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ANSYS Automation using Excel

IBM desired a quick and user-friendly method for designing and analyzing their rack cabinets.  Traditional methods took too long and required an experienced ANSYS user to properly build the models. Instead, they wanted to provide input in Microsoft Excel and have it automatically build and analyze the cabinet in ANSYS.  IBM chose CAE Associates based on their expertise with the ANSYS software as well as their many years of experience in developing customized, automated ANSYS routines and processes.

CAE Associates developed a detailed Excel spreadsheet system in which IBM could easily enter all of the relevant data for the general design of a rack cabinet.  Information like number of vertical and horizontal members, cross section shape, height, length, etc. is entered into the spreadsheet.  The components in the rack are included by specifying the location and mass of each component and how it is mounted in the rack.  Several different analyses are available: modal, harmonic, random vibration, and transient impulse loading.

Figure 1 - Example Excel Spreadsheet to Drive ANSYS



The data entered into Excel is formatted and written to an ANSYS input file using Visual Basic scripts.  ANSYS is called in batch mode to run the input file from within Excel .  Automated postprocessing is performed, including the generation of appropriate results plots for each analysis case. The output can be quickly reviewed to determine if the design will meet the environmental criteria.

Figure 2 - Example Model Built Using Excel Inputs



Using Excel to drive ANSYS allows designers who are unfamiliar with FEA to get a quick assessment of their design.  This approach also allows for many different designs and configurations to be built and analyzed quickly, leading to a better final product along with a large savings in man-time and costs.