6 Reasons to Love Simulation

Written By: Cat McClintock
  • 7/21/2018

Not so long ago, engineers would have spent many hours hand-drawing a perfect solution to the problem their higher-ups or clients presented them with. Then they would send that solution over to analysis, only to be told the tests had failed. They would have to trash hours, days, weeks, months of work. And before they had computers, they would literally go back to the drawing board. 

We have great news for you: those days are over. Today, design engineers not only have powerful computers to help us work smarter and faster, we can use simulation tools to analyze our work as we go. Isn’t living in the future fantastic?


Simulation in Creo

Simulation tools test real-world stresses on your digital models.

Here are six reasons why old-timey engineers would be jealous of you and your fancy computer programs today.

1. You can fix your designs before they break in real life.

 Can your design take the heat? As in actual high temperatures? Here is one easy way to find out: do a thermal analysis of it with simulation tools that work with your existing design program.

Creo Simulate, for example, helps engineers perform structural, thermal, and vibration analyses with a comprehensive set of finite element analysis capabilities so you can analyze and validate the performance of your 3D virtual prototypes.

If the materials you’re using to build your product or the way you’ve designed it can’t perform under stress, you can find that out much earlier in the design process than was possible, even a few years ago.


 broken drill bit


2. You can find out how they will actually work.

 You have project specs and you know what your design is supposed to do. And you think it will perform as expected. But, how do you know for sure until you build it? When you use simulation in design, you can test your assumptions and prove to your team that you’re right, because you are an engineer and you are never wrong. (Maybe just don’t tell them about the iterations that didn’t perform as expected.)

3. You can skip some prototypes.

 Smart companies prototype designs before sending them to production, but prototyping is slow and expensive. When you design with simulation, you can skip some rounds of prototyping because your software will tell you where and how your design is going to fail before you invest in a physical prototype.

4. You don’t have to do as much rework.

 How would you like to reduce your rework by as much as 30%? Think of all the time you could secretly spend on Reddit instead. Or, okay, working on new projects. One German design firm, Kontec GmbH, cut about 30% of the rework their team typically performs since they started designing with simulation, because they can find and fix problems early on in the design process.

5. You can use the same tools you’re already using.

 Who has the time or energy to learn a whole new software product? Today’s simulation tools are built into the design software you already use. Take Creo Simulate. It works with the Creo 3D CAD software, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time getting up to speed before you can get to work. 

6. You’ll be joining best-in-class manufacturers.

Aberdeen Research wanted to find out what the top 20% of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) were doing to set them apart from their competitors. One difference they found? SMBs use simulation throughout the design process.

According to Aberdeen’s study, best-in-class SMBs are:

  • 21% more likely to use simulation for informing trade-off decisions when determining optimal system architectures.
  • 42% more likely to evaluate multiple physical forces simultaneously.
  • 55% more likely to use simulation tools that look at product behavior at a system level, which offers better visibility into how the components will interact with each other. 

Doesn’t that sound like a party you want to invite yourself to?

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If you’re not using simulation in your designs, why not? Somewhere out there an old engineer is on the verge of giving you a lecture on how back in his day they had to whittle their pencils with a pocket knife before they could start designing the tanks that fought a world war. To learn more about using simulation effectively, download our free e-book now. The few minutes you take to read it might end up saving your company a lot of time, materials, and money.

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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.