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Making sustainable materials choices

14 September 2012

Granta Design has released CES Selector 2013, a software tool used by engineering organisations around the world to help them make better, more cost-effective, and sustainable material choices.

The latest version enhances support for early stage design or re-design activities by enabling rapid identification of materials that exhibit an optimal combination of properties for a given application.

Identifying ‘optimal’ materials at the earliest stage in a design project avoids the need for additional design iterations comparing alternative material choices, meaning products get to market quicker and at lower cost.

Best known for highly graphical material charting tools (Ashby Charts), CES Selector 2013 is now best placed to meet the broader challenges of materials comparison, replacement, equivalency, and substitution. The new ‘Find Similar’ tool, for example, allows users to easily identify drop-in replacement materials in cases of material obsolescence, restricted substance legislation, or simply rising costs. Clear comparison tables inform decisions, even when there is insufficient design information for a more rational selection methodology.

A key focus of CES Selector continues to be tools, used during the early stages of design, for rapid assessment of the environmental impacts of products across their complete lifecycle. Responding to user feedback, the Eco Audit Tool provides not just the life cycle energy usage and CO2 footprint, but new interactive charts showing the effects of changing material or process choices (both graphically and overall percentage change). The software can also suggest strategies for improving environmental performance.

The Eco Audit Tool draws both engineering and environmental information from Granta’s MaterialUniverse (providing complete material property data for nearly 4,000 records, and covering virtually all purchasable engineering materials and related processes). Continued expansion of this unique dataset has, this year, particular impact for those interested in lightweight design (with new high strength steels and glass reinforced polyesters and polyamides).

Enhancements to the Hybrid Synthesizer enable the modelling of advanced multi-material hybrid systems, including unbalanced sandwich panels, multi-layer materials and composite laminates, aiding the development of new lightweight composite materials. Granta’s chief operating officer, Dr Patrick Coulter takes up the story:

“CES Selector 2013 makes it even easier for design teams to identify optimal material solutions and replacements in the early stages of product development. By performing this upfront material selection activity, companies can reduce time spent on design iteration later in the process, thereby cutting the all-important time to market”

Readers who would like to find out more about the enhanced support for eco design in CES Selector 2013 can join Granta’s Dr Jamie O’Hare and Dr Leigh Holloway from Eco3 on October 11 2012 for a web seminar, which will feature advice from Leigh on how to get started on eco design, together with practical case studies. You can register for this free web seminar here

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