Industry Case Study: Medical Devices & Pharmaceuticals

Alpha Omega

Improving patient lives through advanced brain surgery technology.

Revising Alpha Omega’s flagship product was a major design and engineering challenge

Based in Israel, Alpha Omega is in the brain surgery business, developing products such as the Neuro Omega, an advanced micro-electrode recording (MER) system used in neurosurgery. The system provides electro-physiological recording and deep brain stimulation (DBS) capabilities to help surgical teams locate precise targets in the brain for implanting electrodes that carry small electrical impulses. The pulses help treat movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Alpha Omega’s systems are in use at more than 500 hospitals and research centers throughout the world.

Developing the new version of the Neuro Omega was the collaborative effort of an interdisciplinary team comprised of product experts and designers from Alpha Omega, designers from Alon Razgour Design Studio and mechanical engineers from GEOMATRIX smart engineering solutions. The entire project was led by Luai Asfour, development manager at Alpha Omega. The “common language” used by all three companies throughout the development process was Solid Edge® software – the most complete hybrid 2D/3D CAD system that uses synchronous technology for accelerated design, faster change, and improved imported re-use – from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software.

“We wanted to transform a somewhat dated design to a new system with new features; creating an advanced medical look, with excellent

“Initially, the focus was on achieving a useful, basic design, enabling doctors to easily use the technology in hospital operating rooms,” says Alon Razgour, president of Alon Razgour Design Studio. “The design had to accommodate the routing of the system’s many cable inputs and outputs, as well as ease of use for the doctors using it. Yet, during our research, something gave us the haunting feeling that there was something we were missing.”

Shipping the existing system caused a bottleneck

That “something” was that the existing product was somewhat unwieldy from a demonstration and marketing standpoint. Conducting product demonstrations was time-consuming because the system contained so many bulky components that all had to be shipped, which could take up to four days. The sales representative had to supervise the loading, receiving, pickup and transport of the system to the demonstration location for assembly, which took even more time. “It was clear that the time it took to transport the Neuro Omega system for demonstration purposes was obstructing the product’s success,” says Oren Gargir, Neuro Omega product manager.

Razgour points out, “This realization led us to redesign the product from its core, even before we made any design changes with regard to the product’s usability and functionality.”

The development team’s vision was to recreate the Neuro Omega as a system that can be used in the operating room (OR) on a designated cart, as well as taken onto a plane by a sales representative, thereby eliminating shipping of separate components and reducing the available time between demos. “Keeping in mind that our goal is to have the same product serve both as the demonstration machine and as the final product to be sold to the hospital, we stripped the system from its monitors, speakers and computers and extracted the product’s main core,” says Razgour. “We proceeded by placing all the internal electronics and connectors in the Solid Edge virtual space, crowding them together without a defined boundary. Then we experimented with positioning the components in search of the optimal configuration.”

A stand-alone unit design soon emerged; ready to be connected to generic computers, monitors and speakers for use, either during sales demonstrations or in the OR. The system is mounted onto a cart and includes all the components necessary for operational use.

Satisfying four different users
In designing the system’s fully assembled state, the main focus was the multiple probes connecting the patient to the machine, as well as the probes connecting the machine to other instruments that process information arriving from the Neuro Omega. The design addresses these needs with the machine’s diamond-like shape, giving it two front facets, both with screens and plug-in hubs. Each surface faces the area in the OR relevant to its role; one faces the patient’s bed and the other away from it.

The GEOMATRIX, Razgour and Alpha Omega team designed the Neuro Omega not only for Alpha Omega, but for use by four different types of users including the assembler of the machine, the person who demonstrates the machine to prospective customers, the physician in the OR, as well as the person who maintains it. “We achieved all of it, without having to compromise the design in any way,” says Razgour.

