About | ECITTT | Post-Conference Summary (June 2001)

EuroConference on CAE Integration - Tools, Trends and Technologies (ECITTT)

29 March 2001 - 1 April 2001
University of Cambridge, England


Many thanks are due to the contributors from research and industry who have shared their knowledge and experience in this first EuroConference on CAE Integration. The purpose of this summary is to guide non-delegates and delegates through the comprehensive material presented at the conference. Most of this material is documented in the ECITTT Proceedings.

Industrial readers will learn of upcoming technologies and of how the cost of CAE processes can be reduced. Academic readers will learn of current industrial requirements and interests. Last but not least, the European Commission which has helped fund this project will be informed of scientific or socio-economic opportunities where EC actions on policy or funding can have a beneficial impact.


First of all it must be categorically stated that totally-automatic solutions are not typical for CAE reality. Skilled engineering judgement is always required to some extent, but major cost optimisation is possible through appropriate CAE processes and the use of appropriate tools and technologies.

Let us consider three general approach scenarios:

  1. Engineering model data transfer to/from CAE by human re-input of model data.
  2. Model data transfer using standard data exchange file formats (e.g. IGES, STEP, STL) and/or software-specific command files.
  3. System integration (e.g. using scripts, and using the systems’ APIs), system customisation, and "highly automated" model data transfer.
It is evident that scenario 1 is very widespread and holds the highest potential for automation. Scenario 2 represents a „loose“ integration and scenario 3 a „tight“ integration of CAE, and in practice a mixture of loose and tight integration will often be pursued. Prof. Z. Andjelic, P. Fisch, J. Gustafsson, and R. Perala each describe mixed integrations around specific software products and applications. From a more general angle, D. Cheney discusses application areas, advantages, and disadvantages of scenarios 2 and 3. For certain vendor-independent system integrations, he proposes the public-domain code CADScript for interrogating model properties via the APIs of different CAD systems.


In practical terms there may often be too many obstacles to implement improved automation. Both technical and organisational challenges need to be addressed.

Many of the past years’ outstanding technical model transfer issues can be resolved by appropriate work procedures (T. Ing), user training flanked by quality-control tools which detect human and system errors (D. Cheney, A. Chinn), and by either improved standard data interfaces or third party data repair/healing tools which replace or assist weak data interfaces (A. Chinn). Model reduction is often required before some computations can be run on present-day systems, eg from solid models to mid-surface shell models, or from detailed models to suppressed-detail models. This currently requires human intervention but for the future a higher level of automation is promised by Medial Object technology (G. Butlin). Potential for automation also remains in the area of reverse engineering, eg transforming optimised mesh into CAD geometry (M. Sabin, I. Ainsworth).

From an organisational angle, the overall work distribution and electronic access rights for each individual are key considerations in workgrouped processes (P. Lambeck, Prof. R. Bronsart). Specifically for the shipbuilding situation today, Prof. Bronsart notes three challenges to collaborative work processes: (a) insufficient, unclear organisation, (b) tools/methods for information exchange not used / not available, (c) little awareness of necessity of information exchange. He proposes a solution for these problems which is heterogeneous (no restrictions to information type, or specific software or hardware products) and dynamic (processes are not static, partners do not collaborate indefinitely).


New technologies are usually designed to alleviate or solve problems or limitations in current technology. Before arriving in mainstream use, they need to be scientifically proven and psychologically accepted. A major aim of the conference is to identify some relevant technologies that have been scientifically proven and are on the verge of mainstream use.


Medial Object Alternative solid modeller,
robust mid surface extraction,
enabling robust partitioning of solids,
enabling robust hex meshing,
geometric reasoning tool for automatic defeaturing.
G. Butlin

Boundary Element Method Simpler models,
faster meshing (esp for complex models),
computational efficiency,
accuracy (esp. for moving-boundary problems)
Z. Andjelic
M. Bonnet
F. Duddeck
J. Rudolph
J. O. Watson

PH Curves Optimised CNC-performance: Higher speed, smoother surface finish, optimised cutting forces. R. T. Farouki

