One of the most common reactions we get when we talk to prospective clients is that they don’t realize how many solutions Altair Engineering has. Now, Altair Engineering is known for a few great tools, but with their licensing model being the way that it is, users get access to all these additional tools at no extra cost, so we thought it might be worthwhile to give a high-level overview of the tools that Altair Engineering offers. It’s very common that users will start with a single Altair solution, then realize how many additional tools they get access to already that they can replace existing solutions with and save on their investments every year.
Before I jump into the actual products, I want to show you the Altair One Marketplace, and show you how to navigate it since it has a lot of great information on it as well. Once you login to Altair One and go to the marketplace, you can see it shows you all the solutions that are available within the Altair portfolio. I’m not planning on going into depth on each tool here specifically, but, if there is anything that you want to dive deeper into, I suggest either the TrueInsight website at trueinsight.io or the Marketplace. The easiest way I’ve found to navigate the marketplace is by either the suites, which you can see here based on the description of Concept engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Multiphysics and more. You can also navigate by the application type, which you can see the options here. So, if I click on Fluids and Thermal, it will narrow the selections down to just the tools that include fluids and thermal capabilities. You can also filter selections by the solution type or the operating system you are running too. Or you can just use the simple search function which you can search by product name or application.
Design Phase Solutions
The first section of tools is what I like to call the “Designer-Level” Tools. What I mean by that is these are ideal for a workflow that includes running simulation testing during the design phase. These are tools that are very capable tools but also come with an ease of use that’s typically not seen with tools this capable. Essentially, they maintain the ease of use of a CAD tool but give a lot of extra simulation capability.
Starting with Altair Inspire. Inspire is one of these tools that really is 15 tools in one, so the value you get from Inspire is awesome. On its core level you create geometry in a parametric, top-down process or a more industrial design push and pull environment, then run important analyses like Statics and Dynamics, Fatigue, Vibration and Thermal testing. Then it also includes industry leading technology for topology optimization from OptiStruct for lightweighting and analyzing parts. It has always included simulation tools to test for manufacturability for many different processes like Metal Casting, Sheet Metal Forming, Metal and Polymer Extrusion, Polyfoam Expansion, Injection Molding, and additive manufacturing.
Altair SimSolid is a product that has been gaining in popularity over the last few years and mainly because it allows users to bypass some of the time-consuming and error prone steps that are typically associated with simulation. SimSolid is a Meshless simulation tool, so users don’t have to worry about simplifying their geometry or creating a mesh, they can move right into setting up their study. Because it doesn’t create a mesh, it’s also widely used for large assemblies because you can get answers in seconds rather than minutes or hours. Its also NAFEMS accredits for accuracy. Users can run traditional tests like static, dynamic, transient, or steady state thermal, vibration, and nonlinear testing. You can also check out the cloud version that lives in a hundred percent hosted environment.
Altair SimLab is one of my favorite tools to talk about. It truly encompasses the definition of extending the ease of use of CAD while adding capabilities of high-end tools. SimLab users can run true multiphysics, coupled analyses with structural, fluid, and electromagnetic variables. On the structural side you can run linear, nonlinear, transient, or steady state thermal, static, and dynamic testing – then couple it with the built in CFD capabilities using the Altair Acusolve solver for heat transfer and fluid flow – then use the coupled electromagnetic tools for a complete picture. One incredibly powerful feature in SimLab is the ability to create automated workflows without coding expertise. The built-in automation tools allow users to speed up their processes dramatically!
The next set of solutions I want to talk about is what I call the “HyperWorks” Solutions. Basically, these are all the tools that are built into the HyperWorks interface. HyperWorks, of course, is well known for its robust capabilities for high-end simulation from preprocessing to solvers to postprocessing tools. For this, I want to talk about 5 of the more common tools but want you to know there are many more capabilities inside HyperWorks than these five.
Altair HyperMesh might be the most recognizable name in the entire portfolio. It is known as the leading preprocessing tool in the industry. We all know that meshing is one of, if not the most critical steps in the simulation process. If it’s not set up correctly, then it’s impossible to get accurate results on the back end. It’s all built into the HyperWorks interface so it’s intuitive. It is both CAD and solver agnostic, so can work easily into most workflows and gives you advanced controls over your 1D, 2D and 3D meshes with tools like Automesh, Mesh Morphing, Shrink Wrap, Batch Meshing and Geometry editing.
Altair OptiStruct is an incredibly powerful solver for implicit and explicit testing as well as topology optimization. Solvers for linear and nonlinear, vibrations, acoustics, fatigue, heat transfer and multiphysics analyses and is scalable on CPU and GPUs. The optimization technology inside OptiStruct is extremely powerful and includes the ability to run optimization for many applications like multi-material and multi-model.
Altair Radioss is a fantastic solver set for extreme conditions and highly nonlinear situations. Ideal for applications like Crash and Safety Events, Sudden Impact, Explosions and Ballistics. Radioss includes specialized rupture and material libraries for crack propagation in brittle materials like windshields. It also includes models specialized for BEV or Battery Electric Vehicle applications.
