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Body by Equation Feature

Siemens Phenom Siemens Phenom
Siemens Phenom

NX12 delivers the new "Body by Equation" modeling feature, expanding our scope of integration with both Maple (from Maplesoft) and Symbolica (the new SPLM product based on Maple).  The new feature enables users to:


  • Design a set of equations in Symbolica or Maple to define a surface or solid volume
  • Plot the surface or solid in 3D inside Symbolica or Maple
  • Associatively transfer the 3D plot from Symbolica or Maple to NX as a Convergent Body
  • Associatively update the mathematically-driven surface or solid when the math changes

Fundamentally, the integration enables a surface or solid in NX to be driven by equations in either Maple or Symbolica. This connection and the transfer of the 3D geometry is automated and packaged as an NX modeling feature, so the calculation happens quickly and quietly during model update.


The math worksheet can be referenced either from the operating system or from Teamcenter. And for those times when you need a design to be portable – for exchange with a supplier or OEM, for example – we’ve added the ability to embed the math worksheet directly inside the NX Part File, keeping the calculation handy and available for use during update without needing to manage the worksheet separately.


Why would you want to use these new capabilities?


While NX has had a “Law Curve” capability for decades, allowing a curve to be defined using parametric equations, this ability to directly create surface and solid geometry from equations is new to NX. Any kind of mathematically-driven shape can be represented here – think of shapes like airfoils, or reflectors, or aspheric lenses, or microwave waveguides, or light pipes, for instance – and created as high-precision 3D faceted geometry in NX. And then with our Convergent Modeling tools, these shapes can be smoothly incorporated into subsequent modeling, using the mathematical surfaces to trim solids, for instance, or by adding attachment or mounting geometry as needed.


Here’s a simple example, showing an aspheric lens driven by an equation that includes some very tiny constants… Symbolica handles the math beautifully, and the resulting surface in NX is good enough for some fun ray tracing. :-)


(view in My Videos)


And for the interested student, here’s a bit of background information on the relationship between Siemens and Maplesoft, and why we think this relationship is important...


Historically, engineering math calculations were performed by hand on paper, often documented in standard engineering notebooks.  Over the years, some of these calculations were moved into spreadsheet tools like Excel, though spreadsheets normally do not provide support for higher-level math like calculus or differential equations, for instance.  Twenty or more years ago, a number of powerful math software packages began to be developed to address the high-powered math needs of not just engineering users, but financial analysts, statisticians, biologists, and others.  Maple (from Maplesoft) is one of the original players in this space, alongside other products like MathCAD (now from PTC), MATLAB (from Mathworks) and Mathematica (from Wolfram). 


Since NX 7.5, Siemens has partnered with Maplesoft, Inc. to provide an integration to the "Maple" math software. Maple is a powerful math calculation tool that enables users to analyze, explore, visualize, and solve complex engineering math and computation problems.  Maple also enables technical knowledge capture via an intuitive document-based interface. 


Via an expanded partnership with Maplesoft, SPLM has created the first high-end math package integrated with PLM.  Symbolica retains all of the math capability and computational power of Maple, while adding significant enhancements for use within a production PLM environment - specifically, an expression-based integration with NX, and the ability to run in "managed mode", interacting directly with Teamcenter for document storage and retrieval.


Symbolica can be used as a completely standalone product, independent of any other SPLM products, or can be used with NX and/or Teamcenter.


If you have any questions about either Symbolica or the new Body by Equation feature, don’t hesitate to contact me (Taylor Anderson). It’s fun to see such a powerful new tool enter the picture here. We’re excited to see how YOU will use it!

Taylor Anderson
NX Product Manager, Knowledge Reuse and NX Design
Tel: +1 (602) 441-0683