He feels that Solid Edge is ideal for industrial design. “Designers need to experiment or ‘play’ with things like composition, morphology, shaping, styling, lines and patterns,” Razgour says. “We need to explore various aesthetic options that convey different emotional experiences. The great advantage of using Solid Edge is in the possibilities you can try out, by changing and rearranging aspects of the design. You can make swift adjustments in surfaces and volumes, with an ease that resembles playing with modeling clay – giving you immediate feedback to assist in decisionmaking. This freedom makes Solid Edge especially designer-friendly.”

“Solid Edge gives you a lot of flexibility,” says Aviv Antebi, CEO of GEOMATRIX. “In the past, with other systems, the bottleneck was the software. Just to make a simple change required us to think about using the software instead of just making the change. Using Solid Edge, you don’t have to think about how to use the software to make a change; you just do it.”

Download The PDF Here

Download The PDF Here

Special engineering challenges

The Neuro Omega development team also had to make sure the system could comply with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing requirements. “Reducing the size of the electronic cards system and components required us to conduct thermal testing to ensure the unit won’t overheat,” says Gargir.

Antebi adds, “Working closely with the development team, our engineers mapped the system properties and specifications, which allowed us to analyze the technological challenges we faced in-depth.”

The next phase was the most critical: understanding the engineering needs and design requirements. “Without this step, we were like a marathon runner who does not know the race track,” says Antebi.

“This step drew upon our development engineers’ experience and analytical ability. We worked on each assemblage separately and built a number of concepts schematically, each of which had to correspond to the design while also remaining fully functional and usable.

“One of the things that made our job easier in working with Solid Edge was the ability to change parts quickly in the assembly environment, which enabled us to see the results of product changes easily without the need for complicated, time-consuming editing,” says Antebi.

“The design challenges required pushed us to stretch the Solid Edge sheet metal environment almost to the limit, in order to build unique forms. This was an extraordinary achievement.”

Designing the system’s inner functionality required innovative thinking as well, including managing large circuits, power supplies, complex wiring and radio frequency interference (RFI) shielding. Alpha Omega’s requirement for easy maintenance, including disassembly and assembly of two internal circuits, was another unique engineering challenge.

Antebi notes, “The customer’s requirements meant thinking ‘outside the box’ and, by brainstorming, led by development manager Luai Asfour, went above and beyond to solve every problem. Using various capabilities of Solid Edge software, especially synchronous technology, allowed us to work much faster than ever before.”

“Another significant issue that Solid Edge helped us with was the ability to plan and adjust the design for manufacturing,” says Razgour. “After we found a manufacturer who could handle the work, we had to make additional adjustments and changes. Here, too, the ability to use Solid Edge to make quick changes with no damage or impact on the hierarchy of parts and other features helped significantly shorten the development process.”

Entire project completed in just five months

Today, sales representatives can bring the Neuro Omega system with them on an airplane as checked luggage instead of having to ship it separately. The system is now 17X17X15 inches in size, and weighs a little over 25 kilograms (55 pounds). The entire system, including generic computers, monitors and speakers, are placed on a cart and then used in the OR. “What truly enabled us to succeed is the joint work of all members of the development team using Solid Edge,” says Razgour.

“At each crucial point, Solid Edge allowed us to make changes without compromising existing data and without impairing the hierarchy of the system’s parts and features. This not only protected, but actively supported, the transfer of the design into its realization phase and even significantly shortened the process.

“Alpha Omega built only one physical prototype and used Solid Edge to make quick changes to parts in the assembly. Solid Edge helped us easily see, without the need for tedious and time-consuming editing of the project’s history tree, how these changes would affect the final product.

”Our client’s standards were extremely high, as were our own. The solution needed to align with numerous requirements. Solid Edge with synchronous technology enabled us to work at a pace much faster than ever before, aiding us throughout the process in piecing together all elements and assisting us in adapting the planning and design to meet intricate manufacturing requirements. After we started getting ready for the production stage, Alpha Omega asked us to make a few adjustments. In the not-too-distant past, this would have meant the re-opening of the design, with all changes affecting the whole system and creating new problems to solve,” says Razgour.

Research is currently underway to explore the use of the Neuro Omega machine in handling other conditions that may benefit from DBS treatment, including obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.

