Mass View Tool Design Development Computer Science Essay


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HyperMesh is a tool use for finite element pre and post processing of CAD models which is an integrated part of HyperWorks package. And here we have developed a tool called as mass view.

Finally this tool will be used to trim and balance non-structural mass. This tool will allow user to dynamically create/edit the mass entity, help realize mass entity to solver specific entities and change the location of resultant mass on a component or assembly of a model. This tool will have review/isolate mechanism which will allow user to check the details of the mass being modified for component or assembly. This tool will also allow user to import and export the information from this mass View GUI.


HyperWorks is built on a foundation of design optimization, performance data management, and process automation. HyperWorks is an enterprise simulation solution for rapid design exploration and decision-making. It is one of the most comprehensive CAE solutions in mechanical and aviation industry. And Altair HyperMesh is a high-performance finite element pre-processor that provides a highly interactive and visual environment to analyze product design performance. It possesses the broadest set of direct interfaces to commercial CAD and CAE systems. HyperMesh provides a proven, consistent analysis platform for the entire enterprise.

HyperMesh is the user-preferred environment for the following engineering productivity:

Solid Geometry Modeling

Surface Geometry Modelling

Shell Meshing

Solid Mesh Generation

Model Morphing

Automatic mid-surface generation

Detailed Model Setup

Batch Meshing

Some of the most significant features of HyperMesh are:

Open-Architecture Design

With the broadest set of direct CAD and CAE interfaces coupled with user defined integrations, HyperMesh fits seamlessly within any simulation environment.  HyperMesh can perform:

Import CAD-generated geometry or finite element model information

Export CAD geometry or finite element information for specific analysis codes

Translate analysis results information into HyperMesh binary results format

High-Speed, High-Quality Meshing

With both automatic and semi-automatic shell, tetra- and hexa-meshing capabilities, HyperMesh simplifies the modeling process of complex geometries.

Mass View is a newly developed functionality for the Hypermesh which deals with balancing and trimming different types masses of a model such as structural, non structural, rigid mass, lumped mass. It reduces effort and increases the productivity of Hypermesh users. This Mass View has several features which we will illustrate in the following sections. This tool will be integrated to the Hypermesh as a View in the browser area, when further releases of HyperWorks are released in market.

Background Work:

Altair Engineering is a product design and development, engineering software and cloud computing Software Company. Altair was founded by Jim Scapa, George Christ, and Mark Kistner in 1985. Over its history, it has had various locations near Detroit, Michigan, USA. It is currently headquartered in Troy, Michigan with regional offices throughout America, Europe and Asia. In 1990, HyperMesh was released. In 1994, Altair receives Industry Week's "Technology of the Year" award for OptiStruct.

"Altair Engineering" which started its company as an engineering consultancy, at present it deals with a wide variety of products and services of its own.

Some of these products are:

Solid Thinking

PBS Works


Product Design




For our study we found a problem related to efficiency in performing balancing and trimming different types of model in HyperMesh. To understand Hypermesh better we did a few basic idea of finite element analysis.

Finite Element Analysis:

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) was first developed in 1943 by R. Courant, who utilized the Ritz method of numerical analysis and minimization of variation calculus to obtain approximate solutions to vibration systems.

FEA consists of a computer model of a material or design that is stressed and analyzed for specific results. It is used in new product design, and existing product refinement. A company is able to verify a proposed design will be able to perform to the client's specifications prior to manufacturing or construction. Modifying an existing product or structure is utilized to qualify the product or structure for a new service condition. In case of structural failure, FEA may be used to help determine the design modifications to meet the new condition.

FEA uses a complex system of points called nodes which make a grid called a mesh (Figure 1). This mesh is programmed to contain the material and structural properties which define how the structure will react to certain loading conditions. Nodes are assigned at a certain density throughout the material depending on the anticipated stress levels of a particular area. Regions which will receive large amounts of stress usually have a higher node density than those which experience little or no stress. Points of interest may consist of: fracture point of previously tested material, fillets, corners, complex detail, and high stress areas. The mesh acts like a spider web in that from each node, there extends a mesh element to each of the adjacent nodes. This web of vectors is what carries the material properties to the object, creating many elements.

