Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is the Comet Workspace?
A: The Comet Performance Engineering Workspace is a desktop-based environment where project engineering teams capture, refine, automate and share multi-disciplinary simulation processes allowing them to rapidly analyze and validate design concepts to meet product performance targets. The workspace communicates with the team’s existing design and math-based simulation tools via the Comet common data model. Hence, engineers can continue to use their previously validated simulation tools and work processes, both in traditional standalone mode as well as from within the integrated Comet workspace.
Q: What are the benefits of working in the Comet Workspace?
A: There are many benefits to working within the Comet Workspace. These include:
- Faster Time to Market with Innovative Designs (“Right to Market”)
- Capture and reuse critical engineering knowledge/IP – expert analysts and design engineers alike can run complex simulations safely with Comet “abstract” templates
- Utilize multi-domain, multi-fidelity system-level models earlier in the concept stage of the design- explore more design concepts faster within the same project budget
- Enable improved project team collaboration and decision making
- Improve Engineering Productivity
- Eliminate manual data transfer, human error and rework across domains
- Better utilize existing CAD and CAE tools – no replacement or retraining required
- Free up scarce CAE expert resources to work on tougher, higher value-add issues
- Complete more robust and detailed design validation & optimization studies faster
- Reduce the overall cost of performing simulations for each design variation
- Reduce Product Development Costs
- Enable repeatable processes across the organization and supply chain – with expertise built into these processes, non-experts can safely and rapidly perform more sophisticated simulation of design concepts
- Reduce the number of physical prototypes that are built and tested
- Reduce the number and cost of design change orders and downstream re-work
- Reduce in-service warranty/repair costs with the release of higher quality products
Q: How does Comet compare to other “Simulation Process Automation” or PIDO tools such as, DS/Simulia ISight, MSC SimXpert, Altair Process Manger and Phoenix Integration ModelCenter?
A: Comet provides the same type of “best practices” knowledge capture and reuse benefits as these other design simulation process automation tools. The difference is that the Comet process templates are built on top of our Abstract Engineering Model (AEM)TM that enables a much wider range of design variations and geometric design changes to be quickly evaluated and allows the capture and reuse of a wider range of simulation expertise, even by non-expert users of the templates. Finally, while Comet does not provide any optimization tools, it can be driven by any optimization tools to perform simulation runs that are robust across geometric changes to the model – a known deficiency of the existing PIDO tools. A recent whitepaper on the MCAE market, written by Cyon Research Corporation, is a good overview of the tools in this space, and shows how the Comet tools fit within this landscape.
Q: How does Comet work with my other CAD/CAE tools?
A: Comet does not provide math-based solvers – we provide a unified workspace with bi-directional adaptors to your COTS and in-house tools. For example, if your process uses Thermal Desktop to complete a thermal analysis, Comet will launch Thermal Desktop to run the analysis and then reports the results in the Comet Project Dashboard.
Q: How is meshing completed?
A: Comet has an integrated 3rd party batch mesher for basic structural and thermal applications but because we have an open architecture, Comet can also support external meshing tools such as MSC Patran, ANSA, Femap, ANSYS Workbench, etc.
Q: Where in the Product Design Process Is Comet Used?
A: Comet can be used at any point in the product development process but has the greatest impact when applied starting from the system-level Conceptual Design Phase through the sub-system and component level Detailed Design and Validation phase.
Because Comet is geometry-independent, the software can assist project engineering teams who work at the systems engineering level and are responsible for lower fidelity, upfront trade studies using 0-1D math models, design handbooks and empirical rules based on experience. Since these teams do not always work with detailed CAD geometry, they benefit from Comet’s ability to complete “what if” concept trade studies early in the process without the availability of a detailed 3-D CAD model. Comet allows these teams to gain earlier design insight resulting in improved product quality and innovation. During this phase, engineers often use tools such as MS Excel, MATLAB, and specialized systems engineering tools. Comet currently provides adaptors to Excel and MATLAB, allowing the engineers to utilize these tools in a Comet simulation process.
Comet also provides downstream automation to project engineering teams responsible for detailed design simulation. Teams who run multi-physics simulations across domain silos using high fidelity design validation tools also benefit from Comet. Simulation Templates capture and reuse knowledge and allow expert engineers (domain specialists) as well as general design engineers to quickly validate 3-D designs against performance targets. For the first time, there is a single integrated design/simulation environment that allows engineering teams to bridge the chasm between the concept and detailed design phases of the product development process.
Q: What is an Abstract Engineering Model ™?
A: Comet’s Abstract Engineering Model™ is a basic functional description of how a system or sub-system will perform that can be created early on in the concept design phase before any of the specific detailed design geometry is available. Once created, the AEM can be “instanced” to perform specific performance calculations across a wide variety of geometric variations and physics domains and it can also be refined over time as more domain knowledge is captured in the AEM. It is not meant to be a static entity – the AEM is dynamic in nature by design and can be employed across a wide range of physics domains.
Comet’s unique AEM is a single, integrated data model containing functional requirements, performance metrics, system constraints, design variables and process flow. Not only is it CAD and CAE tool neutral – it does not require you to have detailed design geometry to begin analysis. Leveraging Comet’s AEM technology, engineering teams study and validate multiple product concepts more efficiently than they do today- even when geometry changes significantly.