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Bridging the timescale gap in CHT applications

It’s Sunday afternoon and I am pottering about in the kitchen cooking a Sunday roast. From the living room, I can hear my two children bickering about what they are going to play with. “Why don’t we play with Lego?” says the one. ”I want to play superheroes!” says the other. My husband is, unsuccessfully, trying to reason with them and get them to play together while at the same time sorting some paperwork. This is a typical weekend day for us. Everyone busy, on their own timescale, you could say, but trying to be together as a family. After all, isn’t that what the weekend is all about?

 

“Lunch is ready” I call from the kitchen, “time to set the table”. They both rush in, still continuing to talk over each other about the preferred game. We finally, sit around the table and the conversation turns more amiable. Now, we are talking about passing potatoes and veg and who wants which part of the chicken. Everyone agrees, the food is yummy!

 

In physics, as in life, not all processes are on the same timescale. In conjugate heat transfer (CHT) simulations that involve fluids and solids, they can actually be very different. Typically, fluids have fast transients and solids show slow temperature changes for longer periods. Accurate prediction of temperatures in solid components require long simulation times and it is essential for predicting thermal fatigue life. Such cases are turbine blades or engine blocks over the course of a typical use cycle. The challenge in these cases where we have large differences in time scale between fluids and solids is the large, almost prohibitive, computational cost.

 

The little Sunday routine of ours and its effect on our family life makes me think of this very issue and the new single simulation multi-timescale workflow for CHT introduced in Simcenter STAR-CCM+ v13.06. The new workflow introduces various features with the aim to eliminate the use of complicated macros. In Simcenter STAR-CCM+ v13.02 we introduced dedicated reports for fluid and solid and in Simcenter STAR-CCM+ v13.04 we improved the definition of Total Heat Flux to account for cases where radiation is turned on the fluid. And in this version, Simcenter STAR-CCM+ v13.06, we are introducing two additional very important features, an explicit mapped contact interface and solver specific stopping criteria.

 

The new explicit fluid-to-solid mapping links the different timescales by passing the right physical quantities, taking radiation and other thermal effects into consideration. In the case of transient flows, an efficient averaging mechanism can be employed on the thermal properties. It also enables coupling with the Finite Element solid energy solver also released in Simcenter STAR-CCM+ v13.06. This mainstreams multi-scale CHT simulations and eliminates user error. 

 

Related to this, the latest version also provides new solver-specific stopping criteria to aid simulations that run multiple solvers consecutively. Previous stopping criteria were shared by solvers, forcing users to write lengthy macros to change the values when switching solvers. Simcenter STAR-CCM+ v13.06 moves the ownership of stopping criteria from the user to the solvers and introduces fixed stopping criteria in a “delta” sense enabling automation and consecutive multiple solver iterations. This means that in a multi-timescale simulation the fixed number of iterations will run will run without manual interaction, every time the continua is activated.

 

The case used here to demonstrate the functionality is an exhaust manifold with the heat shield included. It’s a case of heating up the engine up to a certain temperature. Those simulations can take up a lot of time as the solid might take a few minutes to heat up while the fluid, if run transient, needs a time step of about 1e-4 to converge. In this case for simplicity we run the fluid as steady.

 

Use of solver specific stopping criteria takes advantage of the faster convergence of the fluid as simulation progresses, so fewer exchanges are needed. Several stopping criteria are used to trigger a rerun of the fluid. What's particularly nice with this set-up, is that the expensive fluid part of the simulation is initially using more iterations but as the simulation progresses the number of fluid iterations required to converge to the monitor-based stopping criteria is significantly reduced. It is obvious that the new solver-based stopping criteria provide the user with easy access to tools that enable speed up of expensive CHT simulations.

 

 

In the animation you can see the temperature changes with time. The vertical lines signify a fluid run. Exchange is happening through the explicit mapped contact interface when the solid temperature shows a certain delta of temperature. This way we make sure we don’t exchange when it is not needed, and the explicit mapped contact interface takes care of the averaging ensuring accurate passing of information either side.

