Engineering in the Material World [Interview]

Written By: Cat McClintock
  • 4/20/2017

New materials data from Granta Design leads to more reliable product results in Creo 4.0

If you’re a design engineer, you know how important materials are to the performance of a product. Weight, strength, manufacturability, sustainability, costs … the materials you choose touch every facet of the product.

Yet too often, designers aren’t efficiently choosing their best options says Stephen Warde, VP Marketing, Granta Design. “They aren’t aware of materials available to them, or waste time hunting for the right data.” In the end, they resort to data from the web, from suppliers, or from past projects – which could be inaccurate.

That’s why Granta, a world leader in materials information technology, and PTC have teamed up to add data for 117 material types to Creo 4.0.

Drawing from Granta’s vast set of materials data, Creo 4.0 includes generic engineering materials types, providing engineering, economic, and environmental data to support materials selection and comparison.


Materials options in Creo 4

Viewing the sample materials data within the Creo interface.


“The materials available in Creo have been carefully chosen to represent a sample of typical material classes,” says Warde. “This means that the sample data itself will often be enough for anyone needing an approximate representation of the material properties, for example during early-stage design.”


[Going to LiveWorx? Meet the experts from Granta Design in person, May 22-25 in Boston.]


The new data is available standard with all Creo 4.0 installations, requiring no extra licenses. I talked recently with Warde and PTC product manager, Mark Fischer, to learn more about the partnership.

How big of a problem is finding and using material data in product design? 

Warde: With materials, it’s not unusual for engineers to get a number flat out wrong. Either because they look up the wrong data or because they transcribe it inaccurately. 
In addition, a lot of data evolves over time. You might be using a number that isn't the best possible property you can get for that material because more testing or work has been done to characterize that property. Or you might be using a number that is measured to different standards to a number you're using elsewhere, so you get consistency problems. 

Fischer: And accuracy matters because you need good materials data to succeed in your downstream product development efforts. Whether it’s simulation, a mass properties calculation, or some type of a dynamic mechanism analysis, material is a key property of that. Simply doing a Google search and finding the first available hit doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get the right material. So, having validated standard materials is critical to, certainly to our customers being successful with designing their products. 

But didn’t Creo already provide data for materials like steel and aluminum?

Fischer: We've historically provided a material database out of the box, but I'll be honest, that database was not a standard set. Now, through the partnership with Granta, users can be confident that they’re using standard, accurate information.  

How do users find this new data?

Fischer: Just install Creo 4.0, go into our material finder, and you will see the Granta library right there at your fingertips. 

How comprehensive is the set of data in Creo 4?  

Warde: The sample data we're providing to Creo includes 117 materials that have been fairly carefully selected to be a representative sample of the engineering materials base. You're going to find something in there that is likely relatively close to the type of material you want to use in your product. If you need more, at Granta we've got data on thousands more materials that users can tap into when they’re ready to expand their options. Our MaterialUniverse covers the full range of engineering material types.  

Stephen Warde, VP Marketing at Granta Design 

How can Creo users access Granta’s “Universe”?  

Warde: There's actually two ways. We have PC-based software called CES Selector. It installs the whole Granta library on your PC. You can find and plot data, and then export it for use in Creo. Alternatively, there's the option of getting it through GRANTA MI, our Materials Information Management System. Quite a number of companies, especially large manufacturing companies, already have that system. GRANTA MI allows you to manage all of your proprietary in house materials data and to load up the Granta reference data alongside it. 

Are the Granta solutions practical for a two or three person shop? Or is this something we're looking at on the enterprise level?

Warde: The CES Selector software is used by companies of all sizes and it's something you can just store on a PC and you have the reference data library right there. It's used by small consultancies, for example, who just want to do some material selection exercises and figure out what would be the right type of material to use for a particular application. 
GRANTA MI is more designed for the big enterprise, for companies that generate a lot of data over time in a lot of different places and need to bring it all together and curate it. 

Where can readers go to learn more about the materials available in the Creo solution, as well as in the more extensive Granta solutions?

Attend our webinar Materials information – why it matters, and how to get it in CAD and PLM.

  • Hear from Granta Design and PTC why quality materials information and property data is essential in product engineering
  • Get a tour of the sample materials data covering 120 representative engineering materials, now available at no extra cost to every user of Creo
  • Learn how and why leading engineering corporations are managing their in-house materials information, capturing vital knowledge, ensuring consistency, and enabling accurate design
  • See Granta’s comprehensive library of materials reference data covering thousands of plastics, metals, composites, and more
  • See how in-house and reference information can be integrated into Creo and Windchill for seamless access and easy assignment.


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About the Author

Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.