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New Features of AutoFEM Analysis 2.9

Supporting AutoCAD 2017 and ShipConstructor 2017

Version 2.9, AutoFEM Analysis is compatible with ten different versions of AutoCAD, namely: AutoCAD 2007-2010 and 2012-2017 which all work in the Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 environment. Also they work with ShipConstructor 2015R2-2017R2 (excluding AutoCAD2015).

Improved detection and exclusion of unfixed and non-contact parts

Detection of unfixed and non-contacting parts of simulated structures is significantly improved in the version 2.9. Now the system detects correctly non-contacting parts even if they belong to a multi-volume body. In version 2.8, such bodies were considered as being in contact if at least one fragment of the multi-volume body was in contact with other parts of the structure. Therefore, the user is now able to effectively exclude from the calculation the "dangling" fragments of multi-volume bodies and perform the stress state calculation of the structure in spite of the presence of "flying" parts in the study.

The command "Measure"

A set of special tools for selecting model entities has been added in the dialogue of the command "Measure". Now the user is able, for example, to select just one or several desirable boundary conditions to obtain the integrated value of Reaction Force or Heat Power. These options considerably facilitate the use of the command "Measure".

Additional selection tools have been added in the dialogue of the Reaction Force measure command
Additional selection tools have been added in the dialogue of the Reaction Force measure command

Additional selection tools have been added in the dialogue of the Thermal Power measure command
Additional selection tools have been added in the dialogue of the Thermal Power measure command

Prefix name of Study Type for Study names

To improve the user perception of study types, the principle of automatic study naming is changed. Now, immediately after the graphical icon of the study type, the full text name of the created study type is displayed that makes the study name more visual and informative.

Names of studies now include the name of study type
Names of studies now include the name of study type


Full text help in the Italian language


AutoFEM version 2.9 includes full text help in the Italian language.

Extended verification tests in the Italian language


Extended verification tests with detailed descriptions in the Italian language are now available.

New features of AutoFEM Analysis 2.8

Support of AutoCAD 2016 and ShipConstructor 2016

Version 2.8, AutoFEM Analysis is compatible with the nine different versions of AutoCAD, namely: AutoCAD 2007-2010 and 2012-2016 which all work in the Windows XP/Vista/7/8 environment

Support of AutoCAD 2016 and ShipConstructor 2016

AutoFEM Analysis Installer is improved

An installation of compulsory program components (Microsoft Visual Studio redistributable packages) was added to the AutoFEM Analysis Installer, which was necessary to make the system work. The installer determines which version of AutoCAD and offers to the user the installation packages necessary to work with the given version of AutoCAD.

The dialogue of installation of the necessary Microsoft components
The dialogue of installation of the necessary Microsoft components

Dialogue of program launch

The application launcher was improved. In particular, on default, the mode of AutoFEM launch as "autoload" is installed now (i.e. the download of AutoFEM into AutoCAD together with the each AutoCAD launch)

Dialogue of program launch


In addition, all actions to set up the licence and manage the work with licences, such as "Activation/deactivation" of the licence, are available now from the start dialogue after pressing the button "Configure licence" (previously, they were only accessible from the Windows menu).

Dialogue of managing the licence type (server-side or local one) and of activation/deactivation of the licence
Dialogue of managing the licence type (server-side or local one) and of activation/deactivation of the licence

New functionalities of the Preprocessor

Using Progress bars when fulfilling operations of data processing

Most operations which take long time to be fulfilled in the case of large models (for instance, acquiring the model from AutoCAD in the process of creating the set of bodies for FEA) now use Progress bars which visualize the current stage of the program work and allow one to estimate the remaining scope of work before the end of the operation. The Progress bar reflects the number of the already worked-through objects and allows one to indirectly estimate the time necessary to complete the current stage.

