Air International: Simplifying CAE with Automation and Embedded Expert Knowledge


Air International, a leading supplier of heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, needed to increase the value of their CAE assets while ensuring expert knowledge and design rules were incorporated into the process.

Design and analysis often represent two different sets of expertise in the realm of simulation and modeling. Analysis reveals performance characteristics of a given design, information critical to the design engineer, but due to the complexities of both the tools and the physics, is often conducted by different people. This becomes a constraint on the efficiency of the overall product development process.

This new approach has already generated noticeable improvements in our design group, including significantly reducing the design lifecycle.

Richard Hoyle
Design Manager, Air International

The Problem

Air International needed to find ways to enable design engineers to increasingly perform analysis, but this required implicit guidance with expert knowledge and design rules.

Air International has long made extensive use of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools, particularly in the design and analysis of air conditioning systems, in-vehicle cabins, and for under-hood thermal management. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element analysis, solid modeling and other tools are frequently used. The company’s global engineering strategy has focused on responding quickly to customers and making engineering decisions based on simulation data rather than “best guess”.

When the company first began using simulation, it followed traditional methods; design engineers create concept designs and then pass them “over the wall” to analysts who create models and run simulations to determine their performance. Then, typically several weeks later, the analysts hand the results back to the design engineer.

The problem with this approach is that the analysts rarely have complete familiarity with a particular design; there is a tendency to simply pass the analysis results back to the designer rather than making suggestions for improving the design.


Create custom applications within a low-code environment, that not only streamlined and automated CAE workflows, but also ensured that design rules were followed.

Air International has now created custom EASA applications for many of its most important design tasks. These custom applications act as a simplifying layer over the CAE tools and drastically reduce the complexity of the analysis tasks by eliminating the need for the design engineer to learn and interact with many different programs. When designers use an EASA application, they are implicitly applying “built-in” expertise.


Design engineers with nominal analysis experience were able to effectively leverage these tools, greatly increasing productivity.

In addition to significant ease of use improvements, Air International benefited from many other advantages, including:

  • Deployment of tools and models was easy and fast
  • Access control (who could see results, use apps and collaborate) was implemented, as well as audit information tracking
  • Critical intellectual property embedded in the models was completely secured
  • Custom apps could be developed by experienced modelers without relying on programmers, enabling a highly efficient implementation and knowledge capture process

Benefits of Using EASA for Democratizing CAE Models

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