Mentor Graphics, Crossing over from EDA to Concurrent CFD

At the end of 2009, Wang Yang, a journalist of e-works, interviewed Mr. Erich Buergel, General Manager of Mechanical Analysis Division of Mentor Graphics Corp. at his first visit to China.

In Aug. 2008, EDA giants Mentor Graphics, acquired Flomerics, a thermal analysis software provider, and formed a new division; Mechanical Analysis Division, thus Mentor Graphics formally entered into the ECAD\MCAD-based simulation and analysis field.  At the end of 2009, Mr. Erich Buergel, General Manager for Mentor Graphics, Mechanical Analysis, made his first visit to China, and agreed to an e-works interview to talk about the division’s product development, marketing strategy and more.

Erich Buergel, General Manager of Mechanical Analysis Division of Mentor Graphics Corp.

The Mechanical Analysis Acquisition Strategy

Wang Yang:  Could you please introduce Mentor Graphics’ market position in the EDA field and your acquisition strategy for the Mechanical Analysis Division (Flomerics Inc.)?

Erich Buergel:  EDA technology is revolutionary in the electronics design industry, and is therefore growing rapidly.  Founded in 1981, Mentor Graphics is a technology leader in electronic design automation (EDA) and mechanical analysis (MCAE), providing software and hardware design solutions. The Mechanical Analysis Division (formerly Flomerics Inc.) was founded in 1988, and was a pioneer in developing thermal analysis software for electronics cooling.  Since its release to the market, FloTHERM has been the market leader and has led new technological developments.

With the development of electro-mechanical integration, electro-mechanical mixed design has been gradually accepted and applied in the real world.  In the electronics industry and in traditional mechanical industries involving electrical design, due to increasingly intensive interaction between ECAD and MCAD, there is a greater need for electro-mechanical design software.  We are now beginning to see the merging of the MCAD and ECAD job functions.

Mentor Graphics offers innovative products and solutions that help engineers to overcome the design challenges that they face in the increasingly complex worlds of board, chip and mechanical design.  Mentor Graphics has the broadest industry portfolio of best-in-class products and is the only EDA company with an embedded software solution.

Wang Yang:  Mentor Graphics enjoys high competence in the EDA market, what value did Mentor Graphics gain from acquiring the Mechanical Analysis Division?

Erich Buergel:  Mentor Graphics is the clear market leader in the field of EDA, particularly in PCB design and the thermal analysis market.  On one hand, the Mechanical Analysis division can further strengthen Mentor’s No.1 position in PCB and electronics product design.  On the other hand, through the acquisition of Flomerics we have now advanced computational fluid dynamics technology (CFD) and will drive the CFD market forward and push for better and more competitive product lines in Mentor Graphics.

Mentor’s PCB Market Position

Businesses of Mechanical Analysis

Wang Yang:  What are the main businesses of Mentor Graphics, Mechanical Analysis?  What advantage do you have over the traditional CAE market?

Erich Buergel:  Generally speaking, Mechanical Analysis currently has three principle lines of business; thermal design of electronics, heating and ventilation in buildings and concurrent CFD for all industries.  Our main products include ‘FloTHERM’ - electronics cooling simulation software, ‘T3Ster’ for thermal testing of devices, ‘FloEFD’ – general purpose CFD, ‘FloTHERM PCB’ (formerly Flo/PCB), a new software program for streamlining concept development of printed-circuit boards (PCBs) and ‘FloTHERM PACK’ - the unique web-based thermal models solution.

We have perfect solutions for all three of our core businesses.  Firstly, for thermal design of electronics, FloTHERM has been the pioneer among all thermal simulation codes, the first of its kind, and the clear world leader in thermal analysis software for the electronics industry.  FloTHERM has 60% share of the worldwide vertical market. 

In the field of heating and ventilation in buildings, FloVENT has been widely used for the simulation of internal and external airflow.  Applications include cleanroom design, contamination control and fire simulation.  FloVENT’s accurate and fast calculating ability, helps to shorten the design process and solve engineering roadblocks, leading to improved efficiency and dramatically reduced cost.  This makes FloVENT outstanding in the HVAC industry.

As for the general-purpose CFD field, FloEFD is a fully MCAD-embedded CFD software, and is the natural extension of traditional CFD codes.  Moreover, it has easy-to-use features and a simple interface, therefore, greatly increasing efficiency. 

Concurrent CFD, MCAD-Embedded System

Wang Yang:  As well as the fully MCAD-embedded CFD code, what are the other features and advantages of FloEFD from Mentor Graphics, Mechanical Analysis?

Erich Buergel:  FIoEFD is part of a new breed of CFD tools called Engineering Fluid Dynamics (EFD).  FloEFD is a fully-featured general purpose CFD tool serving the needs of popular MCAD systems.  FloEFD combines all simulation steps – starting with your 3D CAD data for model preparation, to mesh generation, solving and results visualization – in one easy-to-use package.

FIoEFD is based on the same mathematical foundation as traditional CFD software, however, FloEFD is easier, more powerful and more accurate.   Seven key technologies that set FloEFD apart from all other CFD codes are: 
. Direct CAD-to-CFD concept
. Engineering vs. analysis user interface
. Design variant analysis
. Intelligent rectangular adaptive mesh
. Modified wall functions 
. Laminar-transitional-turbulent modeling
. Automatic convergence control

FIoEFD Pro is the only fully embedded CFD tool for Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire.  As a Pro/TOOLKIT application, FloEFD Pro enables engineers to analyze and optimize complex fluid flow and heat transfer effects on the designs directly inside Pro/ENGINEER.

Wang Yang:  Nowadays, many CAE providers promote the platform concept.  However, Mentor now pushes the Concurrent concept.  What are your thoughts about these two concepts?

Erich Buergel:  Nowadays, the CAE platform concept promoted by mainstream CAE providers is based on the establishment of a platform for data.  On this basis, from the concept view, there are two ways of integration.  The first way, the platform integrates upper and downstream tools closely, and it enables engineers to launch practical work by using these tools.  The second way, the platform simply provides interface which can enable engineers to open, view and save a certain format of file in the platform.  Technically, a platform which is based on live product data is able to recognize simultaneous users managing data at the same time.  This means multiple users of the data do not affect each other.
In reality, when talking about developing an entire CAE platform which closely integrates manufacturing data, processes, production flows and engineering analyses, it is dependent on specific customer demands from a tool.  Whenever a manufacturer needs an entire platform to carry out multiple jobs simultaneously, then a platform makes sense.

FloEFD’s fully embedded technology.  Firstly, FloEFD is the first and only CFD system with fully integrated CAD and CFD technology.  The purpose of this is to bring out a tool which works the way engineers do, and simplifies the research and manufacturing processes.  FloEFD enables engineers to perform complex thermal simulation and fluid simulation in SolidWorks, Pro/E and CATIA V5 directly.  We believe that this is the way forward, that integration of CAD and CFD will bring the high-end, high-challenge CFD analysis to a more competitive level and simplify the design and manufacturing processes.

Erich Buergel Biography:
Mr. Erich Buergel joined Mentor Graphics in August 2009.  He has over 20 years experience in product development, product marketing, sales, and business development with global organizations.  He worked for 4 years at MSC Software, 12 years at SDRC/EDS and 5 years with various system integrators and professional training consultants.  Mr. Erich Buergel has a PhD in Fluid Dynamics from the Technical University of Clausthal in Germany.  In addition, he has an Executive BBA from GSBA in Switzerland.

For the original Chinese paper, please visit: http://articles.e-works.net.cn/plmoverview/article75077.htm

Editor: Sophie Shi  ss@e-works.net.cn

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