Early design decisions can lock in 80 percent of product development costs. Meanwhile, suboptimal concept designs can trigger expensive late-stage changes. So, how do product designers arrive at optimal concepts faster?
Well, if engineers use simulation to give designs a passing grade, why not use simulation to guide design decisions from the beginning?
The two main reasons are that most product designers are not simulation experts and traditional simulations take days, or weeks, to create.
This is where PTC’s Creo Simulation Live and ANSYS Discovery Live come into play. These unique tools offer intuitive, real-time simulation technology. Real-time simulations help product designers improve their geometries, try new things, and get better at their jobs.
A Crowd Gathers for Demo of Creo Simulation Live.
“When you design without simulation, you end up overdesigning,” says Justin Hendrickson, director of Discovery product management at ANSYS. “When you put simulation in the hands of product designers, they make informed decisions that are significantly better.”
A good designer understands physics. But simulation concepts like tetrahedral meshing, convergence, and finite elements weren’t on the college syllabus — nor should they be added.
“The designer should only have to worry about the physical behaviors — not the simulation setup,” explains Hendrickson. “The designers need to understand how stresses and moments affect their products — not the numerical models that solve the differential equations of Newton, Navier-Stokes, and Maxwell. Creo Simulation Live and ANSYS Discovery Live use intelligent solvers that take on the responsibility of creating working simulations. This way, designers can focus on how the physics affect their geometries.”
Simulation tools need to be fast, easy, and accurate enough to get a designer’s geometry in the right ballpark.
Designers can make rapid changes and trade-offs when they have real-time insight into the behaviors of their products. Ultimately, this enables product designers to arrive at optimal geometries.
Creo Simulation Live and ANSYS Discovery Live focus on ease of use and speed. They are guiding tools.
“When you make simulation fast and easy, designers use it up front,” says Hendrickson. “It empowers them to know more about their designs.
“Any time designers see a simulation result,” he adds, “the next thing they do is modify the design based on that information. The breakthrough is that we can do this intuitively and at the speed of thought.”
However, real-time simulation is more than a divining rod for better designs. It also helps product designers discover and test new ideas.
If simulation results are near instant, then why not go off script? The speed encourages designers to simulate that eureka moment. The cost of this exploration is a couple of minutes. And it is risk-free: Any off-script explorations that are ineffective can be undone with the click of a button.
“The most important question designers face is ‘what if,’” says Hendrickson. “We are making the answer to ‘what if’ very quick and affordable. We want to bring these answers as close as possible to those who shape the product.”
ANSYS Discovery Live was the first software to introduce the concept of real-time simulation. The software couples direct geometry modeling with real-time physics solvers. Together, these technologies update simulations at a remarkable speed.
This speed is achieved by computing the simulation results using Nvidia graphics processing units (GPU) instead of central processing units (CPU). Like artificial intelligence, simulation is tapping into the computing power of GPUs.
Creo Simulation Live is the first tool to integrate Discovery Live’s simulation capabilities into a computer-aided design (CAD) modeler. This offers product designers real-time simulation tools within a familiar CAD interface.
When designers use simulation to optimize geometry, the overall product improves. These simulations also reduce the risk of costly changes late in the development cycle. This improved focus will mean that product development teams can get to market faster and achieve more design goals early in development.
Simulation technology has become as easy and fast as spreadsheets. It’s so intuitive that any designer can explore numerous geometries while presenting at a meeting. With this speed and ease of use, real-time simulation has the potential to be the biggest change to product development since intuitive CAD.
Mark Hindsbo is the vice president and general manager of the ANSYS Design Business Unit. He has previously worked as vice president of the Developer Business at Microsoft, co-founded an interactive digital agency, and done nuclear research at CERN. Hindsbo has a Master of Science degree in applied physics and mathematics from the Technical University of Denmark.