Embedded Electro-mechanical/ Electro-magnetic (EM) simulation inside Autodesk Inventor

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by Arvind Krishnan, Director of Product Management, EMWorks

What is EM simulation?

Electro-magnetic or EM simulation is the use of computational techniques to determine the electric and magnetic fields in an electric machine or device. EM simulation can give valuable insight to an engineer about his designs. She can obtain engineering parameters like inductance, flux linkage, impedance, Back EMF, Induced voltage, Capacitance, Forces and Torques etc. So engineers who design electrical devices like motors, generators, linear transducers, inductors, actuators, transformers, voice coils, sensors, resistors, insulators, induction heaters etc can benefit largely from EM simulation. Without EM simulation, one would have to resort to costly prototype testing to validate their designs leaving little or no room to optimize and improve the products.

Benefits of EM simulation

EM simulation fits very well into the design process. Companies who use EM simulation are able to create high quality optimized products which make them hypercompetitive in todays market. The rise in popularity of simulation tools have ensured that companies all around the world from industrialized nations of the west to the developing nations of the east have a level playing field. What is more important is that the seamless integration of EM simulation into the product development process have accelerated this trend. Now an engineer can quickly put his concepts and inventions to life my modeling them in 3D CAD packages like Autodesk Inventor. CAD embedded EM simulation packages like EMS for Autodesk Inventor enables them to validate, improve and optimize their design quickly without ever entering a testing laboratory or engaging in a prototype. Further more, EM simulation can be coupled to mechanical and thermal simulations to accurately predict the thermal and mechanical performance of electrical devices. Once the design is accepted, 3D printers bring life to these digital products which can then be tested before they are sent for mass manufacturing. This 3D digital engineering product development process has revolutionized the electrical machines and devices industry. Figure 1 shows a typical product development workflow using Autodesk Inventor and EMS for Inventor.

the-product-development-workflow-inside-autodesk-inventor

Figure 1 – The product development workflow inside Autodesk Inventor

Benefits of integration inside Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk Inventor is a very popular 3D CAD platform for engineers in the field of electrical machines and devices. EMS for Autodesk Inventor enables engineers to incorporate EM simulation into their product development process. Integration inside Autodesk Inventor brings in the following advantages –

  1. Direct use of 3D CAD model for simulation. No need to export CAD geometry for simulation purpose thereby maintaining the integrity of the design.
  2. Enable simulation based product development where simulation feeds into the 3D design allowing engineers to make drastic changes to their initial design concept. All of these are possible without ever leaving Autodesk Inventor platform.
  3. The learning curve for engineers to learn and use simulation is shortened because they don’t have to learn a new program and a new interface. They can work inside their familiar Autodesk Inventor interface to perform their EM simulations.

Application areas

EM simulation has many applications areas ranging from small electrical machines to large transformers. These devices can use DC, AC or other kinds of excitation. The applications of electromagnetics are so vast that it will be a great injustice to categorize them as I have attempted here for the sake of brevity. I admit that there are many devices and applications that overlap these categories.

  1. Rotary and linear actuators, Motors and Generators
  2. Transformers, Inductors
  3. Insulators, high power switches, bus bar networks, Induction heaters
  4. Sensors, motion controllers and measurement devices
  5. Permanent magnet based devices, magnet arrays, magnetic levitation

EMS for Inventor can calculate the magnetic field inside a motor and also the cogging torque

Figure 2 – EMS for Inventor can calculate the magnetic field inside a motor and also the cogging torque

EMS for Inventor can help visualize the losses in the core of a transformer

Figure 3 – EMS for Inventor can help visualize the losses in the core of a transformer

Conclusion

EMS for Autodesk Inventor is a 3D field simulation software that is embedded inside Autodesk Inventor. It can perform both electric and magnetic simulation with AC, DC and transient excitations. EMS has powerful Multiphysics capability to do coupled EM, mechanical and thermal simulation. EMS customers use the product to design solenoids, motors, transformers, magnet arrays, high voltage insulators, electric generators, speed sensors, induction heaters, bio-medical actuators and magnetizers. Autodesk Inventor customers can download a full trial version of EMS in the Autodesk App store. For more information on EMS, visit www.emworks.com.

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