A Decade of Load Reconstruction Innovation with Wolf Star Technologies

Tim Hunter, Wolf Star Technologies President, and Susie Ralston, Business Development Manager, at a Dassault Systèmes conference

Whether an engineer is developing a bridge or a bicycle, they will have to address certain difficult but extremely important issues related to strain and load. Finite element analysis (FEA) software can help, but engineers typically do not know the exact loads to place on their FEA models. Even after careful calculations, they are still working with approximations, and without the proper loads to drive analysis models, FEA results are meaningless, even when using strong software.

Wolf Star Technologies, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, developed a solution to this problem. The company’s True-Load software offers a load reconstruction solution that eliminates guesswork by determining optimal gauge placement based on FEA models.

Wolf Star Technologies began developing its True-Load software back in 2010, and released the beta version in February 2011. The official market release came that May. The company started with just one employee, President Tim Hunter, and has since grown to five employees – all women, with the exception of Hunter. From the beginning, Wolf Star has been an official Dassault Systèmes Alliance partner, and in June of 2011, the two companies became further intertwined when Hunter met fe-safe founder John Draper at a conference. Draper was so impressed with True-Load that he immediately made it an fe-safe add-on product.

“We have maintained a great partnership with DS over the years and we continue to leverage the interface to fe-safe,” says Hunter. “We have expanded the portfolio of Wolf Star products to be open to any FEA through the Ceetron platform of API tools. True-Load continues to add capabilities seen nowhere else in the market place such as Hybrid Loading, Contact Control, Sliding Loads and now Fiber Optic Strain Gauge support.”

Wolf Star now offers three load calculation software products:

  • True-Load, which leverages FEA models to place strain gauges on unmodified physical parts and then back-calculates loading. It directly interfaces to FEA fatigue software to make FEA based fatigue with correlated loading events a natural part of the design cycle.
  • True-QSE, which creates Quasi-Static Events by attaching user-defined scaling functions to FEA solutions. It leverages the power of linear superposition and supports interaction with the FEA model to create plots of nodal and elemental functions. True-QSE can create operating deflection shapes. True-Load generates time varying loading functions which are mapped back to FEA results. An output from True-Load is a True-QSE file which allows users to interrogate and iterate on their designs quickly and easily.
  • True-LDE, which is designed to make post-processing Linear Dynamic Events intuitive and interactive. True-LDE leverages the power of linear superposition of modal results and quickly probes the model for responses to user defined excitations. It offers powerful tools to create operating deflection shapes and peak value plots and is a powerful post processor for time domain, frequency domain and PSD domain events. When users prepare their input decks for their FEA solves for True-LDE, the solution time for the FEA solve has been benchmarked to be 90% faster than traditional linear dynamic FEA solutions.

The Wolf Star suite of products all operates in the True-Load environment, and True-Load has been integrated with Abaqus from the very beginning. The first versions of True-Load were developed in the Abaqus/CAE Python environment.

“The super implementation of Python in Abaqus/CAE made development of True-Load very easy to do,” says Hunter. “In 2016 we migrated to the Ceetron FEA Python API. Ceetron has supported us as we have incorporated more features into the software. Our Abaqus customers remain our largest customer base and working with DS is always enjoyable and beneficial to the business.”

Wolf Star Technologies takes pride as a company in the many clients for whom it was able to reduce time and cost through simulation. An example of one of these clients is Ariens, a manufacturer of high end and industrial zero turning radius mowers. Helping Ariens to redesign an engine support structure for a tractor, Wolf Star was able to use True-Load to reduce redesign time from six weeks to five days, and to save hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can read more about Wolf Star’s work with Ariens here.

Though Wolf Star has already accomplished a great deal in the last decade, the company plans to expand its tools and solutions even further in the near future. As customers work on real time implementation of True-Load, Wolf Star hopes to provide tools to make this easier with True-Load/Real-Time. An extension of this technology is embedded True-Load, which embeds the correlation matrices from True-Load into an end user design part with strain gauges embedded in the design.

Additional new features include fiber optic strain gauge placement, which has just been released, as well as a tool called Pre-Load in True-QSE. In the long term, Wolf Star is looking at technologies like virtual and augmented reality as well as artificial intelligence for gauge placement and load calculation.

Wolf Star Technologies plans to continue its partnership with Dassault Systèmes, which has been highly valuable over the last decade, says Hunter.

“Our partnership with DS has brought us many benefits throughout the last 10 years,” he remarks. “The most important of which is the network of DS experts (technical, sales and marketing) as well as networking with DS customers at conferences, referrals to existing DS customers and overall general support as we started and grew Wolf Star Technologies. Even in the difficulties of 2020, DS has worked to innovate and provide ways for us to do outreach. We look forward to another 10 years as great partners!”

Watch a presentation on Wolf Star’s technology here


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Clare Scott

Clare Scott is a SIMULIA Creative Content Advocacy Specialist at Dassault Systèmes. Prior to her work here, she wrote about the additive manufacturing industry for 3DPrint.com. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Hiram College and a Master of Arts from University College Dublin. Clare works out of Dassault Systèmes’ Cleveland, Ohio office and enjoys reading, acting in local theatre and spending time outdoors.

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