Progress bars illustrate the current state  of acquisition of the 3D model from AutoCAD
Progress bars illustrate the current state of acquisition of the 3D model from AutoCAD

Dialogue of the command " Set of Objects for FEA" is improved

The ability to manage the smoothness of the imaging of cylindrical and spherical surfaces in the Preprocessor window is now added at the primary acquisition of the 3D model geometry from AutoCAD. The special slider allows the user to set a desirable minimum accuracy of approximation of curved elements of the 3D model.

A cylinder of small diameter is approximated as an octagon
A cylinder of small diameter is approximated as an octagon

A cylinder of small diameter is approximated as an octagon
A more accurate approximation of the same cylinder by a polygon with 24 segments

New abilities for the command “Diagnostics of the Study”

Excluding dangling bodies from the calculation

The command “Study Diagnostics” has acquired the ability to exclude dangling bodies and groups of bodies from the calculation without their withdrawal from the study. "Dangling” parts mean single parts or small groups of parts which do not make contact with other parts of the 3D assembly, i.e. those which appear to “hang” in the air. Such objects would not directly contribute to the mechanical strength computations, if not attached in some way they would fly to “infinity” when forces were applied to them. This option makes it possible to perform the strength calculation, even if there were multiple, separately located unfixed objects present in the 3D model (and they might be overlooked).

Dangling bodies are marked in green in the Preprocessor window
Dangling bodies are marked in green in the Preprocessor window

New abilities for the mesh generator

Accurate workings with Multi Volume objects

The new version of the mesh generator permits the use of so-called multi volume bodies in the studies (i.e. bodies comprised of several different volumes without points of contact between them). It significantly simplifies the preparation of the computation model in the case of the presence of multi volume bodies. In the previous versions of AutoFEM, the presence of multi volume bodies was an insurmountable obstacle in the way of creating a finite-element mesh.

Diagnostics of a 3D model  with multi volume bodies as per previous version
Diagnostics of a 3D model with multi volume bodies as per previous version

Presence of multi volume bodies is now no hindrance to creating a finite-element mesh
Presence of multi volume bodies is now no hindrance to creating a finite-element mesh

Improvements in working with ShipConstructor

Efficient working with large models in ShipConstructor

Due to the improved working of some functions of AutoCAD, starting from the version of AutoCAD 2015 and especially AutoCAD 2016, AutoFEM Analysis now is able to efficiently process very large assembled 3D models of ShipConstructor, usually containing thousands of 3D models of parts.

AutoFEM Analysis can now process assemblies containing thousands of objects, including the hulls of sea vessels
AutoFEM Analysis can now process assemblies containing thousands of objects, including the hulls of sea vessels

Improvements to the module of integration with ShipConstructor

The option of acquiring specific geometry like that of ShipConstructor was improved. We mention the specific geometry parts which cannot be selected for FEA analysis by standard means using AutoFEM, because they have a specific type, which does not coincide with the type of 3D solid in AutoCAD. This option, in particular, allows one to obtain the curved geometry of the underwater parts of sea vessel hulls, pipeline parts and to manage the list of obtained objects.

The improved dialogue of integration with ShipConstructor
The improved dialogue of integration with ShipConstructor

Working with the hulls of sea vessels

An entire set of dedicated tools for working with hull parts of sea vessels was specially developed to satisfy the needs of shipbuilding engineers who use ShipConstructor. We recommend that laminar finite-element representations of calculated models, created on the basis of 3D solid-body models of designs are used as the main technique for strength analysis of solid hull units of sea vessels.
Version 2.8 offers these dedicated set of tools, providing the ability to create studies with the hulls of sea vessels, with an account of the specific representation of these designs, which are used in ShipConstructor.

Creating studies with hull-like objects

The curved hulls of sea vessels in ShipConstructor are represented with the help of objects of special type. For these purposes, the class of objects (SCONCURVEDPLATE) is created, representing the curved geometry as the aggregate of triangular or rectangular facets which have the thickness. In the course of acquiring a 3D model from AutoCAD, AutoFEM Analysis 2.8 correctly unites the aggregates of these facets in a single, uniform facet, which makes it possible to set boundary conditions, applied to these elements of the design.


