CIMdata PLM Industry Summary Online Archive

22 June 2009

Implementation Investments

Two-Time America's Cup Winner Chooses ANSYS Engineering Simulation Solutions to Drive Title Defense

ANSYS, Inc. announced an agreement to serve as an Official Supplier to Alinghi, the Swiss sailing team that is preparing its defense of the America’s Cup race. Alinghi will leverage the integrated simulation solutions from ANSYS as a key strategy in winning the 33rd America’s Cup.

Pursuing its vision of innovative yacht design, Alinghi is relying on both structural mechanics and fluid dynamics simulation technologies from ANSYS to perform system-level vessel design and analysis. Even small improvements may prove crucial: During the 32nd America’s Cup, the yachts were separated in many races by less than 30 seconds.

“The team used structural simulation tools from ANSYS extensively in the development, design and optimization of every aspect of the winning yacht for the 2007 America’s Cup campaign,” said Kurt Jordan, the Alinghi engineer responsible for structural modeling. “The real starting gun for the Cup begins years before the actual races. During design, construction, and on-the-water optimization of the yacht and systems, the major factor leading to success is the efficient use of time. Every decision, such as the extent of prototyping and testing, has strategic implications on our most precious resource: time. The ability to use and trust our engineering simulation tools while moving from virtual design directly to systems on the water — with minimal or often no intermediate prototype or testing steps — gives us an essential advantage over the competition. For these reasons we have selected ANSYS as our exclusive supplier of engineering simulation solutions.”

Alinghi’s success partly depends upon arriving at a capable design that will outperform competitors under uncertain environmental conditions. Solving multiple classes of physics problems by using the integrated solutions from ANSYS will empower Alinghi to achieve this feat quickly and economically. “We have been given a few months to design what we believe will be the fastest sailboat of its kind in history. We are pushing the limits and going where very few have gone before as far as boat structures, hull shapes and sail design are concerned. Because of this push, and because we do not have the luxury of time and cannot afford to be wrong, we have no choice but to increase our reliance on our simulation tools. We are confident that a very fast boat will be the end result of this collaboration with ANSYS,” said Jim Bungener, Alinghi flow simulation engineer.

Applying ANSYS® software to structural simulation, Alinghi’s goal is to build the lightest, strongest boat possible. The team will use ANSYS fluid dynamics simulation primarily on the hulls, appendages, sails and masts. “With the sheer size and speed of the class of yacht we’re designing, the loads have become enormous. We need to have confidence in our simulations, because if something breaks people may be hurt. We also need our shapes to be optimal for fluid drag and lift purposes, so while the structural engineers want everything to be shaped like an I-beam for optimal structural properties, the fluids people want everything to be streamlined and skinny. Somewhere in the middle is the optimum, and this is where the ANSYS software is so useful. Doing full simulation using the same family of codes within the ANSYS® Workbench™ environment really makes our life easier,” Bungener added.

Recent advances in the common user environment of the ANSYS Workbench platform, combined with core engineering simulation solvers and advanced meshing tools, facilitate the seamless and intuitive two-way integration between the team’s geometry modeling, drafting and design efforts. “The ANSYS Workbench environment has been designed with such multiphysics needs in mind. Alinghi now has the simulation tools it needs to optimize strength and aerodynamics in its push to defend the America’s Cup. As Official Supplier, we stand behind them as they marry the athletic challenges of sailing with their ability to design and engineer a highly capable vessel,” said Dipankar Choudhury, vice president of corporate product strategy and planning at ANSYS, Inc.

About the America’s Cup and Alinghi

Alinghi was formed in 2000. In 2003, Alinghi won the America’s Cup against Team New Zealand (5-0) and became the first team to win the America’s Cup on its first attempt. Thanks to this victory, the Cup returned to Europe for the first time in 152 years. The Swiss team carries the colors of the yacht club Société Nautique de Genève. In 2007, Alinghi successfully defended the America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain, and is now preparing for a defense in 2010.

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