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In 2007, the German software firm Computer Simulation Technology (CST) started the development of two new products for CST STUDIO SUITE™ after it bought a stake in SimLab Software GmbH. The German SimLab develops and markets software products and services in the field of electromagnetic compatibility or EMC. "We have noticed a strong increase in demand for simulation tools from the EMC market. As a result of our collaboration with Simlab, we are able to streamline our customers' workflow, offering a combination of leading edge PCB and cable analyses with highly accurate full 3D EM simulation," said Martin Timm, Marketing Director, CST.
CST and SimLab have been working on the joint development and marketing of CST PCB STUDIO™ (CST PCBS) and CST CABLE STUDIO™ (CST CS). CST PCBS is a specialist tool for the investigation of signal and power integrity and the simulation of EMC and EMI effects on printed circuit boards. Both tools will be fully integrated in CST DESIGN ENVIRONMENT™ with CST STUDIO SUITE version 2009. While the product is previewed for release in Q4 2008, test versions will be available from May this year.
CST’s flagship product is CST MICROWAVE STUDIO® (CST MWS). It is renown for its user friendliness and workflow integration. It is the leading edge tool for the fast and accurate simulation of high frequency devices such as antennas, filters, and couplers, as well as 3D effects on planar and multi-layer structures, signal integrity (SI) and EMC. CST MWS offers considerable product to market advantages such as shorter development cycles, virtual prototyping before physical trials, and optimization instead of experimentation. Typical analyses include radiation patterns and emissions simulation, voltage distributions on probes, current flow through components, scattering parameters, and impedances. CST MWS is currently used in industries as diverse as automotive, telecommunications, defense, electronics and medical equipment and its clients include Mitsubishi, Siemens, Samsung, IBM and Intel.
Through a series of tie-ups and acquisitions, CST is increasing its product offering to meet and anticipate its customers’ needs. Besides the already mentioned tie-up with SimLab, CST has recently acquired all rights to the circuit simulation tool LINMIC, a significant step, since 3D EM / circuit co-simulation is becoming increasingly important.
Similarly, a few months ago, CST acquired the Flomerics electromagnetics simulation software business including MicroStripes and Flo/EMC. "Through this acquisition, CST will gain complementary EM technology for its customers; of particular interest is the transmission line matrix (TLM) method as an alternative time domain approach.
Furthermore, Flomerics' strong position in the EMC market and related specialized product features will offer new possibilities to CST's users, also operating in this market," says the company.
Collaborations with technology leaders such as Intel also play a vital role in CST’s product development. CST is continuously working to improve simulation performance by following two strategies: by implementing groundbreaking algorithms, like CST’s proprietary Perfect Boundary Approximation (PBA)®, but also through hardware implementation. CST’s collaboration with Intel means that optimum performance is ensured on current and future generations of workstations. Working with Acceleware, a company which specializes in the development and marketing of special purpose software and hardware acceleration products, CST has created a GPU based hardware acceleration solution to further reduce simulation times. In order to tackle very large problems that typically occur in automotive applications, CST will soon release MPI based cluster implementation.
Automotive Industries spoke to Bernhard Wagner, managing director of CST.
AI: How do automotive companies benefits by using CST MICROWAVE STUDIO for simulation purposes?
The last few years have seen an enormous increase in the number of electronic systems being integrated into a vehicle as standard. Typical electronic systems include engine management systems, ‘infotainment’, anti-collision sensors, tyre pressure sensors etc., not to mention the increasing number of wireless systems such as keyless entry, mobile communications, satellite navigation and broadcast radio reception.
For any particular project within the automotive industry, there are numerous multi-discipline design teams working on different aspects of, and systems for, a vehicle. Ensuring that all of these systems when brought together will work as intended is a major challenge for design teams. The inclusion of these electronic and wireless systems means that a vehicle is now a highly complex electromagnetic environment which requires particular attention in design and integration.
CST’s products can be applied to EMC problems including cable harnesses but can also be used to characterize and optimize single EM components such as antennas, sensors, actuators. This can all happen before going into the lab or measurement chamber which not only saves substantial costs especially for new or cutting edge products, but also reduces design risk and improves overall performance and profitability.
AI: Can you please give us examples of which automotive companies have used CST’s products and how these products have been used?
Practically all manufacturers and suppliers to the automotive industry have CST simulation technology in their design chain. Typical applications are distance radar, car glass antennas, air bag sensors and shielding of electronics.
AI: What are some of the aerospace, military and automotive components of CST’s products?
CST’s technology is applicable to all kind of electromagnetic phenomena, from DC to light CST’s customers operate in industries as diverse as Telecommunications, Defense, Automotive, Electronics, and Medical Equipment.
AI: What are the design challenges facing these industries and how do EMC and SI-PI simulation help meet these challenges?
The main challenge for all industries is developing increasingly complex electromagnetic systems in the shortest possible time. Extensive prototyping cycles directly oppose this objective. Engineers have to know, not to guess, whether a device will eventually work. This is where simulation comes into play. 3D EM simulation can tell you right now whether your antenna will work as expected, and that it will not only work in an isolated environment, but also when installed in the intended positions. It shows you how your signal travels along cables or transmission lines on a PCB, how much it will radiate, or how much it is susceptible to radiation. A simulation of your power ground system may expose IR drops. All this before you have actually built the system. CST’s simulation tools are continuously improved to meet the need to simulate not only simplified single elements, but whole systems in their environment. This can only be accomplished by collaborating with partners providing best-in-class solutions in domains neighbored to CST’s area of expertise, 3D EM simulation.
AI: Please tell us a little about CST’s corporate strategy in terms of expanding product and services offerings. What role do mergers and acquisitions play?
CST's goal is to deliver the best technology for all kinds of electromagnetic simulation. Consequently, we have been investing continuously and heavily in R+D as well as in customer service which in turn provides us with vitally important feedback from the industry. In addition we are committed to interoperability; working to allow customers to connect the best tool in each simulation class.
As can be seen from our recent deals with Simlab and Flomerics, we do not exclude acquisitions as a strategic option. But primarily, we have been growing organically and on a profitable basis. We would consider ourselves to be conservative when it comes to financial dealings and long-term cooperations, but progressive with respect to new technologies.