|October 8, 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 modelling suite, benefits from these features. A
breakthrough tool for optimisation is also optionally available, which will
automatically seek the best solution for single or competing goals.
A new release of the well-known electromagnetic simulation tool, Opera, adds sophisticated model parameterization and scripting capabilities that make it much simpler to perform 'what if?' investigations.
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
magnetisation/demagnetisation processes. The latest release extends the performance
of many of these solvers to enhance simulation fidelity and speed.
"Opera's integrated design-simulate-optimise toolchain allows organisations 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-optimise
tools to create design models, simulate electromagnetic behaviour (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 modeller built around the industry-standard ACIS
geometry engine. To enhance design process efficiency, models may now be
parameterised 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
'parameterised 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
behaviour. There are three generic solvers available depending on the application,
for modelling 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
magnetisation/demagnetisation of permanent magnets, the simulation of 'quench'
phenomena in superconducting magnets, space charge effects of particle beams, a
solver for modelling 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
rotating machinery solver features two major enhancements to simplify electric motor
and generator design, a skew modelling facility to enhance the accuracy of designs
that employ skewed magnetic fields to reduce 'cogging' torque, and a means to
greatly speed the simulation of large machines by simulating just a segment of a
symmetrical design. This latter facility, combined with operation on today's 64-bit
PCs, can reduce simulation times to hours or even minutes for very complex designs.
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 modelling marketplace. Optimisation of designs
may now be performed automatically using a new tool called Optimiser - an advanced
auto-optimisation tool designed specifically to work with finite element methods and
to support competing goals.
Unlike current attempts at auto-optimisation, 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 realise a company's design goals, whether they are
lowest cost, highest performance, simplest manufacture or other parameter, or
This is especially the case for complex designs involving many degrees of freedom,
where the combination of Opera and Optimiser 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.
"Globalisation 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 £5000, with
discounts for educational or research establishments. More details can be found at:
Vector Fields Ltd, 24 Bankside, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 1JE, UK
t: +44 (0)1865 370151
f: +44 (0)1865 370277
Vector Fields, Inc., 1700 N Farnsworth Ave Aurora, IL 60505, USA
t: (630) 851-1734
f: (630) 851-2106
Vector Fields is a Cobham group company. Cobham plc is an international company
engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced aerospace and defence
systems for land, sea and air platforms. The company has five technology divisions
and one in the service sector that collectively specialise in the provision of
components, subsystems and services that keep people safe, improve communications
and enhance the performance of aerospace and defence platforms.