Materials management software benefits from user feedback

Paul Boughton
Granta Design is releasing Granta MI 4.0, the latest edition of this software-based system for materials information management in engineering enterprises. Granta MI 4.0 focuses on key practical challenges faced by engineers, designers and scientists in managing and using materials data. Meeting such challenges saves time, reduces risk, improves quality and enables response to regulations in product design and development.
New features have been developed with input from users such as Boeing, Emerson Electric, Eurocopter, GE, Honeywell, NASA, Rolls-Royce and TRW Automotive. Key themes are: helping to manage and respond to changing information; tracking and using complex interrelationships between data; and tools for specialist data, such as the functional data often used to describe mechanical properties. New software tools and associated reference data extend capabilities in important application areas including: composites, restricted substances, steels and medical devices.
For composites:
Designing a database to store composite test and design data is difficult because these materials contain multiple components that are combined and processed in many different ways. Leading aerospace, defence and energy enterprises in the Material Data Management Consortium (MDMC) have helped to define an effective and efficient database structure. This is now available to any Granta MI user. And a new Composite Design data module means that users can augment in-house data with data from the widely-respected NCAMP, AGATE, and CMH-17 projects, thereby providing further support for composite design.
For restricted substances:
Granta MI helps organisations to identify the likely effect of regulations on product designs. A new tool provides alerts on any change to a relevant substance, material or regulation, thereby enabling proactive risk management. Another enhancement makes it easy for designers to navigate the relationships between substances, materials and regulations; for example, to see which substances in a material are impacted by which regulations, and the nature of the impact. This supports materials choices that avoid costly problems with regulatory compliance or materials obsolescence.
For steels:
Granta MI now enables simple access to two outstanding sets of European reference data on steels, fully integrated with in-house data. The Stahldat SX data is a complete Register of European Steels (known as the 'Stahl-Eisen-Liste' in German), associated specifications and temperature-dependant properties. Stahldat SX is licensed under a new agreement between Granta Design and the Steel Institute (Stahlinstitut VDEh) of Dusseldorf, Germany. The second dataset is from the MI-21 'Metals Information for the 21st Century' project, and includes two data collections: World Metal Index (WMI) Metals and The Welding Institute (TWI) Welding Consumables. These provide chemical, mechanical, and physical properties for thousands of metals, electrodes, fillers and fluxes. Granta MI makes it easy to query, browse and use this data.
For medical devices:
The first release of a new Human Biological Materials data module provides mechanical property data for human bone, which is of value in modelling orthopaedic devices. Separate data on the materials and coatings used in cardiovascular and orthopaedic devices has also been updated. This data, combined with Granta MI tools to manage proprietary data and new documentation and services to assist in the validation of in-house systems, creates a comprehensive materials information management system for medical device organisations.
Dr David Cebon, managing director at Granta, comments: "Granta MI 4.0 provides a series of enhancements that respond to detailed, practical requirements identified and prioritised with our users. Granta's collaborative approach is also reflected in new data licensing agreements with the Stahlinstitut VDEh and the MI-21 project partners. These augment Granta's innovation and keep Granta MI moving forward as the standard for materials information management and for materials reference data."
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