The thinking designer's CAD system
When we started using CAESES, we used it primarily to prepare hull geometries for CFD calculations in FINE/Marine. As we grew more experienced in its use, we found many more situations in which CAESES has really helped our design process.
Its parametric nature led us to first develop several "families" of parametric hull forms, all defined using meta-surfaces. These can quickly be modified to different dimensions or specific requirements of different vessels, while retaining the same character. For concept design, this is incredibly powerful, and I have started using CAESES as the first tool I reach for after the first talks with a client.
The resulting shape is then always CFD-ready, allowing us to integrate CFD very early in the design cycle. This is made even more convenient by the software connection to FINE/Marine, which essentially gives you CFD results of whatever hull form you have with the click of a button. Then, extending this to full parametric hull form optimizations requires almost no additional effort.
In short, if you have the time and mindset to overcome the steep learning curve, CAESES is a very powerful tool for the naval architect. It is a CAD system in a very true sense of the word, being a tool not just for defining digital geometry, but for complete computer-aided design.
At its core, CAESES is a parametric CAD package. Any geometry made is tracked and can be manipulated in the model tree. Properties of all these objects can then either be linked to numerical parameters or other geometry objects. This results in a very stable definition of the geometry (provided you set it up correctly). I often find myself with only a third of a screen devoted to the geometry window itself: the rest is taken up by the model tree and the definition window.
Furthermore, CAESES allows you to create scripts in which geometry can be defined or manipulated. This is prominently used for meta-surfaces, which have the user defining a cross-section in a script and drawing this curve over space curves or functions to create the surface. Combined with f-splines (fairness-optimized splines), this allows complex hull surfaces to be created very cleanly and with extremely smooth results.
Imported geometry can be modified using free-form deformations. And, drastically modifying the shape can be done by changing the value of a single parameter.
On top of this, CAESES can connect to external solvers, to process the geometry made or modified in the CAD functionality. An extensive optimization package aids in varying the identified parameters and coming up with an optimal design.
Finally, the CAESES support team is very helpful, knowledgeable, and quick to respond if you run into something you can't fix or need assistance with.
As a CAD package, CAESES is not the easiest to learn. It requires you to think about every piece of geometry you create, and thus "quickly" creating a shape in CAESES is not what it excels at. Building up a good hull model for a ship from scratch takes time and some careful thought. Therefore, it will not necessarily be suited for everyone, especially if you prefer a more sketch-wise or ad hoc approach to making geometry.
The geometry itself can be slow to respond to changes, and thus making changes to a more complex model requires a certain amount of patience. Also, it can be easy to "break" the geometry if you change parameter values to something unrealistic.
The precise definition of the geometry, a blessing in some situations, can also be a curse in others: for CAESES to accept a shape (particularly solid shapes) as valid, the definition has to be near-perfect. This can be frustrating when trying to close a hull shape for use in for instance CFD codes.
Parametric design as it should be
I am using CAESES for ship hull optimization for 8 years now and I never regretted my decision. I analyzed over 4500 variants of a fully parametric hull model using two different CFD packages. The parameter variations, CFD model creation and simulation were fully automated.
CAESES offers a perfect mix of GUI based model development and full control over each parameter of the model. It offers very powerful objects such as meta surfaces that allow to define very sophisticated shapes in 3D based on parameters and parameter curves defined by the user. My personal favourite is writing programs within CAESES using "features". The programming language is easy to learn and allows to access all methods and parameters of the object-oriented CAESES model. CAESES creates 100% water tight models that can be readily used in CFD packages without the need for time consuming repairs. This is essential for applying the automatic optimization strategies supplied with CAESES. Many CFD packages can be easily integrated. Chances are high that you can continue to use your personal favourite CFD package. The support in the forum never leaves any questions open, because the developers of the software are active members of the forum themselves. The software is under active development and now covers diverse application areas such as ship hull optimization, propeller optimization and turbo machinery. However, CAESES isn't limited to such applications - you can create any kind of model you need.
CAESES runs under Windows and Linux.
Don't expect a full-fledged volumetric CAD software - that's not the aim of CAESES. Most of the time you are dealing with surface models that are connected into water tight 3D objects for simulation. However, the 3D operations using breps and solids have imroved a lot over the years, such that it is possible to perform 3D boolean operations, for example.