A description...

Figure 1

Then to understand how to use the HyperMesh software we referred to help files that are available with the product. We did manual and automated testing on Hypermesh functionalities using in house developed automated tools. Also written some automated test script to understand HyperMesh functionalities in details. Tcl/Tk (Tool Command Language/Tool Kit) scripting language is used to develop the required tool for mass trimming and mass balancing.


Users spent significant amount of time in checking, balancing and trimming different types masses of a model (structural, non structural, rigid mass, lumped mass) etc. So in order to reduce the effort and improve performance of our product, it was decided to develop a tool called as mass view for HyperMesh.


The following are our objectives for developing this tool.

Capture the mass managing process from 'typical FEA modeling and provide advanced tools in HM.

Our tool saves 30% of the modeling time of user.

It provides advanced mass balancing/trimming tools to users with good visualization tools in HM.


This tool includes a front end GUI which will display the details of structural and non-structural mass along with the target mass for each component and assembly for a model. The non-structural mass can either be trimmed or balanced to required target mass by changing the location of the mass using this tool. This tool is developed using Tcl/tk and API's exposed to this language from Hypermesh.

6.1. Features and Functionality of Mass View GUI in details:

There are two views under Mass View GUI:

Assembly View

Include View

Mass View GUI provides a graphical Hierarchical tree structure in the form of parent children and siblings. Assembly view includes the assembly column, whereas Include view contains Include column respectively. As shown in figure 2.

A description...

Figure 2

Mass View GUI contains two tabs one for Assembly View and other is Include view tab. From the above figure we see it contains some standard function buttons such as:

Refresh: Used for Mass View hierarchy tree GUI.

Close: Used for exiting Mass View GUI.

FeAbsorb: Used to pop up FeAbsorb GUI on top of Mass View GUI.

Import: Used to perform import of excel sheet data.

Export: Used to perform export of Mass View data into excel sheet.

(a)Import/ Export:

i. Target Mass:

In any mechanical model basically we deal with two types of masses i.e. Structural Mass and Non-Structural Mass. A Structural Mass is the actual mass of the components which are present in a model. A Non-Structural Mass is extra mass, which is added as a customisation on the existing model. For instance we put a carpet on floor of car, fit some music system under the car chair or maybe a carrier on the top of the car for carrying luggage.

The main objective of the Mass View tool is to perform mass balancing and trimming with respect to customisation specification. This is achieved by adding or removal of Non-structural mass on the components.

Target Mass is defined as the customised specification of the mass on different types of components present in any given model. To meet this requirement difference between Total Mass and Target Mass should be zero. Target Mass is the metadata on the components which is subtracted from Total Mass to obtain the Delta.

Total Mass - Target Mass = ∆ (equation1)

Total Mass =Structural Mass + Non-Structural Mass (equation 2)

We can import Target Mass values from the excel sheet and put in the model using our GUI, corresponding to the matching component types which are present in the model and excel sheet (Figure 3 & Figure 4).

Figure 3

Then after import we obtain the delta value on the components from GUI. And then perform mass balancing on those components by adding or removing Non-Structural Mass to it, until delta value becomes zero. And number of Non-Structural Mass added or removed depends on mass magnitude value of respective masses. We can also perform direct editing of Target Mass values from the GUI (circle in red Figure4).

Figure 4

ii. Mass View Data Export:

We can export the mass view data from both the sub views tree structure present in GUI to a excel sheet (Figure 5). First we made necessary changes to the original HM model and then export it. For instance such as adding and removing of Non-Structural Mass to do trimming and mass balance.

iii. Mass View Data Import:

And again we can import it back into our initial original model where we will be able to get back mass entity under the corresponding Components Assemblies and Includes (If only those component, assembly and include entity are present in the model. Else mass entity will go directly under master model as their parent). It reduces the effort of recreating the customised model from the original model.

exported data to excel sheet.JPG

Figure 5

(b)Right Click Functionalities on:

i. Master Model:

We have an option in our GUI which helps us to create mass on master model as parent of it. Master Model is called as the root of the HM model under which rest of the all entities of a model are listed.

ii. Assembly:

Assemblies are those entities which contains the hierarchy of all component entities under it which constitute the basic HM model. On assembly we have three functions. These are as follows (Figure 6):

Create mass: This creates a mass entity on the assembly as child of it

Xref: This shows the references and cross-references on that assembly. It means references are those components and masses and other entities which are under that assembly. References and cross-references are vice-versa of each other.