 

Which brings me back to my family lunch on that beautiful Sunday afternoon. Makes me think of how a family lunch can bring us all together, just like the explicit mapped contact interface, and how we all need to have our very own control of our time. Lunch is now finished, and we are tidying-up. As we are finishing putting the plates away I can hear them laughing. “Let’s make superheroes with Lego” they say to each other and wander off happily.

 

 

dBirO56.jpg

 

The Multibody Dynamics of Bolts

Have you ever wondered about the physics of a roller coaster?

Or thought about how strong the bolts and joints have to be to withstand the impact of the racing cart. They better be strong if people are ridding them, otherwise, there will be life-threatening consequences. The same goes for the vehicles we drive. The bolted joints are exposed to dynamic structural loads and constant vibrations daily. One loose joint could not only be extremely costly but more importantly, could put someone's life in danger. That is why it is of the utmost importance to develop safe, reliable joint solutions. This is nothing to be concerned about because innovative technology is helping many companies determine the likely causes of joint failures and help secure them.

 

nord lock.png

 

We have established that joints are important. That is why Nord-Lock made it their goal to "provide maximum security for bolted joints." As mentioned above, innovative technology has made it so we reduce the reliance we have on physical testing. Nord Lock made this possible by adopting Simcenter 3D and NX Nastran to stay ahead of the game. Using Simcenter 3D motion software, Nord Lock is able to analyze stress states such as deformation, movement in joints, provide precision and reliability of NX Nastran solver and management of CAD. These simulations allow Nord-Lock to gain insight and validate internal business rules. For example, Simcenter is used to investigate failure situations. The weakness in joints generally have two main sources:

 

  1. Spontaneous loosening caused by vibrations and dynamic loading effects
  2. Slacking from preload loss as a result of settling and relaxation

Nord-Lock turned to digital technology as an alternative to physical testing which has helped them test both giant and small structures.

 

"We particularly appreciate the teams business expertise, their extensive knowledge of THE software and their availability." -Zouhair Chaib

 

Read the full case study here!

 

To learn more about what the experts at Nord-Lock Group have to say watch this video:

 

Simcenter Amesim 17: top 5 capabilities

We are proud to introduce Simcenter Amesim 17

 

Simcenter-Amesim-17-Boost_system-simulation-efficiency.pngThe latest release will help you increase system simulation efficiency through a seamless process integration, maximum modeling accuracy and easy access to digital twins.

 

Among many other enhancements, major development efforts have been put to help you address 5 key applications:

  • Electrification
  • Controls engineering
  • Vehicle systems and components performance engineering
  • Aircraft systems performance engineering
  • Interoperability

Discover Simcenter Amesim 17 in a nutshell:

 

 

Let us walk you through the main new capabilities. 

 

Electrification

 

  • Import of electric motor characteristics from Simcenter SPEED
  • Expansion of air conditioning system capabilities for battery cooling
  • Battery thermal run-away modeling and battery pre-sizing tool
  • Hybrid and electric vehicle model templates

In 10 years, hybrid and electric vehicles could represent about half of the automotive fleet. That’s why there have been major development efforts to support electrification. With the newest version, you can automatically import motor characteristics from the Simcenter SPEED electric motor design software and assess electric powertrain performance early in the development cycle. 

 

 

To safeguard proper battery operating conditions, you can link the battery cooling system with the air conditioning system. The new brazed plate heat exchanger component helps you easily check the capability of the cooling system to manage the battery and cabin thermal operation.

 

Further, for electric and hybrid vehicle design, Simcenter Amesim 17 comes with ready-to-use templates to assess consumption, range, cooling and drivability. These templates provide a good starting point for vehicle electrification projects by delivering parameter consistency and detailed internal combustion engine, transmission, electric drive, battery and cabin cooling subsystems models.

