[Study] 3 Eye-Opening Business Results from Simulation-led Design

Written By: Cat McClintock
  • 5/13/2021
  • Read Time : 3 min.
Woman analyzes model in Creo.

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.

Simulation-led Design Leads to Measurable Results

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:

  • Improved engineering productivity, reducing labor and prototype cost by 26- 30%
  • Increased product innovation, broadening design space exploration by 40-60%
  • Decreased cost of quality assurance, by saving 19- 33% on testing costs
The video below from PTC provides a great example of how putting simulation into the hands of designers might work:

Video: Creo Simulation Live is a technology that puts simulation tools from Ansys directly into a 3D solution, Creo.


Better Informed Design

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”

What Simulation-led Design Means to the Analyst

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

  • Higher quality designs coming from design engineering
  • More time to evaluate “what if” scenarios and perform high-end analyses

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

Explore Simulation-led Design


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.

Report: Simulation Software in Product Development

How widespread use of simulation tools could impact the economics and innovation of your products....

  • CAD

About the Author

Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.