The hull of a sea vessel in the window of AutoCAD/ShipConstructor
The hull of a sea vessel in the window of AutoCAD/ShipConstructor


The hull of a sea vessel in the window of the Preprocessor of AutoFEM Analysis
The hull of a sea vessel in the window of the Preprocessor of AutoFEM Analysis

Application of distributed loads to hulls of sea vessels

When creating a study in the laminar finite-element setting, the system automatically groups the facets, describing the geometry of a sea vessel hull, in a generalized face that allows one, in one click, to choose these design elements in order to apply the distributed boundary conditions to them (pressure, force and so on).

Applying the load “Hydrostatical pressure” to elements of a ship’s hull
Applying the load “Hydrostatic pressure” to elements of a ship’s hull

Setting boundary conditions for chains of edge segments

When working with finite-element models based on plates, the boundary conditions are applied to facets and edges. The dedicated tool set allows easier application of the boundary conditions to edges and, thus, for the selection of a set of segments of one edge by stating the first and last (or next) segments. The system automatically adds all intermediate segments belonging to a single body. This functionality makes it possible to apply boundary conditions to the edges of hulls, containing a few or hundreds of separate segments.

Selection of a chain of edge segments for setting a boundary condition
Selection of a chain of edge segments for setting a boundary condition

Setting boundary conditions for the curved surfaces of hulls

Concerning the loads applied to facets (force, pressure, torque, bearing load, and additional mass), there is a new option to select, in one click, the complete surface of the part, even if it is divided into multiple facets. This is typical of units of the hull type, created in ShipConstructor. In a special dialogue window, the user sets out the permissible deviation from the normal (in degrees), based on which the system will automatically select facets, whose deviations from the normal are no greater than the set value, and applies the boundary condition to all the aggregate of the facets by one click.


Automatic selection of the curved facet of a unit, approximated from many facets
Automatic selection of the curved facet of a unit, approximated from many facets

A new approach to modelling thin-wall designs

Automatic transformation of a volumetric finite-element study into laminar one

Most typical designs in the shipbuilding industry (construction of sea vessels and coastal facilities) 90-95% of them are made of steel sheets and profiles. It is generally known that the finite-element analysis of such designs using 3D finite elements (such as tetrahedrons or hexagons) is often hard to produce from the computational stand (i.e. they require too many computational resources). In the theory and practice of finite-element computations, it is generally acceptable to use finite elements of plates (shells) of triangular or rectangular shape for the estimation of the tension state of such designs.
In version 2.8, the dialogue used for creating the study, visually reflects the selection of a finite-element setting (3D or laminar), in which the user wishes to create a finite-element study. For modelling solid designs of ships, which are mostly fabricated from sheet metal parts, we recommend that finite-element modelling by laminar elements is used.

Choice of the option for creating a shell study from a solid-body 3D model
Choice of the option for creating a shell study from a solid-body 3D model

In AutoFEM Analysis 2.8, an intellectual algorithm is implemented, which allows one to automatically build the computational model using triangular finite elements of plates for designs made of 3D solids.
The logic of the algorithm is that all elements of the design can be considered as laminar parts. The system analyses the geometry of the part and automatically selects the part surface with the greatest area to be included in the computation. When selecting the facets of the 3D solid, the mutual location of the part relative to other contacting parts is taken into account. As a rule, a facet with the greatest number of contacts with the neighbouring parts is selected for computation. The system will automatically determine the thickness of the laminar part. The user can change both the automatic selection result (i.e. select or add another facet in the computation) and the thickness assigned to the specific part by the system. This allows the computer to flexibly adjust the laminar finite-element model, while striving for the greatest degree of correspondence in the calculated model to its solid-body original prototype. In the process of the automatic construction of the equivalent laminar model, the system analyses the mutual location of the design’s parts and provides for a better preservation of the topology of the entire design, that means that parts in contact in the initial solid-body 3D model will, as far as it is possible, remain in touch in its laminar approximation. The user can manage this process, switching on or off the option called "Restore topology of the structure" in the dialogue of creating the study. The same dialogue sets options for automatic unification of facets in the uniform facet and for a threshold of the permissible number of facets for the automatic selection of the geometry to be included in the study.

