it indispensable to improve the meshing efficiency. As an attempt to improve the modeling efficiency for thin-walled objects, an automatic tool was developed to retrieve mid-surface mesh from an input 3D computer-aided design (CAD) data, which has its own shape recognition engine and mesh-rule knowledge database that enables it to recognize shape and generate and control mesh configuration/pattern at the mid-surface position. Moreover, this will provide the users with controllability over mid-surface generation and meshing process for various features such as ribs, fillets, holes, clips, and many others. This tool has the following advantages: (1) full automation with no human intervention, (2) controllability over mid-surface generation, and (3) controllability over mesh patterns. Full automation or unmanned operation allows it to run 24 hours nonstop and thus will eventually improve the meshing efficiency. Through an embedded shape recognition engine, the mid-surface generation process is controllable where various types of mid-surface patterns can be generated for one specific feature. Most of the time, the required shapes of mid-surface may vary between companies, depending on their experience and expertise in computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis. In respect to the analysis objectives, the required mesh patterns are also different for crash, strength, and thermal analyses. This tool allows the users to select their analysis objective and define the mid-surface patterns for any specific shapes, thus making it close enough to the solver-ready model. For future implementation, this tool will provide easy accessibility for design engineers to transform between CAD and CAE domains and allow them to create reliable mesh models by their own, instead of relying on design analysts.