Designing a composite part involves managing and organizing large amounts of data. The geometric and non-geometric data needed to design a composite part could consist of 100s of plies, layers, flat patterns, orientations, materials, names, sequences and much more. Therefore, software that is used to design a composite part needs to help organize and present all of this data in a clear and easy manner. Fibersim, Siemens’ industry leading composite design software, has a user interface that is tailored for such tasks. The follow images and descriptions will show several different methods that a Fibersim user can customize and organize their data and the actual interface to help design a composite part.
The first time Fibersim is started, a default interface will be presented to the user (Figure 1). The general layout is the application and document tree on left, toolbar on top, messages field on the bottom and the work area where the created data is listed on the right.
Figure 1 - Default UI
However, as you will see in the following slides, this interface can be customized to suit an individual’s needs. Any customization that is performed is saved upon closing the Fibersim’s session and the next time Fibersim is started, the interface will reflect the last configuration. Therefore, there is no need to configure the interface every session. The configuration is saved locally on each computer so each user at a company can have their own setup. If a user ever want to go back to the default layout as shown in Figure 1, they can choose to clear out any customization through the options panel. As shown in Figure 2, pressing “Restore default user settings” will revert the interface back the “out of the box” interface the next time Fibersim is started (in a new CAD session).
Figure 2- Options for always on top and restore default UI
Now that the saving and restoring of the interface is understood, customization can be done to help organize the composite data in a better manner. One option is to turn off certain parts of the interface to streamline the window. This can be done via the “View” dropdown (Figure 3) and selecting which areas of the interface you want to turn off. For example, if you are always working with single CAD parts (as opposed to assemblies) than seeing the Documents panel may not be beneficial so it could be turned off.
Figure 3- Toggle Documents, Application Tree, Messages and Toolbar
The lists of objects created through Fibersim on the right side is often used as an overview of the design and allows a user to see what has been created. Each designer may want to see specific attributes of each list. For example, in Figure 4 you will see a list of plies created in the model. Perhaps it is desired to see how each ply will be simulated yet there is no need to see the sequence of the plies. The columns that are used to list the attributes can be turned on an off by right-clicking on a column title and selecting/deselecting the desired title. For the example mentioned above, you would deselect the “Sequence” attribute and select the specific simulation option to show under “Simulation Options.” This will present a list of plies with desired attributes shown. Also, each column can be dragged around the title bar (left to right) so that they can be seen easily.
Figure 4- Add and Remove Columns
In addition to changing which attributes are shown in the list via the column titles, the data can also be filtered, sorted and grouped together using a few different methods. First, the “Find” field (Figure 5) will filter the current objects that are shown to only objects that have the string entered within its attributes. In order to revert back to the complete list, you must right-click in the white space and choose the “Show Available” option.
Figure 5- Using Find to Filter Data
The “Sort” and “Group” options (Figures 6 and 7) can also be used to view the data in different ways. A custom sort or group can be defined to order or group the data using up to 3 different attributes. For example, a custom sort called “My Sort 1” could be created to sort the data via Name, Step and then Orientation. The custom sort or groups are saved in the interface to be reused later.
Figure 6- Using Custom Sort to Organize Data
Figure 7- Using Custom Group to Organize Data
Finally, another way to organize the data is to only show the data that belongs on specific Laminates. The “Active Laminate” filter will present a list of Laminates in the model and when one of them is selected, only the data that belongs on those laminates will be displayed. This can allow a user to focus their efforts on specific parts of the design.
Figure 8- Active Laminate to Filter Data