For instance, an AEM can be created containing all of the fundamental information required to perform a drop test simulation. Once created and enabled by a Comet Simulation Template which links the analysis processes to all the required design and simulation data and calculation tools, the same drop-test template can be used to evaluate a wide range of consumer products that are quite dissimilar from a geometry perspective – a cell phone, a laptop computer, an HDTV, a digital camera, etc.
A recent Comet case study explains how a company compressed a 3 to 10 week model development process to just 1 to 2 weeks using Comet’s AEM – reducing up to 80% of the cycle – View case study
Q: Can I use Comet as a Simulation Process Automation environment without developing an abstract model?
A: Yes – the Comet Workspace can definitely be used without developing an AEM. Engineering teams working with both low-fidelity and high-fidelity models and tools can use Comet to automate and refine their design simulation processes as they are performed manually today. Many companies begin using the Comet workspace in this way. Engineers developing and validating detailed designs using high-fidelity tools/models gain additional time saving and automation benefits from developing and using Comet’s process automation templates. However, with the additional use of an AEM, multi-disciplinary project teams can then rapidly perform design optimization/DOE studies including significant geometric variants.
Q: What is a Simulation Template?
A: Simulation Templates capture knowledge and “best-practices” of domain experts in a reusable and automated fashion and then all team members, simulation experts as well as non-experts, can utilize these templates to run simulations. Comet’s templates do not rely on ”tweaking” an existing CAD model therefore you can run and rerun the templates using radically varying geometry, as well as models of different fidelity (from low fidelity systems engineering type 0-D/1-D tools all the way up to 3-D CAD and FE mesh-based geometry?)
Q: What is the Project Dashboard?
A: Comet’s Project Dashboard displays how well a design concept and variants meets product performance requirements. Project teams use Comet’s Project Dashboard to rapidly evaluate design concepts and determine if changes to the design are necessary to meet the desired requirements. The project dashboard displays if a design: (1) passes (green); (2) is marginally within a satisfactory range(yellow) or (3) fails (red) for each specified performance requirement using an easy to understand “stoplight” coloring system. Simulation results could include stress levels, displacements at key locations, weight, cost, mesh quality, etc. The dashboard displays results immediately after running a design concept through the process template. Not only does Comet’s Project Dashboard display simulation results, but it also provides a single view of design parameters important to performance of the design.
Comet’s project dashboard can expose any information available through the API of the underlying tools that is deemed of critical importance to anyone on the design/simulation team and can be visible to any staff within your organization with access to the common Comet project – senior/program management, designers, analysts, test engineers, marketing, sales, purchasing, etc.
Q: How long does it take to implement the use of Comet?
A: The Comet Workspace requires no change to your existing engineering tools or processes and training is minimal so that you can be running multi-disciplinary performance simulations through Comet within days.
Once a user is familiar with the basic concepts of Comet and the user interface, a Comet template for a basic single domain can be built in a matter of hours and can be updated, as needed, in a matter of minutes. Obviously, as the complexity of the overall process template grows to account for multiple simulation domains, then more time is required to create the template. However, each domain expert is able to work somewhat independently in their own “sand box” creating their own specific domain templates and these individual templates can be automatically linked and incorporated into an overall, multi-domain, multi-disciplinary process template leveraging the underlying Comet AEM.
A customer-written technical white paper is available describing how Comet’s Simulation Templates automated a complex, multi-disciplinary design/simulation process to yield significant cost, schedule, and performance benefits. View case study
Q: What commercial tools can be used with Comet?
A: Comet today supports a number of commercial design and simulation tools including Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks, ANSYS, Thermal Desktop, CODE V, MATLAB, Sigfit, ADAMS, Nastran, Abaqus and Excel. Comet requires an “adaptor” for any tool which is driven as part of Comet template. Additional CAD and CAE adaptors are under development by Comet. See Comet’s list of current partners.
Q: What if I use a commercial software tool not listed above?
A: Comet’s open architecture allows for additional tools to be added relatively quickly with the addition of new adaptors. By virtue of its open architecture design and modular API, either Comet, third party software partners or IT services/implement ion partners are all able to create these adaptors to link all types of design and simulation tools with Comet.
Q: Can my in-house, custom tools be used with Comet?
A: Yes, Comet supports a number of customer’s in-house tools and can build adaptors for ones specific to new customers. We understand that most product development processes include “specialty” tools that are crucial to our customer’s engineering processes. Comet customers benefit greatly by leveraging this open “plug-in” architecture environment.
Q: What implementation consulting services can Comet supply?
A: Consultant services such as simulation process template development, adaptor development and new user raining can be contracted through Comet or with one of Comet’s business partners worldwide.
Q: What kind of training and technical support can I receive?
A: Every Comet customer is encouraged to invest in a 2-3 day quick start training session to get you familiar with the basics of the Comet environment as applied to a basic use case with your specific product design issues. Technical hotline support is available to all customers during standard business hours.
Q: Can Comet be used in other industries not mentioned in your case studies?
A: Yes, the Comet Workspace can be used in any industry where 1-engineer or an entire workgroup uses CAD and CAE tools to design and analyze the performance of products and where the team is looking to significantly reduce their product development cycle time.
Q: What are the purchasing options?
A: Comet can be purchased with an annual or perpetual license in either floating or node lock format. Two standard Comet bundles are available, which include the core Comet functionality plus an appropriate set of adaptors. Adaptors can also be purchased ala carte.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: The system requirements are:
Operating System: Windows XP
Processor: IntelÂ® Pentium D, 3.4 GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Disk: 10 GB Free
Video: Nvidia Quadro FX 3400