The tedious process of building an input model and of manual communication between CAD and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) significantly restricts the designers from using FEA, particularly in preliminary design. Most of the previous works concentrate on expediting this process by interfacing CAD and FEA. This paper propose full integration of FEA simulation code within a CAD system, thus several problems are avoided. The section-based FEA is used as better suited to early design. It requires, comparing to the 3-D FEA, development of additional CAD functions to extract appropriate sections from the CAD model. The proposed integrated system allows for rapid use of the FEA and unifies the design environment to avoid inconsistency. It provides a mechanism to specify the part orientation relative to the punch traveling direction to support tipping. It also extracts the geometrical data of a specified section to automatically build and store a FEA input model. The numerical simulation of the process can be then performed without exiting the CAD system. Both existing as well as newly developed CAD functions, needed for the proposed integration system, are presented. The feasibility and advantages of such integration is demonstrated on the developed prototype system.

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