FloEFD

Tag: Integration

This integration type block allows to apply optimization and other data mining techniques to FloEFD projects.

Introduction

The FloEFD block integrates FloEFD flow analysis into a workflow and maps model and analysis properties to block’s input and output ports. When this block runs, it receives values to input ports, changes model dimensions and analysis parameters (initial conditions, boundary conditions, heat sources), rebuilds the model, runs analysis projects in FloEFD, reads projects results (goals, images) and model mass properties, and sends resulting values to output ports.

When the FloEFD block executes, it actually launches FloEFD, so the block can run only on a host where FloEFD is installed. Nevertheless, you can configure the block without FloEFD: set document path, add inputs and outputs, change option values.

The FloEFD application starts in the following cases:

  • when you get information from the document (build the document tree),
  • when you open the selected document from the block configuration dialog, and
  • when actually running analysis, at the workflow run-time.

Note that FloEFD application window is always shown when it is started by the block.

If FloEFD is already launched, the block connects to the running application. If a document with the same name is already open in FloEFD, the block uses this document. This way you can work with the same model in FloEFD and pSeven simultaneously.

Compatibility

The block supports FloEFD Standalone (SolidWorks-embedded), FloEFD for PTC Creo and FloEFD for NX. Versions for other CAD applications are not supported. The block was tested with FloEFD Standalone 14, FloEFD Standalone 15, FloEFD Standalone 16, FloEFD 16 (PTC Creo 3.0 M080), FloEFD 16 (NX 10.0) and FloEFD 16 (NX 11.0); other releases are also compatible, but were not actively tested.

Document File

The block supports:

  • SolidWorks parts (.sldprt) and assemblies (.sldasm),
  • Creo parts (.prt) and assemblies (.asm),
  • NX parts (.prt) and zip archives (.zip).

To select a document file, click b_browse on the top pane in the block’s configuration dialog.

../_images/page_blocks_FloEFD_document_file.png

The path to the selected document is also stored in the FloEFD document file option and thus can be set on the Options tab.

Note

FloEFD always saves changes to the document before running a solver, so the FloEFD block also does this when it starts. If you want to keep your document unchanged, you can create a copy of it manually before running the workflow.

Document Tree

After a FloEFD document is selected, you can click b_build_tree on the Document tree pane to get the list of model and analysis properties.

../_images/page_blocks_FloEFD_document_tree.png

In the tree you can select nodes to map them to input and output ports. When you select a node, a new corresponding variable appears in the Variables list. The Ports column in this list shows which ports (input, output, or both) are created for the corresponding tree node.

Structure

The FloEFD block can work with analysis properties in FloEFD projects: initial conditions, boundary conditions and heat sources’ parameters, goal values and histories, as well as images generated during batch results processing. Analysis properties are available for all projects in all configurations. If you use FloEFD Standalone or FloEFD for PTC Creo, the block also delivers access to geometry properties in SolidWorks and Creo models. Model properties tree structure is similar to the document trees in SolidWorks and Creo blocks. The analysis tree structure is as follows:

  • flow analysis
    • configuration name
      • project name
        • input data
          • initial conditions
            • list of parameters...
          • boundary conditions
            • boundary condition name
              • list of parameters...
            • ... more boundary conditions
          • heat sources
            • heat source name
              • list of parameters...
            • ... more heat sources
        • goals
          • @physical time
          • goal name
            • value
            • history
          • ... more goals
        • batch results processing
          • list of images...
      • ... more projects
    • ... more configurations

Note that only constant input parameters are supported. For image names to be included in the document tree, image files must be located in the project directory. Images must be saved in the PNG format.

Node Properties

This section describes only the flow analysis subtree. For the model subtree, refer to the SolidWorks and Creo blocks documentation.

Hovering a document tree node shows a tooltip with node’s properties: type, value and read-only state.

Type

Goal histories and @physical time have RealVector type, images have File type, the other nodes are RealScalar. When you select a node in the project tree, it is mapped to a port of this type.

Value

Shows input parameter values and goal values if project results are available. Note that the values shown here, as well as the values that FloEFD reads from and sends to ports, are always in SI units.

Read-only

If you select a read-only node in the document tree, it is always mapped to an output port. Writeable nodes are mapped to input ports by default. All nodes in the input data subtree are writeable, and other nodes are read-only.

Options

Error handling behavior

The action to perform if the block encounters an error.

Value:stop workflow, output defaults and signal, output signal only
Default:stop workflow

When set to stop workflow, the block simply reports an error and the workflow interrupts.

