ADAMS Builds Virtual Prototypes
Unlike CAD/CAM software, which models the geometries of parts and static part assemblies, virtual prototyping software simulates how parts of a system move with respect to each other. Using virtual prototyping software, engineers model a mechanical system by simulating its 3-D motion behavior under real-world conditions and then refine and optimize the system through iterative design studies.
With ADAMS software from Mechanical Dynamics Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI), engineers can build and test virtual prototypes, realistically simulating on their computers (both visually and mathematically) the full-motion behavior of complex mechanical systems before building a hardware prototype. Users can quickly analyze hundreds of design variations, testing and refining their designs until the system's performance reaches the desired level. This can help reduce the time and cost involved in developing a new product, while also boosting design quality, according to Mechanical Dynamics.
In the medical field, ADAMS software has played a major part in the design of a six-degree-of-freedom articulating knee joint for a total knee replacement (TKR) prosthesis. ADAMS was used to develop a 3-D dynamic model of the TKR (see illustration), which helped engineers determine articulating surface profiles that would suit a patient's gait pattern and physiology.
ADAMS has also been used for orthotic design. Finding the right orthotic insert design for a patient can be a costly, time-consuming process in which inserts are made and tried until one alleviates the patient's pain. With the help of ADAMS, however, an orthotic manufacturer can simulate a patient's walking and running gait based on leg and ankle measurements. Using these simulations, the manufacturer can see the effects of various orthotic insert designs without actually making them and trying them out on a patient.