Simulation, or Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), is a method of virtually proving a product or design. Various approaches can be used, including Multibody Dynamics Simulation (MBD), Finite Element Analysis (FEA), or a combination of both. The design is modeled, often starting with Computer Aided Design (CAD) data, and then virtually tested to verify that the design will function as expected under defined operating conditions. The results from the simulation provide insight into the behavior of the design and help engineers make design changes and improvements.
Why use simulation?
Simulation used to be exclusively the domain of large aerospace and automotive companies. However, these days, with powerful inexpensive computers, and affordable easy-to-use software, simulation is being undertaken by more and more small-to-medium sized companies in a wide variety of industries.
The use of simulation in the design process can bring many benefits that will save both time, money and your company’s or product’s reputation, not to mention helping you to innovate faster and get your products to market sooner. Below are just some of the reasons to use simulation.
Arrive at a good design faster and be quicker to market
With an increasing requirement to produce designs in shorter cycles, reduced time-to-market has become the foremost business pressure that drives the adoption of simulation in design. Prototype manufacturing and testing can take up a significant amount of calendar time. However, because simulation allows designs to be tested virtually, the reduced reliance upon physical testing and prototyping and the consequent time saving means you can effectively bring your designs to market sooner.
Reduce physical testing and save money
Manufacturing costs money and testing can also be very expensive. Besides saving time, reducing the testing overhead by using simulation to verify your designs will also mean that you will be able to significantly reduce the expense of manufacturing and testing prototypes, which could amount to a considerable cost saving.
Innovate faster and beat your competition
Customer demand for new higher quality products and increasingly complex customer requirements are major business pressures that face manufacturers today. To satisfy the demand for designs of greater complexity, the ability to innovate quickly in the design cycle becomes vital. Through virtual design experimentation, faster innovation – creative product design and the process of making improvements through the introduction of new ideas – can become a reality with the help of simulation. Simulation can position you ahead of the competition by helping you to improving your current products, create high quality new products and so better serve your customers.
Keep material costs in check
A major concern these days is the rising price of materials. Use of simulation can minimize the amount of material used in a design by optimizing it to be as strong as it needs to be, and eliminating wasteful overdesign. More than that, it is also possible to evaluate the performance of other less expensive materials in the design, bringing further potential savings.
Fix your designs before production, not your products after
Product recalls and product failure in the field is not only very expensive, it also can cause immeasurable damage to the reputation of your company as well as the product itself. Simulating your product designs in the virtual world, where design flaws can be discovered and rectified in a timely manner before the design goes into production, can increase the quality of the design, eliminate costly recalls later, and increase the reputation of the company and product.