In traditional product development workflows, teams have separate people for design and analysis. Work proceeds in a linear fashion. After designers complete their work, they hand their models off to analysts to perform simulation. If the models do not meet the requirements of their operating environments, they are sent back to the designers for rework. These loops can iterate multiple times.
Real-time simulation changes this. It empowers designers to perform their own analysis and simulation as they design. When they make changes to their models, the results update immediately, providing instant feedback regarding the impact of design choices.
Engineers and designers can perform the following kinds of simulation:
Here are five reasons why you can’t afford to miss out on incorporating real-time simulation into your product development process.
As mentioned above, the traditional workflows in engineering are tedious and time consuming. With real-time simulation, designers can identify potential problems early in the design cycle and fix them without having to engage the efforts of a professional analyst.
How much time could you save with each iteration that you eliminate?
At a previous company I assisted in the implementation of CFD using another product. It complicated our workflows by requiring a STEP export of our geometry. We only had two people who were trained in the CFD tool.
That was years ago. Now CFD is available at an affordable price to the masses. It reminds me of when CAD tools became available on personal computers instead of workstations.
Combined with tools like generative design and topology optimization, real-time simulation provides intelligent design assistance to guide your engineers to the right solution.
In my experience, product development teams never have as many people as they need. They are short on designers but even more so on analysts. When you provide simulation tools to your designers, they can use these tools in tandem with design work functions as a force multiplier.
By shifting the burden of basic analysis to designers, you free up your analysts to focus on the more complicated problems that require their expertise.
If there was a tool that enabled you to get to market faster, would that provide you with a competitive advantage? More importantly, if your competitors embrace real-time simulation, what kind of advantage will they have over you?
I worked in consumer electronics supporting the development of products like Amazon Echo when I was at Lab126. First to market confers a real advantage. The Echo was released in November 2014. Two years later, the Google Nest Home was released. According to Voicebot Research, in 2019 Amazon held 53% of the market compared to Google’s 31%. What kind of market share advantage can accelerated product development bring to you?
There is an old parable about two managers arguing about training their employees. “What if we train them and they leave?” asks the first.
“What if we don’t and they stay?”
According to the Work Institute’s 2018 Retention Report, 77% of employee turnover is preventable, and professional development (or the lack thereof) is the top reason that employees leave their companies.
It may sound counterintuitive but developing your employees’ skills and making them more marketable improves retention. Training your designers in simulation makes them more likely to stay, reducing your recruiting costs and schedule delays due to onboarding and ramping up new talent.
When I purchased my first seats of real-time simulation as a CAD administrator, my biggest shocks were (1) how ridiculously inexpensive the licenses were, and (2) how enthusiastic the designers were to perform their own analyses and meet their schedules. Real-time simulation provides benefits to your workflows, schedules, competitive position, and workforce.
Can you afford to miss out on the return on investment (ROI) provided by real-time simulation?
Dave Martin is a Creo, Windchill, and PTC Mathcad instructor and consultant. He is the author of the books “Top Down Design in Creo Parametric,” “Design Intent in Creo Parametric,” and “Configuring Creo Parametric,” all available at amazon.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave currently works as the configuration manager for Elroy Air, which develops autonomous aerial vehicles for middle-mile delivery. Previous employers include Blue Origin, Amazon Prime Air, Amazon Lab126, and PTC. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and is a former armor officer in the United States Army Reserves.