 

Controls engineering

 

  • Upgraded signal bus capability and statechart management
  • Cooling system functional components
  • Real-time compatible components in the fluid component design libraries
  • Tunable parameters for FMI 2.0 export

Controls engineering.pngIn the context of software-intensive products, Simcenter Amesim 17 offers new plant modeling capabilities to support controls design, validation and calibration. For instance, the signal bus feature has been reworked to optimize central processing unit (CPU) performance and the user experience. When modeling control units, you can now easily create, edit and manage supercomponents containing statecharts.

 

Additionally, the release comes with real-time compatible components for automotive cooling system design as well as for hydraulic, thermal-hydraulic and pneumatic component design.

 

 

Vehicle systems and components performance engineering

 

  • Exhaust calibration tool including optimization features
  • Engine manifold design study through full coupling with Simcenter STAR-CCM+
  • Kinematics and Compliance data generator
  • Cam profile definition from the valve lift
  • Hypoid gear component
  • Extended modeling capabilities for vane and gerotor pumps

For conventional and hybrid vehicles, a broad set of new capabilities in Simcenter Amesim 17 will help to tackle critical challenges, such as the real driving emissions (RDE) or Worldwide  harmonized Light vehicles Test Cycles (WLTC) standards. Among them, the exhaust calibration tool now enables accelerated test data import, batch processing and automated optimization of model calibration. 

 

 

Moreover, by coupling Simcenter Amesim with Simcenter STAR-CCM+, you can efficiently run an engine design study for operating points of interest. This allows you to assess intake line acoustics or the impact of manifold geometry on performance.

 

 

Aircraft systems performance engineering

 

  • Intuitive and detailed jet engine performance analysis
  • Fuel systems and flight dynamics coupling
  • Fuel tank mapping from CAD
  • Model templates for landing gear and flap systems

In support of the aerospace and defense industry, Simcenter Amesim 17 offers unique virtual integrated aircraft (VIA) capabilities to frontload system integration, electrify propulsion systems and streamline jet engine design. It enables rapid modeling of compressors and turbines with variable geometry as well as assessing mixture composition corrections and degradation performance.

 

Since fuel represents a large portion of the aircraft weight, it is critical to understand its impact on handling qualities. You can now quickly assess the aircraft mass balance and trajectory while accounting for its tight coupling with the fuel system.

 

 

Moreover, Simcenter Amesim now enables you to generate fuel tank maps from CAD geometry. Therefore, you can extract the fuel inertia tensor for coupling with flight dynamics, and tank wet areas for thermal management optimization.

 

Interoperability

 

  • Embedded Simcenter STAR-CCM+ technology for enhanced cabin air flow modeling
  • Ego vehicle modeling for ADAS/AD validation with Simcenter Prescan
  • Simcenter Amesim - Simcenter Flomaster co-simulation
  • Model-based system testing through interoperability with Simcenter Testlab Neo software
  • Direct access to Teamcenter workflows in Simcenter Amesim

 

To enable seamless process integration and maximize modeling accuracy, Simcenter Amesim 17 further extends synergies within the Simcenter portfolio.

 

For instance, a tight link with Simcenter STAR-CCM+ allows capturing internal 3D flows in the car cabin to rapidly optimize thermal comfort.

  Interoperability.png

 

   

For autonomous vehicle validation, the integration with Simcenter Prescan enables you to accurately capture the ego vehicle’s behavior in terms of ride, handling and fuel economy.

 

 

 

In addition, a direct connection between Simcenter Amesim and Teamcenter helps improve traceability: you can now easily manage different versions of Simcenter Amesim libraries within Teamcenter.

 

 

 

Stay tuned

 

Later this week we will introduce you to Simcenter Webapp Server, an easy-to-use and cost-effective web-based solution which will help deploy system simulation throughout your company.

Plus, don’t miss our blog post on new capabilities of Simcenter Embedded Software Designer 17.

