Simulation-led design is an approach to product development in which engineers analyze their work during the design phase. That is, they use tools built into their CAD system to ensure their models pass basic structural, thermal, and modal tests. These tests, in turn, inform the hundreds of decisions designers make, as they’re making them.
It’s a revolutionary idea because, typically, companies follow a more step-based process: Design first, then send the work to the analysis department. There, analysts may import the model into full-fidelity analysis software and then send a report back to designers. Designers use the data to update the model in their CAD system, and so on.
A recent report from Ansys and PTC (leaders in analysis and product design software, respectively) shows that with new technologies, the old process is not only unnecessary, but also wasteful.
In a three-year study, Ansys found that putting simulation up front in the design process leads to an undeniably better return on investment. The study showed improvement in multiple areas when companies used simulation-led design, including:
When design engineers can simulate their own work up front, they can find and fix problems quickly. Innovation comes more easily too.
Imagine you’re working on a bicycle seat assembly and want to try a few new ideas—what if you lengthen the seat post or try a new composite material? How would these changes impact performance of the final part? Unfortunately, most designers don’t have the time to try out all the changes they’d like, especially when they must wait for feedback from analysis.
But with a simulation tool embedded in the CAD system, the designer enjoys more freedom to explore multiple ideas without waiting.
The PTC/Ansys report points out that issues found early are less expensive to fix, too: “Keep in mind that problems discovered midway through the design process can be 20-100X more expensive to deal with than if found and dealt with earlier”
If you’re familiar with simulation analysis during product development, you know that validating models requires high-powered tools and specialized training, especially for products that could impact health and safety.
To be clear, the PTC/Ansys report never suggests we replace the work of a good analysis team. The authors write (emphasis mine):
“Technology advances have democratized simulation, and tools now exist to serve the needs of non-specialists who need directional guidance or answers to basic questions.”
For analysts, that directional guidance means
Analysts (and even savvy design engineers) can then apply high-fidelity thermal, structural, and modal simulation with tools like Creo Simulation Analysis, which integrates Ansys simulation tools into Creo for a seamless design refinement and validation process.
Video: Creo Ansys Simulation is a multifaceted CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) tool with which you can simulate how a model will perform under the stresses posed by real-world conditions
To read more about simulation-led design and the Ansys study, download your free copy of the paper Simulation Software in Product Development Drives Digital Transformation at Lightspeed. Tip: Try out the link to the ROI calculator to see if this new approach to product development will yield meaningful results for your next project.
How widespread use of simulation tools could impact the economics and innovation of your products