The Altair HyperWorks CFD solution is a powerful set of solvers that covers most applications in the industry. For general-purpose testing and thermal needs, it includes the Navier-Stokes solver, for free-surface, sloshing and mixing tests it includes the SPH or Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics solver and for advanced aerodynamics and aero-acoustics applications users can use the Lattice-Boltzmann solver. The CFD tools can also be coupled with Altair EDEM for a particle-fluid coupled simulation like fluidized beds.
Within Altair HyperWorks is the ability to work with advanced composite materials to ensure the highest accuracy in results. From material characterization to laminate design and simulation, HyperWorks provides powerful tools and workflows to ensure the accuracy and reliability of composite structures. Engineers can explore different material orientations, ply thicknesses, and stacking sequences to optimize composite structures for weight, strength, and performance.
Electromagnetic and Electronic Solutions
Now, I’m going to jump into the electrical world – and electromagnetic and electronic simulation solutions. The last 5 years we have seen a huge increase in the number of companies using tools for these applications, so its good to know that Altair has this set of solutions, and that they typically integrate with the other Altair tools much easier than do other tools on the market.
Altair Feko is a widely used simulation tool for users who need to understand high-frequency applications like electromagnetic compatibility, antenna design and placement (so 5G applications here too), Scattering analysis and radar cross sections. Feko also includes a wave propagation tool called WinProp which allows users to understand specialized applications for radio network planning across multiple environments.
Altair Flux and Flux Motor allows users to accurately analyze and optimize electromagnetic devices, such as motors, generators, transformers, and actuators. Its advanced simulation capabilities provide insights into electromagnetic fields, losses, thermal effects, and more. The Flux Motor module specializes in motor design scenarios for performance prediction, initial sizing and reducing energy consumption.
Next, I want to talk about a tool that’s been one of the most talked about solutions from Altair in recent memory, Altair PSIM, formerly called Powersim, which is an industry leading software for power electronics simulation and design. Engineers can accurately model and analyze complex power electronic systems, including converters, inverters, motor drives, and renewable energy systems. Using their design suites, users can design power supplies, EMI filters and motor drive systems efficiently. Link to other design and simulation tools for co-simulation like Simulink, LTSpice or the Altair suite of tools like Altair Embed and Compose.
Now let’s look at the PCB side of electrical simulation. Altair PollEx is a complete set of verification tools for PCB design and manufacturing. Users can check for EMI vulnerability and ESD protection, signal and power integrity, PCB design review and end of line testing for PCB manufacturing processes. PollEx includes a part library that enables collaboration regarding physical, logical, thermal, electrical, and assembly data with others involved in your project AND works with all major ECAD file formats including Altium, Cadence, Mentor Graphics and Zuken.
Data Analytics and Machine Learning
Now, onto another newer yet growing part of the Altair portfolio – Data Analytics and Machine Learning solutions. Good decisions made on bad data are still bad decisions. Today’s world is driven by data and that’s no different for Altair customers. Over the last few years Altair has acquired some incredible companies to help build their toolset to be able to bring a truly complete solution to their customers. A complete solution that is designed to help companies make the best product decisions possible. Within this world, most tools fall into a few different categories – Data Preparation, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics and Data Visualization and Reporting. One of the overall great features of the solution set is that these Altair tools are designed to work together, so no additional steps are needed.
The first tool in this solution I want to talk about is Altair Monarch. Monarch is a powerful data and extraction tool that acts as a translator for both structured data– think something along the lines of spreadsheets and databases and unstructured data – which are more like websites and PDF files. Users can not only transform multiple data formats into a common, but it can also clean up the data and remove unwanted or unusable data and check the integrity using built in data validation tools.
The next tool I want to dive into is Altair Knowledge Studio. Users can choose to use the data preprocessing tools inside Knowledge Studio or use an integration with Monarch. Knowledge Studio enables users to build predictive models using a wide range of algorithms, including regression, classification, clustering, and time series analysis. Users can then compare and evaluate different models to find the most accurate and applicable result.
Altair Panopticon allows users to create, modify and employ different data visualization schemes to make understanding your data that much easier. Create smart dashboards that can be synced for live, real-time reporting. Connect to any data source including SQL and NoSQL databases or other data repositories.
In 2022, Altair acquired one of the leading data analytics and machine learning companies on the market in RapidMiner. RapidMiner has a complete set of data science and predictive analytics tools that handles data through all three stages of data preparation, machine learning and visualization. While RapidMiner is a low-code environment, it builds on the capabilities of the existing Altair Data tools and extends the ability of deep learning and network building.
So, when all these tools are combined, it really does create the most capable data solution on the market. Again, with the way the Altair licensing model works, you buy Data Analyst units which grants you access to all these tools, and not just a single tool.
The goal of doing this overview of the 16 core products that our customers are finding the most value in, so you can explore. When you look at the Altair One Marketplace, you will see over 140 different software solutions, each one solves problems for our customers and if you have any questions about any of those, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at TrueInsight. These tools can vary from broader solutions for Architecture and Construction and Model-Based Systems tools, to more specialized solutions composite design tools. I encourage you to explore the marketplace, and my guess is you will find something that you would be able to take advantage of.