 

Download Simcenter Amesim 17

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Discuss with your peers and our experts on the System Simulation Forum

Webinar: Get on top of your game with the newest TPA methods

When I first joined Siemens PLM Software, Dirk De Vis, Vice-President of Simcenter Engineering and Consulting services, explained me the different types of projects his engineering team executes. Before anything else, he put a glass of water on the table and slammed his fist on the table. Obviously, the water was disturbed, splashing over the edge of the glass. My first notion of the source-transfer-receiver approach…

 

As you understand from this example, a noise and vibration issue originates from a source, which is transferred via one (or more) transfer paths to a given receiver location. Transfer path analysis, or in short TPA, is a methodical approach to vibro-acoustic design. It enables you to quantify the various sources and their paths, figure out which are important, which contribute to the noise issues and which ones cancel each other out.

 

The source-transfer-receiver concept nor TPA approach are new. All over the world, automotive engineers apply it to investigate and understand a product’s noise, vibration & harshness (NVH) performance. Different TPA methods are available: test-based and/or simulation-based. The preferred methodology depends on the structure, single or multi-reference sources, and the stage of the development.

 

Although, traditional approaches to transfer path analysis such as: airborne loads estimation, acoustic source quantification, structure-borne loads estimation, multi-reference TPA and energetic power-based ASQ are still relevant and widely employed, new methods are being developed.

Main-visual-TPA-webinar.jpgLatest technologies to quantify the various sources and their contributions to noise and vibrations.At Simcenter, you’ll find engineers with unparalleled NVH experience. And they don’t sit still. New methodologies are being tried out and, if successful, integrated in the daily work and projects. If our customers agree? Absolutely!

 

Customers on top of their game!

Faster results, more accurate, better product refinement, and as a consequence faster troubleshooting at reduced cost, our customers are on top of their game. They apply TPA to benchmarking and target setting, vehicle development and pass-by noise engineering. Additionally, these new TPA methods empower suppliers to predict how their system will perform not just in one vehicle, but in a whole series of different variants. Component-based TPA using blocked forces is a prime example of how new TPA methodologies put the relationship between OEMs and suppliers in a completely new perspective.

 

On November 20, Automotive Solution Manager and NVH expert, Steven Dom, presents a live webinar: Better & faster vehicle NVH insights using the latest transfer path analysis methods. He will explain the range of methods from traditional mount stiffness and matrix inversion approaches over OPAX, strain-based TPA and time-domain TPA to model-based TPA and component-based TPA, illustrated with application examples.

STeven-Dom-quote-blocked-forces.jpg

 

Register here for the webinar and learn how to:

  • Obtain an overview of the different TPA methodologies and their applications
  • Improve road noise and comfort using strain sensors
  • Investigate transient effects applying time-domain and model-based TPA
  • Predict NVH behavior of source-components before integration using component-based TPA
     

Live webinar: Better & faster vehicle NVH insights using the latest transfer path analysis methods

https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/global/en/webinar/transfer-path-analysis-tpa/44276

Testimonials

“Using Solid Edge with synchronous technology I can actually do many more iterations now that I wasn’t able to do before. And because of that, the cost of the product comes down. The weight of the product comes down. The performance goes up. The warranty is a lot longer. Quality loves it. We love it. The profit margin loves it.”
John Winter , Mechanical Engineering Manager, Bird Technologies
“Siemens’ synchronous solver overcomes the order dependencies that have plagued history-based CAD programs by solving for the explicit and inferred constraints at the same time. The synchronous solver doesn’t use a history tree, but rather holds user-defined constraints in groups associated with the surfaces to which they apply…Ultimately, though, I believe this to be a transformative technology – one that represents an important inflection point in the CAD industry. If you hear someone say ‘that’s nothing new,’ don’t believe them. Synchronous technology is a big deal.”
Evan Yares, CAD Industry Analyst
“Synchronous technology breaks through the architectural barrier inherent in a history-based modeling system,” “Depending on model complexity and how far back in the history that edit occurs, users will see dramatic performance gains. A 100 times speed improvement could be a conservative estimate.”
Dr. Ken Versprille, PLM Research Director, CPDA
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