CAESES – Code and flow-optimize your CAD
We use CAESES in your daily work for the design / optimization of our different propeller types and the interaction with the accordant ships. It takes some time to create the models (we are looking for high quality CAD / robust topology). In the end it saves a lot of time, leads to better products and reduces the response time for customer requests.
It enables the setup of a complete CAD / CFD optimization chain. (CAESES provides the CAD creation, optimization tools and a simple approach to plug in meshing tools and CFD solver)
It follows an object oriented design approach that focuses on clear dependency chains. Your whole geometry is represented in an object tree that gives you a structured representation of the CAD model. In contrast to standard CAD this tree can be sorted by you. In my point of view that is a big benefit, since everybody has a different way of creating his models.
The first way to create CAD models in CEASES is comparable to standard CAD software. However the second more sophisticated way to create your model is to describe them in a scripting language. Its syntax is derived from C++ hence it is easy to read. It does not only provide the possibility to create CAD objects but also enables you created command chains for internal and external tools or the output of text files. Sky is the limit.
As far as I can compare it, the user support is the best you can get.
At the moment it can take some time to change the geometry of complicated models, since the code is not parallelized. To my knowledge this should change in the future.
Remarkable Functionality and Equally Impressive Customer Support and Feedback
The quality of the software itself along with the customer support and personable nature of the CAESES team has left quite the impression on me and my colleagues. As we use CAESES for biomedical engineering related research, it truly shows the range and capabilities of how and where CAESES can be used.
This software has quite a remarkable range of design capability with respect to creating both simple and complex geometries. The beauty in this software is the near seamless coupling with external CFD packages that enable fully integrated and automated DOE studies that are an excellent addition to a product's R&D process. Most of all I enjoy the documentation and organizational scheme of CAESES with the scopes and sub-scopes, making it simple to keep specific groups of features together.
Quite frankly, I can not write something in this section because any issue or frustration I have had with this software I was able to find very timely resolution for through the Help Desk or the Users Forum.
As a researcher in the field of polymer processing i try to optimize mixing head geometries of plasticizing screws in extruders or injection moulding machines. The geometries of such mixing heads are quite complex but with CAESES it is possible to setup a robust parametric modelling process for them. Moreover, i use CAESES as GUI for OpenFOAM . This makes the usage of this CFD software a bit more comfortable and reduces mistakes in the case setup. And when the connection to OpenFOAM is setup correctly, the design engines tremendously reduces the effort in running parameter studies and it is even possible to perform optimizations with Dakato.
From my point of view, the major benfit of CAESES is the possibility to combine CAD, running CFD simulations and optimizations as well as post processing within a single piece of software.
The back side of the medal: Compared to classic CAD software the modelling is a little different and you have to learn what is the optimal way to build up your geometries. But i think it is time well spent ;)
- Robust parametric modelling capabilities
- Software connector to OpenFOAM
- Possibility to run automated design studies
- Documentation regarding built-in "Feature Programming Language" could be better
Total Integration from CAD to Analysis with unlimited customization
Allowed us to bring our design process to a new level of automation, permitting the automated generation and analysis of 1000's of candidate yacht or powerboat designs against strict geometric or performance metrics.
The ability to closely couple advanced parametric or free form geometry creation and CAD models with any number of analysis tools is unique in my experience. The cost of the program is very competitive and the help desk support is second to none in answering questions.
Occasionally minor speed issues with Windows interfaces related to the cross platform nature of the interface.
Great software for parametrizing complex geometries in turbo machinery applications
We use CAESES for the parametrization of centrifugal compressors (impeller, diffuser and volute) within an optimization. The exported geometries are used for both structural and aerodynamic analysis.
Besides providing all the "standard" parametrization features for blade modeling, it was possible to realize every possible parametrization which came to my mind. Furthermore, the model is very stable and the exported geometries are of high quality as the used simulation tools can handle those geometries without any step in between (like repairing the geometry with cadfix).
If the parametrized model gets more complicated it is a bit tricky to keep the overview about all used parameters and settings.