A significant proportion of the work effort for finite element (FE) analysis is spent for pre-processing activities, especially for complex structural components and component assemblies. An exclusive use of hexahedron (hex) elements increases the meshing effort substantially compared to tetrahedral elements. An automated method to generate high quality hexahedral meshes for an arbitrary geometry does not exist. In this work, commercially available FE software tools for meshing were investigated with the focus on an advantageous pre-processing effort. The evaluation showed that the software package NX (Siemens PLM Software) offers robust advanced semiautomatic hex meshing capabilities.
Furthermore, a Contact Meshing Approach (CMA) was elaborated to reduce the effort of the challenging and time-consuming geometry decomposition significantly. Using the example of an intermediate pressure compressor it can be shown that the pre-processing effort time can be reduced up to 75%. Due to the independent meshes, element transitions in the geometry become redundant. This results in lower total element numbers and higher mesh qualities and subsequently leads to more efficient calculations. Moreover, the increased element quality has positive effects on the result quality.