Isolate: This is used to isolate and display the components which are under that assembly and hide remaining all components from displaying in the graphical display of HM.

right click on assems.JPG

Figure 6

iii. Component:

In finite element analysis elements are grouped under components. Components in general can be defined as the independent parts assembled together to built a HM model having its own set of properties and attributes (ex. We have car steering door). On component we have five functions. These are as follows (Figure 7):

Create mass: This creates a single mass entity on the selected component as child of it, directly from Mass View GUI

Xref: This shows the references and cross-references on that component. Works in a similar fashion to the Xref on assembly.

Show: This is used to show the selected component in the graphical display of model in HM

Hide: This is used to hide the selected component from graphical display of model in HM

Isolate: This is used to Isolate and display only the selected component in the graphical display and hide rest all from displaying it in the graphical display of HM.

rightclick on comps.JPG

Figure 7

iv. Mass:

On Mass entity we have nine different functions. These are the follows (Figure 8):

Edit: This function takes you to property area of HM where one can perform modification of mass attributes.

Delete: This function is used to delete either a single mass or multiple mass entities simultaneously from the Mass View GUI directly by selecting one mass or more for delete.

Review: This is used to highlight all those components which are under the region attribute of mass.

Xref: This is similar to previous entities Xref. As we have mentioned above.

Show: This is similar to previous entities Show function. It does the same operation for all those components which are under the region attribute of mass.

Hide: This is similar to previous entities Hide function. It does the same operation for all those components which are under the region attribute of mass.

Isolate: This is similar to previous entities Isolate function. It does the same operation for all the components which are under the region attribute of mass.

Realize: This is used to realize masses. Realization of mass means this mass is converted into some solver compatible FEM (Finite Element Method) data which is fed to various solvers available in market which in turn returns FEM results (Displacements, Stresses, etc. ex. A material or plate on which force is applied).

Un-realize: It simply revert the mass realization process.

right click on masses.JPG

Figure 8

v. Include:

Include can be described as model superset which contains all other entities under it. For example we can have a HM model which can contain a combination of more than one model in it. For each of this model there must be one "Include" in the combined HM model. And there is one more Include called as "Master Model" which contains all the entities present in this combined HM model.

On Include we have two functions. These are as follows:

Create mass: This is used to create mass as Includes child on the selected include, directly from Mass View GUI.

Xref: This is similar to previous Xref functions used in above case.

(c)FeAbsorb GUI Functionality:

We perform a "FeAbsorb" when we want to get the finite element data of any FEM model in a format which can be compatible with Hypermesh usage. For instance here we do a "FeAbsorb" on the "nsm" type mass we obtain the data from group entities that is FEM data about mass to mass.

Figure 9

And this feature is currently under development. The above Figure 9 is the one which we will be using for performing FeAbsorb on the Nsm Masses in the HM model.


This tool will be used to trim and balance non-structural mass. This tool will allow user to dynamically create/edit the mass entity, realize this mass entity to solver specific entities, and change the location of resultant mass on a component or assembly of a model. This tool will have review/isolate mechanism which will allow user to check the details of the mass being modified for component or assembly. This tool will also allow user to import and export the information from this mass View GUI.


The major drawback of our GUI is it is not dynamic, as it is written in TCL/TK. This means we can't perform instant modification and updating of data from the GUI directly.

As TCL/TK is an interpreted language unlike C or C++. So its performance is bit less compared to C or C++.


This mass view tool is a very user friendly interface which will help to perform mass balancing and trimming easily. It can also perform export and import of data to and from excel sheet. So that these data can be reused, without repetition or burden of re entering the data into HM model manually. This tool will definitely save time and effort of user.

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