Subdivision Surfaces Improvement over NURBS: Speed and robustness of geometric computations, eg graphics, intersections, ray-tracing. M. Sabin

Approximate Implicitisation of NURBS Improved computation of NURBS-intersections,
localisation and repair of NURBS degeneracies,
speeding up of ray-tracing.
T. Dokken


Fracture mechanics (B. L. Karihaloo, M. Fox, L. Hodulak, M. Bonnet, J. O. Watson) is still very much in the specialist domain but its highly codified nature combined with upcoming technologies give it a clear potential for higher automation and mainstream use. Due to the absence of a commercial driving force, public funding is required to make current fracture mechanics tools more accessible to mainstream users.


This conference was the first such interdisciplinary European event on CAE integration. It proved the benefits of, and the continued necessity for, such interdisciplinary meetings and discussions to exchange knowledge, experience, and views, and practice interdisciplinary communication and presentation skills.

Possible Policy or Action

Interdisciplinary meetings Encourage, beginning at school level.
Create higher awareness in engineering schools of benefits of EuroConferences

Fracture mechanics Remove from specialist arena by including fracture mechanics basics in basic education of European mechanical engineers.
Encourage (financially) transition of specialist tools to mainstream tools.

Medial Object Technology Fund transition from research to application.

Boundary Element Method Encourage conferences.
Fund mathematically-complex long term research projects.
Fund transition from research to application.

Funding for Shipbuilding Industries Encourage investments into tools, methods and education/training for engineering and organisational staff.


A prize of EUR300 was awarded for the best poster presentation and the best oral presentation by a "Young Researcher", to acknowledge and reward the considerable efforts that go into a high class presentation. The presentation quality was very high. The two best posters were so close in points that the award went jointly to the posters of Karel Kenis (KaHo Sint-Lieven) and Iain Ainsworth (Imperial College). The award for the best oral presentation went to Jonas Gustafsson (Ericsson Saab Avionics).

From the internationally known senior researchers the delegates were fortunate to learn how a scientific presentation could be held in an interesting, understandable and even humorous manner. Given the English conference language, it was probably only natural that Dr. Geoffrey Butlin (FEGS Ltd), Prof. Rida Farouki (University of California, Davis), Prof. Malcolm Sabin (Numerical Geometry Ltd), and "Bob" R. P. Johnson (DAMT Ltd) achieved the largest share of laughs with their humorous elements. A major tribute is due to the last day’s anchor men, Bob Johnson, and especially Dr. Rod Perala (EMA Inc.), who held the attention of the delegates with professional and stimulating presentations. Dr. Perala ended the closing session with the fitting statement that industry’s key technology opportunity today is the effective integration of CAE.


M Forster (Fluxus Technology Ltd, UK) (Chairman)
Z Andjelic (ABB AG, since conference ABB research has moved to Zürich, CH)
M Bonnet (Ecole Polytechnique, F)
R Bronsart (University of Rostock, D)
G Butlin (FEGS Ltd, UK)
R T Farouki (University of California, Davis, USA) (Representing SIAM)
J Gustafsson (Ericsson Saab Avionics AB, S)
B L Karihaloo (University of Wales, Cardiff, UK) (Organiser of IUTAM Symposium on fracture in 2001)
J Rudolph (University of Dortmund, D)
M Sabin (Numerical Geometry Ltd, UK)
J O Watson (University of New South Wales, AU)


Michael Forster, Fluxus Technology Ltd (Organiser)
Dr Peter Forster, New Hall, University of Cambridge (Local Organiser)
Mrs Tracey Upshaw, FEGS Ltd (Local Organiser, FEGS now renamed to TranscenData Europe Ltd)

Grateful acknowledgements for organisational help are due to
Paul Hough and Ruth Allwood (New Hall, University of Cambridge)
Wiebke Meyer (Fluxus Technology Ltd)


Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), Philadelphia, PA, USA,
SIAM is represented by Prof R T Farouki (University of California, Davis, USA).


Michael Forster (Director)
Fluxus Technology Ltd (Kiel)
PO Box 5506
24065 Kiel

Tel +49 431 690 830
E-Mail: mf [at] fluxus-technology [dot] com