If set to output defaults and signal, the block suppresses the error. Output ports in this case send values assigned to them (the defaults), and the done port outputs a False value (the signal). Note that the block automatically assigns values to output ports that are created when you select document tree nodes. The values are:

The output signal only behavior means to output only the False value to done; nothing is output to other ports.

FloEFD document file

Path to the FloEFD document file. A document file is a SolidWorks, Creo or NX model containing FloEFD project.

Value:path string
Default:empty

Stores the path to the selected document file. Can also be used to set this path instead of selecting a document file on the Configuration tab.

FloEFD wait timeout

The time in seconds to wait for the FloEFD application to become available in case it is currently used by another FloEFD block.

Value:positive integer
Default:300

Several FloEFD blocks in a workflow can start simultaneously — this is typically the case when there is a parallel Composite block containing FloEFD blocks. In this case, only one of the FloEFD blocks can connect to the FloEFD application at a time (this is a FloEFD limitation). Other blocks have to wait until FloEFD becomes available, and will do so until the timeout is exceeded.

Exceeding the timeout raises an error which always stops the workflow. That is, the timeout error is never suppressed regardless of the Error handling behavior setting. The workflow is not terminated immediately: all blocks that are currently running continue their execution, and the workflow stops after they finish (soft stop). Note that setting the timeout to 0 will always trigger workflow stop if an FloEFD block with zero timeout starts while there is another FloEFD block running. The running block will be allowed to finish execution in this case, and the workflow will be stopped by the timeout error from the second block.

FloEFD.Product

The FloEFD product to use.

Value:Auto, FloEFD Standalone, FloEFD for PTC Creo, FloEFD for NX
Default:Auto

This option allows to choose the product to use if several FloEFD products are installed. If set to Auto, the block finds all installed products and chooses appropriate product to open selected document file.

New in version 6.11.

FloEFD.Version

The FloEFD version to use.

Value:latest or a string containing a version number (for example, "14")
Default:latest

This option allows to choose the version to use if several versions of FloEFD are installed.

Max steps

The maximum number of times that the block can use the same FloEFD application instance.

Value:positive integer
Default:50

Normally, the FloEFD application started by the block is not closed after the block finishes (that is, until the workflow stops). Subsequent startups of the block use the same application instance to save time. However, each next model rebuild and analysis run in FloEFD can take more time; due to this it can be useful to restart the application sometimes. This option sets the number of block startups that are allowed to use the same running FloEFD instance. When the limit is reached, FloEFD is restarted.

This option works only when FloEFD is started by the block. If the block connects to an instance of FloEFD that you have started manually, this instance is never restarted.

NX.Model name

The name of the model to use if the document file is zip archive.

Value:string, file name with extension (for example, "assembly.prt")
Default:empty string

If you want to update geometry in NX model, you should use NX block. NX block saves updated model in .zip format, if the model is assembly. When you use zip archive as a document file in FloEFD block, you must specify this option for the block to know which model from the archive to open.

New in version 6.11.

Path to CAD application

Path to Creo or NX executable to run with FloEFD.

Value:path string
Default:empty

This option allows to choose Creo or NX version to use if several versions of CAD application are installed. The value of the option depends on FloEFD product in use:

  • FloEFD Standalone: the option is ignored,
  • FloEFD for PTC Creo: absolute path to parametric.exe,
  • FloEFD for NX: absolute path to upgraf.exe.

If not set, FloEFD uses default application (depends on FloEFD settings).

New in version 6.11.

SolidWorks.Consider as failure

When to consider model rebuild as failed.

Value:errors, errors and warnings
Default:errors and warnings

After rebuilding a part or an assembly, the block checks SolidWorks’ What’s Wrong. By default, any error or warning in What’s Wrong is considered as a failure to rebuild. You can skip warnings by changing this option to errors.

The Error handling behavior option controls further behavior in case of failure.

Solver.CPUs

Number of processors or processor cores to use for calculation.

Value:use all or a string containing number (for example, "8")
Default:use all

New in version 6.11.

Solver.Host

Name or IP address of the network computer on which calculations are run.

Value:string
Default:empty string

If not set, the solver runs on the current computer.

New in version 6.11.

Solver.Port

Port number of the network computer.

Value:integer in range \([1024, 65535]\)
Default:30951

New in version 6.11.

Solver.Run

Whether to run FloEFD solver.

Value:Boolean
Default:True (run solver)

If False, the block does not run analysis projects, but performs all other actions: reads inputs, rebuilds the model and the projects, reads results and writes outputs. Use this option if you want to run FloEFD solver separately (for example, by means of Program block).

New in version 6.11.

Known Issues

  • Using multiple FloEFD versions when editing the workflow crashes pSeven due to a bug in the FloEFD API. Changing FloEFD version used to build a document tree requires a restart of pSeven.