Methods Development

As part of our engineering services, ATA is often hired to perform analyses that challenge the capabilities of available commercial software products. This means that ATA engineers often develop their own analysis methods, data translators, and data processing tools to address these shortcomings. The most efficient way to capture these methods and make them available to our staff and customers is to incorporate them into computer software, which we do on a regular basis.

This puts ATA in a unique position for developing new tools and methods that can immediately impact product development. As engineers, we understand the physics and engineering on which the methods being implemented are based. We develop code that works as engineers want it to work, since we ourselves are regular users of the code on our consulting projects. We understand how to create code that is efficient, reliable, maintainable, and expandable enough to be sold commercially.

Many of these internal tools turn out to be of such interest to our customers that we go on to develop them into fully commercial products. All of the software we sell as part of ATA Suite evolved from this process.

While many of our codes develop as a byproduct of a particularly complex analysis, design, or test project, we also have a long history of projects whose entire purpose was to produce custom methods for our clients. These have included macros for Microsoft Excel, highly specialized DMAP alters for Nastran, Matlab scripts for automating complex analysis procedures, and integration of customer codes and procedures into commercial CAD, CAE, and PLM tools. Areas of particular expertise include development of data translators that facilitate sharing of test and analysis data across multiple CAE tools, and advanced signal processing methods that allow spatial and temporal filtering of noisy, broadband test data.

More recently, as a result of our success and experience with methods and software development to support our engineering services customers, we have received funding from several federal government agencies under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program to develop advanced methods in support of their needs. Several of these methods and tools are briefly described below. If you would like additional information related to our methods development capabilities, please contact us.


Automating the Transition of Product Model Data

The Navy requires access to ship product model data throughout each ship’s life cycle. Despite the development of standards such as STEP for exchanging shipbuilding design and lifecycle data, CAD and ship design software vendors have not implemented them. ATA is developing software that enables robust bi-directional transfer of product model data between shipbuilders during design and construction, and enables the delivery of the as-built product model to the Navy in a format compatible with their Leading Edge Architecture for Prototyping Systems (LEAPS) database.

Rapid, Accurate, Satellite Structural Dynamic Modeling Methods

The satellite system dynamic response tool was developed by ATA in support of responsive space needs and provides a means for satellite systems assembled from commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components to be flight qualified without system level test verification. System verification is performed using probabilistic methods to propagate uncertainties associated with major components and with the joints that attach them. The tool is GUI-driven and easy-to-use so that an analyst can rapidly assess satellite performance in support of on-demand launch time frames.

Multiphysics Coupled Analysis Framework for Hypersonic Vehicle Structures

ATA is developing a multiphysics, coupled analysis framework for hypersonic vehicle structures. Our focus is on developing a multiphysics computational fluid dynamics-nonlinear computational structural dynamics (CFD-NLCSD) coupling to address both quasi-static aero-thermal-elastic analysis of the entire vehicle and high-fidelity, dynamic aero-thermal-elastic analysis at the local panel level. This will enable improved hypersonic vehicle structural designs through more accurate identification of critical failure boundaries in these extreme environments.

Methods for Vibration Testing Using Multiple Sine Sweep Excitation

Common force excitation methods used for aircraft ground vibration tests include multi-reference random excitation and sine sweep methods. Multi-reference random methods offer short data collection times but signal-to-noise ratio is often poor. Sinusoidal sweep methods have much better signal-to-noise ratios but are slower to perform. To address these limitations, ATA developed a patent-pending method to perform multi-reference sine sweep tests that combines the speed of multiple-reference random testing with the signal-to-noise ratios of sine sweep tests.