What Is CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering)

Outsourcing IT Support Services for CAE: Everything You Need to Know

The field of computer-aided engineering is closely associated with solving complex technical problems. However, as technology progresses, CAE solutions offer benefits to an increasingly broad range of industries. At the same time, the lack of understanding prevents many organizations from integrating it with their operations. Based on our skills and expertise as CAE and IT support services, our team has prepared a primer on key aspects of the concept along with some considerations to keep in mind when outsourcing the development and support of such systems.

CAE Definition

Computer-aided engineering, or CAE, is an umbrella term for the approach where the engineering is augmented via computer software. It is also often described using a related, albeit a somewhat narrower, the concept of CAD (computer-aided design). However, CAD is actually a subset of CAE, as the latter can be applied to a range of related problems:

  • Design
  • Manufacturing
  • Interaction dynamics
  • Material properties
  • Optimization

CAE is typically organized in three stages. The pre-processing stage is when the physical properties and the system representation of the model are conceived and the basic environmental factors are defined. Next, the model is solved based on the algorithms that represent physical processes in what is known as the solving stage. Finally, in the post-processing stage, the obtained results are reviewed by engineers to determine the viability of the design and make adjustments. The computational power of modern devices combined with advancements in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning allow for significant improvement of design quality and a highly reliable problem-solving mechanism.

CAE Applications

The ongoing digitalization in the engineering domain, as well as the integration of computer-aided tools with design and manufacturing processes, have greatly expanded the range of applications of CAE. Currently, it is successfully used in the following fields:

  • Multibody dynamics: Accurate simulation of physics applied to digital models of objects to calculate their interactions.
  • Acoustics: Utilizing finite element analysis (FEA) and boundary element method (BEM) to predict the acoustic properties of the model.
  • Mechatronics: Leveraging the analytical capacity of smart systems to predict the behavior and interconnectivity of systems working together.
  • Stress and dynamics analysis: Application of simulated physical models to test the environmental impact on the design.
  • Kinematics: The analysis of systems in motion with multibody dynamics (MBD).
  • Thermal and fluid analysis: Prediction of complex substance behaviors with the help of computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
  • Control systems analysis: Testing for specific scenarios with mechanical event simulation.
  • Optimization: Detection and elimination of issues in products and/or processes.

As can be seen, the potential of CAE is enormous and, with sufficient IT support, it can be successfully implemented in numerous industries, from consumer goods manufacturing and electronics to energy and aerospace.

CAE Advantages

As is the case with all digitally-augmented processes, CAE offers multiple benefits throughout the course of the product’s development:

  1. Reduced Costs: CAE-based models are cheaper to modify as the design flaws and shortcomings can be identified prior to manufacturing and with higher precision and reliability. On top of that, they take less time and human resources to create and manage.
  2. Accessibility: The outcome can be communicated to stakeholders in a suitable format and with relevant insights.
  3. Continuous improvement: The streamlined and timely testing process allows for a much tighter collaboration and opens more possibilities for improvement, resulting in a higher quality of the final product.
  4. Integration: The compatibility with other enterprise IT solutions creates the ability to coordinate the work between different departments and organizations.
  5. Safety: The analytical capacity of CAE software can extend the products’ life cycle while at the same time fostering the safety culture in the industry.

CAE Challenges

To be fair, CAE is not without its limitations. To get the most out of its deployment, one must keep them in mind to avoid unnecessary expenses.

  • Complexity: Despite major improvements, CAE software remains fairly complex and requires advanced knowledge to operate, which increases HRM expenses.
  • Lack of integration: While it may be used as a standalone solution, CAE works best when properly integrated with other systems in the organization.
  • Lack of support: CAE deployment is an important part of leveraging the potential of CAE, yet without support, its benefits will likely be short-lived.
  • Cost: CAE offers considerable savings in the long term, yet both its development and the readily available options on the market are quite costly, which may be a challenge for smaller businesses.

CAE and IT Outsourcing Services: Key Considerations

As can be seen, at least some of the challenges mentioned above can be solved by reaching out to IT outsourcing services, which usually offer high-quality development and support of their products at the fraction of the price charged by domestic companies. However, this route has its own set of challenges. If you decide to outsource the development of your IT solutions, here are some things to pay attention to:

  1. Talent Pool: Companies that specialize in IT outsource usually have access to a large talent pool. Before sealing the deal, check whether the team has relevant skills and experience.
  2. Flexibility: Outsourced work often implies a lower level of control, so decide whether this is critical to your goals and how much autonomy are you prepared to offer to the developers.
  3. Availability: A US-based company doing IT outsourcing to Singapore should be ready for a certain amount of delay in communication due to time zone differences. This might be acceptable for development but will be detrimental to the quality of support. Check whether the services you are after will be available at the right time.
  4. Language Barriers: IT support services that specialize in outsourcing are expected to be equipped for international communication. Still, be sure to check whether direct communication will not be an issue.

Wrapping Up

Computer-aided engineering is undergoing a transition from the niche domain towards the technology that is viable for application in many industries. However, despite all the advancements, CAE software remains a fairly sophisticated solution that is challenging to deploy and support. To make sure that the long-term benefits associated with it outweigh the costs of its implementation, one has to partner with the right development and IT support services. With years of experience in the field of CAE, a diverse skillset, and a track record of satisfied customers, FPT Software is ready to assist you on your path to success.