SIMERA Technology Group

Unified design and simulation environment helps SIMERA optimize performance

Expert engineers, advanced tools
SIMERA Technology Group (SIMERA) is a mechanical engineering development company built around core capabilities of advanced structural design and simulation services. Founded in 2010, the company has 18 permanent employees representing more than 130 years of engineering experience.
SIMERA’s clients include customers in government, research, industrial equipment, and consumer product industry sectors. To excel in these domains, SIMERA employs highly-skilled, experienced and passionate engineers. Equally important, SIMERA uses advanced, best-in-class engineering and product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions to maintain a competitive edge.
PLM solutions from Siemens PLM Software help SIMERA’s engineers work with precision, efficiency and creativity. From design through to simulation and PLM, the cross-functional, comprehensive capability of Siemens PLM Software tools make this possible. SIMERA appreciates the collaboration and rapid design iteration capabilities of the solutions, which aid the creative thinking of development teams.

Pushing simulation to the limits
SIMERA engineers apply the unified NX and Simcenter design and simulation solution to optimize the performance of precision spaceborne imaging systems. Satellite imagers have demanding requirements for controlling optical surface deformations that could compromise image quality. Typically, a 10 micron rigid body
movement of an optical surface can lead to an image plane movement of 100 microns or more, and focus retention must be kept within 20 microns or less. Likewise – but far more stringent – deformations of optical surfaces themselves must be kept in check to a tenth or more of the wavelength being reflected or refracted, which for visible spectrum imagers starts at 450 nanometers. To put this in perspective, a typical human hair thickness is about 200 times this value. Clearly, error contributors should be fully understood and analyzed to ensure successful operation. Furthermore, for flight systems, structural components are usually made from carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) materials, whose behavior under fluctuating thermal and moisture loss conditions are not always apparent due to non-symmetric laminates and their geometries.

SIMERA’s challenge is to optimize component stiffness, thermal expansion, and moisture expansion, taking into account the harsh vibration of the launch, the vacuum
and the constant thermal cycling of the space environment. Simulating the component’s behavior requires a multitude of scenarios involving multiple thermal and moisture-loss load cases, as well as multiple options for the fiber directions in the composite material layups.

The integrated design and simulation tools
of NX and Simcenter 3D help accelerate the extensive investigation. “Having an integrated CAD-to-simulation environment greatly enhances the efficiency of design iterations,” says Hennie Roodt, lead engineer at SIMERA. The system’s ease of use was also beneficial to the engineers. “The Simcenter 3D graphical user interface is intuitive and follows practical simulation execution logic,” says Marius Cronje, lead engineer.

After many design and simulation cycles, SIMERA engineers were able to optimize the design, improving the rigidity of the components while minimizing the expansions due to temperature cycles and moisture losses. SIMERA estimates that the all-inclusive tools of Simcenter make the process three- to five-times more efficient.

In practice, this means that many more design options and scenarios can be investigated to ensure optimal solutions.

“Having the capability to quickly and accurately investigate precise structural behavior, exposed to a multitude of operational environments, greatly reduces our product development risks,” adds Du Toit