Options of the command of creating the shell finite-element study, based on facets of 3D solids
Options of the command of creating the shell finite-element study, based on facets of 3D solids

Displacements of a vessel unit lifted with ropes Displacements of a vessel unit lifted with ropes
Displacements of a vessel unit lifted with ropes

Factor of safety of the lifted ship structure Factor of safety of the lifted ship structure
Factor of safety of the lifted ship structure

This functionality is available together with the licence for the module of integration with ShipConstructor and allows the user to obtain in one click the laminar finite-element approximation of the initial 3D volumetric model of the design built in ShipConstructor.

The dialogue listing basic functions of the SC integration module
The dialogue listing basic functions of the SC integration module


Considering the analysis of large-size sheet designs, the main advantages are as following:
• Much less severe requirements of the available computational possibilities when analysing large-size ship designs. Though, in the case of building an adequate finite-element model, reliability of the computational result corresponds to common techniques, used to analyse designs usual for shipbuilding.
• Relative simplicity in building the finite-element model, computational mesh and the setting of boundary conditions.
• The possibility of editing manually the finite-element study to achieve the most acceptable and reliable result.

New possibilities for the Postprocessor

Improvement of commands in creating sensors and user-oriented coordinate systems

The commands for creating sensors and user-tailored coordinate systems now have the ability to create several sensors or coordinate systems while the command is retrieved once. The dialogue has a new button , which allows one to save the current definition of the object and go on to the creation of the next object, not dropping out of the dialogue. It significantly accelerates the work, especially concerning large models.


Creation of several sensors with one click of the command
Creation of several sensors with one click of the command


Creating several user coordinate systems with one click of the command
Creating several user coordinate systems with one click of the command

Group of sensors

This new command allows one to create a group of sensors, positioned along one right line, in one click. So the created sensor group can be used to construct a graph of the result. The user must specify the total number of sensors and limits of the model or coordinate systems, in-between which the sensors are located.

The Group of sensors allows the user to define points for obtaining data to plot a graph
The Group of sensors allows the user to define points for obtaining data to plot a graph


The graph of the result, drawn on the basis of the sensor group
The graph of the result, drawn on the basis of the sensor group

New dialogue of the result, called “Safety Factor"

The logic of work of the result tuning command "Safety factor " was radically reorganised. This dialogue allows one to flexibly manage and produce a visual of the levels of permissible stresses, used to test the designs for strength. In the dialogue, the level of permissible stress is shown for each part. The user can exclude separate parts from the computation, set user values of permissible stresses and change units of measurement.

New dialogue of the result, called “Safety Factor
The new dialogue of result parameters “Safety factor” in terms of stresses

Improvement of the User Interface

The button F1 calls reference for the command from the AutoFEM ribbon. The possibility of opening the context reference using the button F1 (the mouse is directed to the button) in the ribbon of AutoFEM Analysis basic commands.

The button F1 calls reference for the command from the AutoFEM ribbon

A new lesson in AutoFEM Tutorials

The training course of AutoFEM Analysis now includes a lesson for working with the Preprocessor and Postprocessor of the system, showing a step-by-step guide and illustrating how properties of Preprocessor and Postprocessor windows can be tuned, sensors and coordinate systems can be created, graphs of results can be constructed, etc. In addition to a step-by-step illustrated manual, the lesson contains several videos demonstrating the basic methods of work.


for working with Preprocessor and Postprocessor of AutoFEM Analysis
Lesson for working with Preprocessor and Postprocessor of AutoFEM Analysis

New type of licensing is available

In addition to perpetual licence model, a new way of licensing is available now: 1 year subscription. This type of licensing is suitable for Autodesk users who use a subscription model of Autodesk products licensing. The price for a single calculation module starts from 795 Euro/USD for 1 year subscription or just ~66 Euro/USD per month (VAT not included). More detailed information can be found here.