Altair’s computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulation software platform for simulation-driven innovation is HyperWorks, which includes modeling, visualization, analysis and optimization technologies and solutions for structural, impact, electromagnetics, thermal, fluid, systems and manufacturing applications. The electromagnetics solver suite in HyperWorks is FEKO, a comprehensive electromagnetic analysis software used to solve a broad range of electromagnetic problems. It includes a set of hybridized solvers, giving the possibility to combine methods to solve complex and electrically large problems, with all solvers included in the same package.
EMSS-S.A., the developer of FEKO, was acquired by Altair in June 2014. Since early 2015, FEKO has been available under Altair’s patented on-demand software licensing system. Users can run multiple HyperWorks applications, including FEKO, and other Altair products for a flat rate, rather than paying for each license in use. As part of Altair’s portfolio, the FEKO version number will jump from FEKO Suite 7.0 to FEKO 14.0 to align with HyperWorks 14.0, the next version of HyperWorks.
Features of FEKO 14.0
Curvilinear meshes for triangles have been supported in FEKO from Suite 6.3, since they reduce computational requirements significantly by using larger mesh elements without sacrificing accuracy. In this new release, the software will support curvilinear meshes of segments for the method of moments (MoM) and for the multilevel fast multipole method (MLFMM). This extension reduces computational requirements and achieves the same accuracy with fewer segments compared to linear segments. This feature benefits users interested in modeling wires, including helix structures or medical leads. Figure 1 shows that to get the same accuracy with linear segments, 397 segments are needed instead of 153 segments when using curvilinear wires.
High order basis functions (HOBF) allow the user to mesh geometry with larger triangles and obtain the same solution accuracy. FEKO has supported HOBF for MoM and MLFMM since Suite 6.2. Now, in version 14.0, users will be able to use HOBF for the MoM region when hybridized with uniform theory of diffraction (UTD) or ray launching – geometrical optics (RL-GO) to analyze electrically large problems more efficiently. Depending upon the case, this new feature can reduce the required number of triangles of the mesh for the MoM region by a factor of 70 or more.
FEKO’s finite difference time domain (FDTD) solver was added in Suite 7.0 to solve highly inhomogeneous materials and wideband problems, including the effects of electromagnetic pulses radiation. In this new release, features like using multiple configurations in a single model, perfect magnetic conductor (PMC) boundaries, OpenMP parallelization for multicore machines and others have been added.
Application Automation and lua scripting
In FEKO 14.0 the application automation in CADFEKO is complete, and any action performed manually in CADFEKO can be done via scripting. It also supports script recording. The workflow for this process is simple: start recording, perform actions and stop recording. Once recorded, the user can re-run the script to avoid performing repetitive actions or modify a script for advanced or customized actions (see Figure 2).
Users often have specific requirements for model setup or visualization that are not included in the FEKO user interface. For such cases, Lua scripting is used to implement these solutions. In version 14.0 the parameter sweep script has been improved to investigate the effect of changing variables. The plug-in to interface FEKO with Optenni Lab, for automatic matching circuit generation, has been upgraded to include a new workflow option and more advanced automation integration. A new script has also been created and is available to users to perform co-site interference analysis in platforms using multiple transmitters and receivers.
EMC, PCB Modeling and RCS
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)is one of the key applications where FEKO is used extensively. In the new release, the comprehensive cable modeling tool adds the Vance braided shield type (see Figure 3). Due to the increasing interest of users in PCB modeling, new features have been added; for instance, layers can be selected or deselected in Gerber, ODB++, 3Di or AutoCAD files (see Figure 4). Active RCS calculations in a model with sources other than plane waves are now supported.
FEKO 14.0 includes other features and improvements, some related to CAD handling and visualization.
The HyperWorks Student Edition, supporting much larger models, is replacing FEKO LITE.
FEKO’s integration into HyperWorks
FEKO 14.0 includes an integration between FEKO and HyperStudy, the multi-disciplinary design exploration, optimization and stochastic analysis tool. Meshes from Altair’s HyperMesh, the high-performance finite element pre-processor, can also be imported.
FEKO also works with PBS Works from Altair, workload management software, which includes Compute Manager, a web-based application to submit, manage and monitor jobs on HPC environments. It can now be used with Altair’s cloud solutions, including HyperWorks Unlimited Physical Appliance, a private cloud solution with fully configured hardware and unlimited use of all Altair software within the appliance.
Altair Engineering Inc.