Computer aided engineering focus of Cluster’s first special interest group

Computer aided engineering focus of Cluster’s first special interest group

20 June 2017

Silverstone Technology Cluster has now formed its first Special Interest Group (SIG) focusing on computer aided engineering.

The SIG is one of potentially four that could be in place by the autumn – less than eight months since the launch of STC, the not-for-profit company set up to promote the region surrounding Silverstone as a global hub for high-tech activity and capability.

Twelve cutting edge companies have been involved with the first SIG, among them Brackley-based TotalSim which is a UK leader in computational fluid dynamics consulting.

TotalSim was among the first companies to become an STC member – the numbers now total more than 20 – and advises its board from a high growth perspective.

Its Managing Director Rob Lewis reflected: “I don’t ever recall there being a local SIG on computer aided engineering (CAE) – this is something new; a lot of feedback and thought has gone into it and it has real purpose.

“CAE itself is a fairly huge discipline with an almost infinite number of applications. It ranges from CAD (computer aided design), PLM (product lifecycle management), FEA (finite element analysis for structures) CFD (computational fluid dynamics), computational electro-magnetics, crash analysis and other forms of bespoke multi-physics simulations.”

And he added: “The SIG is not a place for glossy sales pitches – instead, with some very open dialogue we can look to address some of the issues and challenges local companies have with using CAE tools. Obviously the better we can use and exploit those tools the more competitive advantage we can all gain.

“Ultimately the SIG comes down to three crucial areas: networking with people in the same line of work; looking at sharing engineering challenges; discovery – in other words, through someone standing up and presenting X, Y and Z and making you realise you could have been doing something a lot more efficiently.”

Pim van Baarsen, the STC’s CEO, said the SIG is the first of four being planned this year. Three other SIGs will be announced in the autumn, starting with a general meeting of the key individuals operating in the technology area in order to agree the parameters of the group and identify the lead people and companies to take this forward for the STC.

He commented: “More SIGs are on the way. We are working with key representatives from the cluster and aim to launch them in the autumn of 2017.”

And he hinted that the CAE SIG’s name could yet receive a tweak.

“CAE is the interim title – we could evolve it to call it CAX, the ‘X’ in effect standing for ‘anything’ to include other areas such as software and modelling,” he continued.

“Coming up with the final title is a nice problem to have – it shows the level of enthusiasm from the high-tech companies involved.

“The calibre of people wanting to get involved has certainly generated a lot of ideas and debate.”

Images: courtesy of TotalSim