How Simulation Leads to Optimal Designs Early in Development

Written By: Mark Hindsbo
  • 1/28/2019
  • Read Time : 2 min
ANSYS' Mark Hindsbo on instant design feedback

One question on the minds of many product designers is: “When in the product development cycle should I start using simulation?”

The answer is simple. As soon as you have an initial concept it’s time to start simulating. The earlier simulation is brought into the development cycle, the earlier you can identify which concepts and design paths are best.

Around 80 percent of development costs are committed in the early design phases, so it is important to start narrowing down these design paths as soon as possible. Additionally, changes later in development can be 20- to 100-times more expensive.

“Simulation helps you narrow down possible concepts before you start adding details,” says Scott Gilmore, director of business development for design products at ANSYS. “Doing this from the outset saves time and money down the line.”

Real-time simulation software — like PTC’s Creo Simulation Live and ANSYS Discovery Live — offers exceptionally fast simulation capabilities early in the development cycle. As a result, these software options save money, speed up development, and are ideal for exploring design paths early in product development.

How Simulation Changes Early Product Development

As soon as product designers make changes to their designs, Creo Simulation Live and Discovery Live immediately update the simulations. In minutes, designers can explore a large portion of the design space and create more innovative products as a result.

“At the start of development, you simulate the behavior of a concept model that roughs out what you want the product to do,” explains Gilmore. “From there, you iteratively improve the design. Creo Simulation Live and Discovery Live show you right away if the product performance is moving in the right direction.”

Engineer works on simulated model

The instant feedback on a product’s performance helps engineers eliminate problems — and suboptimal design paths — as they design. This not only speeds up time to market, it also empowers engineers to become more creative.

“Because there is more flexibility to look at different design concepts early in development, the designers have more freedom to explore ideas and innovate,” says Gilmore. “The real-time simulation capabilities of Creo Simulation Live and Discovery Live make it feasible to play and experiment with the design.”

How to Bring Simulation into Early Product Development

Typically, product designers are not simulation experts — nor should they be. Product designers need tools that intuitively aid them to make decisions. That is why Creo Simulation Live and Discovery Live removes all the complexities of simulation.

Electronics case tested with Creo Simulation Live

“The designer can focus on the design ideas and how they impact performance,” clarifies Gilmore. “They don’t have to worry about a mesh, geometry or simulation terminology. If the designer has a general understanding of physics, then they can use the software with virtually no training.”

As an added benefit, Creo Simulation Live integrates simulation technology into Creo’s familiar user interface (UI). This helps computer-aided design (CAD) users learn to use simulation because it is packaged within a UI they use on a daily basis.

“They also don’t have to worry about importing the geometry into a new tool set,” said Gilmore. “You can make the changes in the master CAD model and the simulation will automatically update.”

At the end of the day, the ability to quickly update the model and its simulation in Creo Simulation Live or Discovery Live leads to more optimal designs and faster time to market.

Creo Simulation Live Early-Access Program: Try It on Your Own Models

Editor’s note: Creo Simulation Live is unlike any parametric design tool you’ve ever used before. Don’t believe it? Try it on your own models, absolutely free. You don’t even need to own Creo to get started. Choose from the following options:

Try Creo Simulation Live

  • CAD
  • Retail and Consumer Products
  • Connected Devices
  • Simulation

About the Author

Mark Hindsbo

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.