Granta Design is demonstrating a new release of the CES Selector software at the Materials Science and Technology (MS&T) conference in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. CES Selector is now claimed to be faster to learn and easier to use.
Enhancements in CES Selector 2008 include: a quick and simple method to specify design objectives; a new Eco Audit Tool for eco design; new capabilities for cost analysis; further plastic selection options; and extended coverage of medical materials.
CES Selector combines comprehensive data on the properties of materials with powerful graphical software for analysis and selection. It enables designers, engineers and materials experts to explore materials and process options and to make and justify rational, auditable selection and substitution decisions. It also helps materials producers to analyse and position their products. The software is particularly valuable in balancing competing engineering, economic and environmental objectives.
The 2008 version makes it much easier to specify design objectives via a new pictorial menu in which engineers view and select the mechanical, thermal, electrical or barrier application that they wish to study. Simple drop-down lists enable them to choose variables (such as dimensions, cost, strength or CO2 footprint) to optimise or constrain. The software then plots graphs that show the best materials for the user's requirements and display trade-offs of competing objectives. Although the CES Selector methodology is accepted as a standard for such rational materials selection, users previously had to specify design objectives as mathematical formulae. The new menu makes the software much quicker to use in practical design. This focus on practical use extends beyond software features – Granta is also introducing more flexible site- and company-wide licensing, as well as new training options for users.
Another new design feature is the Eco Audit Tool. A user enters information about a product design's composition, processing, use, transportation and disposal. The tool combines this with eco property data to estimate the energy usage and CO2 output at each stage in the proposed product's lifecycle. Knowing which phases in the lifecycle will make the most significant contribution to environmental impact can help to guide the design strategy. CES Selector's analysis capabilities can be used to identify materials and process changes that will minimise this impact. The aim is to make such decisions early in the design phase, when they cost least and have the most effect.
At the heart of CES Selector is a series of data modules containing comprehensive property and processing data about thousands of engineering materials. Updates and extensions to this data increase its relevance and effectiveness. New price estimates are available for over 3000 materials. These enable users to rank materials based on 'cost per unit of function' for an engineering application, helping them to make selection and substitution decisions that reduce or avoid cost. Such decisions are particularly important in a time of volatile materials pricing – nickel, copper and the feedstocks for commodity plastics offer recent examples of price fluctuations.
New specialist data are also available for medical and food contact applications and for plastics. The medical data covers issues such as the regulatory approval status of materials and their sterilisability, resistance to chemicals, and permeability. This data has been extended to cover not only medical plastics, but also metals and ceramics. Plastics data now include more information on important classes including elastomers, rubbers and transparent plastics.
Dr Patrick Coulter, chief operating officer at Granta, states: "CES Selector 2008 responds to two key trends that we see in working with our customers. The first is the need for practical design tools to enable decision making early in the design process, saving cost and time. The second is the increasing importance of environmental objectives. Enhancements in these and other areas will increase the impact of CES Selector on key business issues in engineering enterprises."CES Selector