Frequently Asked Questions


Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. Here you will find answers to some of the most common questions that we get asked about 6SigmaET, engineering simulation and more. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please contact us.

General

1. Do you offer trials?

Yes. We offer trial licenses to qualified prospects. The license period can vary based on the stage of evaluation.

2. Do you have sales and support offices around the world?

Future Facilities has offices located in San Jose, New York, London and Tokyo that provide sales and global support. We also have partners across Asia and Europe that provide support within their respective regions.

3. Do you offer consulting services?

Yes, our team conducts thermal simulation projects using 6SigmaET upon request. Contact us to learn more about what types of projects we can help you with!

Why Simulate?

4. Why is simulation important for thermal optimization?

With unlimited space, power and budget, it’s easy to design a cooling system for almost any equipment. However, in reality, all equipment has rigid specifications: you need to reduce power requirements, system weight and cost without compromising performance and reliability. Thermal simulation allows you to experiment with optimization – such as modifying heatsink geometry or reducing fan speeds – in a virtual environment. This is faster, cheaper and safer than physical experimentation and measurement.

5. Why is simulation important for design verification?

No design is complete without using prototypes to test the system, but how many are needed to find the right solution? If problems are discovered, how long will the project be delayed while you fix them? With any late-stage design modifications, there are significant costs required to fix issues. These issues can be identified earlier if thermal simulation is used as part of the design process, reducing the number of prototypes needed for verification.

6. Why is simulation important for thermal design?

Thermal simulation can be used at any stage of thermal design. However, it is most effective when used early. Simulation can show you a range of chassis designs and proposed component layouts on the PCB. This allows you to understand the type of heatsink design required, and helps you to size the right fan (where applicable). It also helps EEs and MEs communicate with you in a more meaningful way, setting the stage for more cooperative product development.

Features

7. Can 6SigmaET import CAD?

Yes, 6SigmaET can import CAD in any format seamlessly. The software is designed to work with CAD shapes, which can be ‘converted’ to native objects to take advantage of ET’s object based gridding among other things.

8. What types of CAD formats can I import in 6SigmaET?

You can import STEP/STP, IGES and STL CAD shapes directly into 6SigmaET without any manipulation or simplification. We have an additional CAD module called 6SigmaGeometry that allows you to manipulate and simplify native CAD formats and turn them into mesh object files (mobj). The *.mobj can then be imported into 6SigmaET for analysis.

9. What type of Electrical CAD (ECAD) files can I import into 6SigmaET?

6SigmaET currently supports the following formats:

  • IDF
  • IDX
  • ODB++ (need an additional license key)
  • GERBER

10. Can 6SigmaET do transient analysis?

Yes, ET can do transient analysis within the basic 6SigmaET interface. There are no additional hidden costs to carry out transient and other advanced simulations, such as Joule Heating, Solar Radiation and Heat Radiation.

11. Can I model fans and blowers?

Yes, we have a host of native objects that can be used to model fans. Users have the option to input fan curves and automatic altitude derating as well as the ability to create complicated fan-control strategies based on the sensor temperature elsewhere. Apart from the native objects, we have an extensive library of fans from fan vendors pre-configured with appropriate Fan Curves that users can take advantage of.

12. Can I model fan control using 6SigmaET?

Yes. We leverage our experience in the data center industry using 6SigmaDCX, where complex fan controls are employed to deliver robust fan controls in 6SigmaET.

13. Can I model liquid cooling applications in 6SigmaET?

Yes, it is very easy and intuitive to setup liquid cooling systems in ET. Users can take advantage of objects like Pumps, Cooling Ducts and Heatsinks to create an easy assembly. Also, ET’s ability to work seamlessly with CAD files makes working with complicated flow loops and designs simple.

14. Are components modeled explicitly or as simple cuboids?

6SigmaET has the flexibility to model components and other native objects as simple cuboids (to reduce complexity and size of the model) or as explicit objects that are completely parameterized. The Package Builder feature lets the user design explicit detailed packages from commonly available package types, like PBGA, FPBGA, PQFP, TBGA and Flip Chip.

15. Can I throttle component power using temperature sensors?

Yes, you can add multiple power curves to a component to model throttling.

16. I have models in Flotherm and Icepak, can I import and convert them into 6SigmaET?

You can! With the introduction of the unencrypted ECXML file format, we can share thermal models created in Flotherm and Icepak with 6SigmaET and vice versa.

17. Can 6SigmaET model control systems?

Yes, 6SigmaET has a comprehensive feature set to model control systems. With the sensors and controllers, you can:

  • Model fans that are controlled based on component temperature
  • Control the flow of coolant in liquid cooling applications
  • Throttle the component power once it reaches the required temperature threshold

18. Can 6SigmaET export data to other tool-sets, such as stress analysis software?

We don’t have a direct connection with any stress analysis tools, but you can export surface temperature, heat fluxes and other relevant data needed for stress analysis in a simple .csv format.

With respect to electrical simulation, we have integrated with Cadence’s Power DC to pass heat flux, surface temperature and heat transfer coefficients to enable fast-transient electrical simulation. To learn more, check out our blog on the importance of thermal co-simulation in the electronics industry

Our Solver

19. What type of solver does 6SigmaET use?

6SigmaET has a Finite Volume (FV) based solver. We have spent a considerable amount of time automating the grid generation and fine tuning the solver for scalability. To learn more about 6SigmaET’s solver, check out our 6SigmaET Solver Handout here.

20. How can ET solve so much faster than other thermal simulation tools?

We have a propriety solver that is optimized to run on our unique grid, which is created using a technique called Multi-Level Unstructured Staggered Grid. We combine the advantages of both Structured and Unstructured grid together, along with the latest Data Structure algorithms to make our solver not only accurate and stable, but also the fastest, as confirmed independently by the industry.