Granta Design has announced a new release of the CES Selector software, helping engineering enterprises to make important decisions about materials and processes during product design and development. The latest version will be demonstrated at this week's Materials Science & Technology (MS&T) conference in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Highlights include: a quick, easy-to-use tool providing full lifecycle audits of the environmental impact of products; new support for 'preferred materials', helping to factor-in cost, regulatory, supply chain, and similar issues when materials decisions are made; and new features for packaging and medical device applications.
CES Selector combines comprehensive data on the properties of materials with powerful graphical software for analysis and selection developed at Cambridge University and Granta. It enables designers, engineers, and materials experts to explore materials and process options and to make and justify rational, auditable selection and substitution decisions. It helps materials producers to analyze and position their products. The software is particularly valuable in balancing competing engineering, economic, and environmental objectives.
The 2009 release adds to the Eco Audit Tool, a practical eco design tool first introduced last year. The Tool now accounts for energy or carbon dioxide lost or recovered on product disposal, enabling it to calculate these key environmental indicators for the full product lifecycle. Unlike most tools for computing eco impact, the Eco Audit Tool is very fast and easy to use. It has a clear, simple user interface and an in-built database to provide supporting data. Its goal is not to replace full lifecycle assessment, but to deliver a quick estimate that can guide decisions during product design. It helps to answer 'what if?' questions, such as "What would the different carbon footprints of my product be if I reuse, recycle, combust, or landfill it at the end of its life?"
CES Selector's core materials property graphing and selection tools have also been enhanced. One significant addition is the ability to compile, share, and apply lists of favorite materials. These could be used, for example, to quickly highlight the performance of a company's 'preferred materials', or of materials from particular suppliers, when considering candidate materials for a product. This can help engineers to make more effective comparisons and to consider business criteria during design - for example, with which materials does the company have experience? Or, which can be purchased at favorable prices?
Other new features include tools to help choose materials based on their gas or water permeability, while meeting strength and stiffness requirements. Together with the enhanced Eco Audit Tool, this means that CES Selector 2009 covers two key issues for the packaging industry. Enhancements that speed up and assist materials selection for all users include improved guidance when specifying property criteria to narrow down the range of candidate materials.
CES Selector offers a range of supporting data modules that contain property and processing information on tens of thousands of materials. New price estimates are available for the 3,700 material types covered by Granta's comprehensive MaterialUniverse module, which provides engineering, economic, and property data for the full range of purchasable engineering materials. This release of MaterialUniverse also contains enhanced data on copper alloys, steels, and hybrid and coated materials used in building and construction.
Specialist data modules include the Medical MaterialUniverse, which has been updated with information on 38 additional medical plastics, ensuring excellent coverage of this class of materials. New versions of the well known CAMPUS plastics, IDES plastics, and MMPDS aerospace alloy references are also included.
"Last year we made major enhancements to the usability and graphical interface of CES Selector which signaled a major step forward in its use as a practical design tool," says Dr Patrick Coulter, Chief Operating Officer at Granta. "We're very pleased to be building on these firm foundations with new capabilities tackling issues that are of particular importance to our industrial customers - meeting environmental objectives and minimizing cost, while still improving product performance."