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Home > Press > New electromagnetic modeling tool puts 'optimal design' within reach of all

Opera-based electomagnetic model of an actively shielded superconducting MRI
Opera-based electomagnetic model of an actively shielded superconducting MRI magnet.

* powerful 'what if?' optimization for all from lowest-cost 2D entry package user to full 3D modeler
* applications include medical scanners, particle beams, plasma emission, semiconductor and nanomaterial equipment

New electromagnetic modeling tool puts 'optimal design' within reach of all

Aurora, IL | Posted on October 8th, 2007

The latest release of the well-known electromagnetic simulation tool, Opera, adds sophisticated model parameterisation and scripting capabilities. These facilities make it much simpler to perform 'what if?' investigations, to speed up the virtual prototyping of electromagnetic equipment. Every variant of Vector Fields' new Opera release, version 12, from the lowest-cost 2-dimensional simulation package to the full 3-dimensional modeling suite, benefits from these features. A breakthrough tool for optimization is also optionally available, which will automatically seek the best solution for single or competing goals.

Opera is available in numerous variants, with generic 2D and 3D finite element analysis (FEA) solvers for static and time-varying electromagnetic fields, and with application-specific solvers for design work involving rotating machinery, superconducting magnets, particle beams, dielectric insulation, and magnetization/demagnetization processes. The latest release extends the performance of many of these solvers to enhance simulation fidelity and speed.

"Opera's integrated design-simulate-optimize toolchain allows organizations to reach the optimal solution much faster - eliminating the huge cost associated with physical design iteration cycles. The incredible amount of intellectual property built into this toolsuite can cut months from the most challenging of projects," says Vector Fields' Dr Kevin Ward.

Available for over three decades, Opera is one of the most widely used electromagnetic design tools on the market, and is renowned for its accuracy of simulation, and efficient execution - allowing complex problems to be solved rapidly on desktop PCs. Opera v12 provides users with integrated design-simulate-optimize tools to create design models, simulate electromagnetic behavior (and optionally related physics including temperature and mechanical stress), post-process results, and iterate the concept to reach the optimal solution.

Component or system models can be imported from CAD programs, or generated using a powerful, built-in, geometric modeler built around the industry-standard ACIS geometry engine. To enhance design process efficiency, models may now be parameterized using variables, making it simple to refine ideas. Users can quickly change parameter values in a model and view effects, or macros can be built to automate complicated design tasks. A related enhancement is the availability of a 'parameterized history stream', allowing models to be easily modified and replayed. This makes it easy to save portions of a complete model, as script-like short cuts for designers who regularly create variations of products, such as electric motor stators or recording heads. A further time saving feature comes in the form of adaptive FEA meshing, which allows users to employ the most efficient resolution for the accuracy of solution required.

Users can purchase Opera with a wide range of solvers to simulate electromagnetic behavior. There are three generic solvers available depending on the application, for modeling static, and low-frequency or high frequency time varying fields. These are available in both two- or three-dimensional versions, to suit the design need and budget. Application-specific variants are also available. These cater for applications including rotating electrical machinery, the magnetization/demagnetization of permanent magnets, the simulation of 'quench' phenomena in superconducting magnets, space charge effects of particle beams, a solver for modeling insulation properties of semiconducting materials, plus extensions to incorporate temperature and mechanical stress effects, and electrical circuits and mechanical loads.

Several of these solvers are radically improved in Opera v12. As an example, the space charge effects solver for visualising particle beams in products such as X-ray tubes and ion beam equipment, now provides a very sophisticated system for modelling secondary emissions. In an X-ray tube for example, users can accurately predict particle scattering that would from their mechanical design, and effects this might have on cathode lifetime. This solver also has new models for plasma emission, to support applications from fusion energy research, to the design of ion implanter equipment for semiconductor or nanomaterial fabrication.

When simulation is complete, Opera includes a purpose-designed post-processor that simplifies analysis of results. As well as displaying electromagnetic field quantities, numerous functions are available to prepare and display results in forms and units familiar to the user - such as forces, power loss, and stored energy.

For the most demanding applications, Opera v12 introduces an option that is believed to be a first in the electromagnetic modeling marketplace. Optimization of designs may now be performed automatically using a new tool called Optimizer - an advanced auto-optimization tool designed specifically to work with finite element methods and to support competing goals.

Unlike current attempts at auto-optimization, this tool incorporates a number of algorithmic techniques including stochastic, descent, Pareto and Kriging that are automatically selected and managed depending on the problem, and which are able to work out the best solution for one or multiple goals - even when goals compete with each other. Conceived, designed and created by Vector Fields in partnership with Southampton University, UK - this unique tool can save an enormous amount of the design effort normally needed to realize a company's design goals, whether they are lowest cost, highest performance, simplest manufacture or other parameter, or optimal combinations.

This is especially the case for complex designs involving many degrees of freedom, where the combination of Opera and Optimizer can easily pay for itself on the first project. Delivering this powerful facility has necessitated substantial additions to Opera's underlying structure, demonstrating Vector Fields' commitment to remain at the vanguard of electromagnetic simulation.

"Globalization is placing unprecedented pressure on the world's 'traditional' design and manufacturing communities. In this extremely competitive environment, there's no doubt that design excellence is going to be a fundamental element of future survival and growth. For any electromagnetic-related equipment, Opera gives users the assistance of hundreds of man-years of know-how to fuel creativity," adds Ward.

Opera v12 is available in around 20 variants, starting from around $8,500, with discounts for educational or research establishments. More details can be found at: .

Vector Fields, Inc., 1700 N Farnsworth Ave, Aurora, IL 60505, USA
t: (630) 851-1734; f: (630) 851-2106; e: ; w:

Vector Fields is a Cobham group company.


About Cobham plc
Cobham plc is an international company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced aerospace and defense systems for land, sea and air platforms. The company has five technology divisions and one in the service sector that collectively specialize in the provision of components, subsystems and services that keep people safe, improve communications and enhance the performance of aerospace and defense platforms.

For more information, please click here

Vector Fields, Inc.
1700 N Farnsworth Ave
Aurora, IL 60505, USA
t: (630) 851-1734
f: (630) 851-2106

Copyright © Cobham plc

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