May 16, 2020

New tool brings Discrete Element Modelling to the fore

Richard LaRoche
Chief Executive Officer of EDEM
Discrete Element Method (DEM) technology
CAE software tools
Catherine Sturman
3 min
New tool brings Discrete Element Modelling to the fore
EDEM, the market leader in Discrete Element Method (DEM) technology, is changing the face of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) with a revolutionary new s...

EDEM, the market leader in Discrete Element Method (DEM) technology, is changing the face of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) with a revolutionary new software that will make bulk material simulation accessible to all engineers using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Multi-body Dynamics (MBD) software, in the design of heavy equipment.

The new products called ‘EDEM for’, integrate with leading CAE software tools from ANSYS, MSC Software and Siemens and do not require any DEM expertise to use. ‘EDEM for’ will provide design engineers with an easy to use, bulk material simulation system which links with their MBD and FEA software, extending the capability of the host software and providing engineers with unique insights into how materials interact with their equipment.

Traditionally, bulk material simulation has been the realm of a small pool of DEM experts due to its complexity – this has acted as a major barrier to uptake for many design engineers with only a small number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) currently using DEM capability. ‘EDEM for’ will make DEM accessible to a wider number of engineers, who can now benefit from new insights into material-machine interactions, without the need to learn a new technology.

Through ‘EDEM for’, design engineers working in the construction, off-highway, mining and heavy industry sectors, will no longer have to rely on hand calculations and assumptions to predict the effect of materials on their equipment. ‘EDEM for’ provides engineers with a unique library of thousands of material models, representing a wide range of real materials such as rocks, soils and ores. The database delivers accurate and realistic information on the forces and material loads acting on equipment. All the analysis is then carried out by the host software, in an environment familiar to the engineer. Having easy access to a bulk material simulation capability will help improve design accuracy, reduce expensive physical prototyping and ensure confidence that the design requirements will be met.

The launch of ‘EDEM for’ comes at a time when the CAE industry is rapidly moving towards software integration and multi-physics platforms, providing maximum functionality and capability for the user. The next challenge is to ensure complex simulation tools that sit within their host program are accessible and easy to use. ‘EDEM for’ is the first DEM tool to be offered as an add-on to FEA/MBD software to achieve this.

Richard LaRoche, Chief Executive Officer of EDEM, comments:

 “We have been working closely with our technology partners and our customers to develop co-simulation solutions between EDEM and their FEA and MBD tools. The drive to multi-physics platforms is a trend that is only going to continue, but the challenge remains ensuring that the software which integrates with the host platform is actually usable for engineers without the need for extensive training. With ‘EDEM for’ we are taking co-simulation to the next level by enabling engineers with no DEM knowledge to benefit from the key insights that this technology brings. Our ultimate goal is to fully democratize DEM so it is available to all engineers, not just the experts.”

EDEM’s market leading DEM software is widely used in North America, Europe and Asia across a range of applications within the mining, construction, heavy industry and agriculture sectors, from specialist mining machinery, excavators, back hoes and truck bodies to skid steer loaders, bull dozers, underground mining shuttle cars, drag line buckets, ploughing and seeding equipment and many other mechanical applications that work with bulk materials.

The first ‘EDEM for’ to be released in the next month, includes EDEM for ANSYS, EDEM for Adams and EDEM for LMS Virtual.Lab Motion, with plans to include solutions for other MBD and FEA software packages in the future.

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May 11, 2021

Will AR transform hospital construction?

construction
healthcare
AugmentedReality
Dominic Ellis
3 min
XYZ Reality and UCL have been awarded a UK government grant to extend XYZ Reality’s AR solution to new hospital construction projects
XYZ Reality and UCL have been awarded a UK government grant to extend XYZ Reality’s AR solution to new hospital construction projects...

The pandemic has focused minds on healthcare like never before with construction projects mushrooming globally.

The UK Government aims to build 48 new hospitals by 2030, committing £3.7 billion to projects so far, though a significant number are rebuilds. The full list is available here

Overall, the New Hospital Programme within the government’s long-term health infrastructure plan will help develop new sustainability standards, planning capabilities and care and workforce models. It will also implement "cutting-edge digital technologies" across the NHS, and will support an integrated approach to building new healthcare infrastructure using modern methods of construction. 

One of those technologies gathering momentum is Augmented Reality (AR), which projects virtual images into the user’s line of sight, and can be used on-site as a tool for creating the structure exactly as the design intended. 

According to a Research Dive report, the global AR in healthcare market is projected to generate revenue of $1,918.6 million by 2026, at a CAGR of 25.5% in the forecast period from 2019-2026.

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London-based construction technology start-up XYZ Reality and UCL, were recently awarded a government grant, via UKRI and the Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), to develop XYZ Reality’s AR solution. 

Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality developed Engineering-Grade AR to tackle some of the most pervasive and costly issues facing the construction industry. Its technology enables users to view hyperscale BIM models on-site in real-time and to millimetre accuracy, making it particularly beneficial for projects with complex MEP services, such as hospitals or data centres. 

Dr Grant Mills, Faculty Lead for Health and Associate Professor, said hospitals are complex construction environments because of the sheer range of MEP services involved. "This often leads to clashes and errors in the build phase, and the need for expensive and time-consuming re-work," he said.

Prof Duncan Wilson, Professor of Connected Environments in UCL Bartlett CASA, said the grant offers an important opportunity to understand how AR can help different users interact digitally with the environment in novel ways, and by doing so improve productivity, and deliver time and cost savings.

XYZ Reality’s founder and CEO David Mitchell said its Engineering-Grade AR technology is already being deployed on construction projects with the same levels of complexity as hospital builds, and is generating significant time and cost savings.

"I’m passionate about supporting the NHS, so I’m glad that this research will enable us to fully understand the benefits that our technology can offer these specific projects, and help those constructing UK hospitals to build it right, first time," he said. 

New technologies were key to delivering projects in double-quick time as the pandemic swept the world.

The North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre opened in late February following five months of construction. Using BIM, it produced 3D renditions of architectural projects, and shared layouts and other information with factories in mainland China, reducing on-site construction waste.

According to estimates by Goldman Sachs, AR and VR are expected to grow into a $95 billion market by 2025. 

But in terms of AR and new tech's benefits to healthcare, it's still early days. The King's Fund study published in April found "very little evidence of their impact on the health system to date, or benefits such as cost-effectiveness," though AR is being used for surgical planning and training.

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