MSC Software (MSC), Santa Ana, Calif., recently showed me its new Adams/Machinery program that works inside of the Adams/View interface (Adams lets users build and simulate models of any mechanical system with moving parts). Adams/ Machinery is intended to help manufacturers of machinery equipment and other mechanical systems like cameras and power tools efficiently build functional virtual prototypes of components and systems early in the design cycle, before building physical prototypes. As such, it includes customized productivity tools for modeling and preprocessing chain, gear, and belt components.
The clean-looking interface includes in-line help and information about components, their connections, and various modeling-fidelity options. Wizards help guide users through model setup, manipulating model parameters, and modeling options.
For instance, in the gears module, users can simulate the backlash of a gear pair in a streamlined fashion using a gear-creation wizard. And in the belts module, users can predict belt tension and loads using pulley and belt wizards. Additionally, in the chains module, users can study contact forces between sprockets and chains.
In the gear-creation wizard, engineers can choose either the simplified modeling method, which neglects friction and quickly calculates the contact force between teeth, or a 3D contact-modeling method to study the backlash based on the actual working center distance and tooth thickness. Adams/Machinery supports a variety of gear types, including spur, helical, straight bevel, and spiral-bevel configurations.
In the belts module, engineers can predict the tension and load of belts in models built using the pulley and belt wizard. Users can also run design studies to find the proper tensioner stiffness to minimize slippage and minimize peak