With 3D CAD software, engineers can easily apply stresses and loads to their designs to see how their models will hold up under real-world conditions. In fact, you might use simulation tools already for your work—or you might be thinking about it.
The technology has been available on desktops for several years now. So we wanted to find out how it’s working out for those who rely on it day in and day out. That’s why we checked in with four companies that use simulation regularly.
Specifically, we wanted to know: Where does the technology deliver the most real-world value? And how has it changed their product development cycle?
Here’s what we learned:
Prosthetics manufacturer College Park understands that everybody’s feet are different. That’s why they make fifteen different kinds of prosthetic feet--from the Accent, which fits (and looks great in) a high-heeled shoe, to the Soleus, which can withstand the needs of Paralympic athletes. And within those fifteen models, they can create more than 400,000 different variations that are customized to each particular wearer’s needs.
How do they do it? According to Mike Leydet, director of research at College Park, “we take ideas or sketches, create 3D models within days, review the industrial design aspects, tweak them, and then prototype it all.”
“We can simulate and predict stresses and strains within the 3D models we’ve designed, finding failure modes without building physical prototypes. That cuts many months off the typical design timeline,” says Aaron Taszreak, engineering manager at College Park.
Luxury sports car manufacturer Aston Martin knows that everybody loves a fast car. In addition to fielding its own racing team, Aston Martin supplies three different race car models to thirteen partner teams and eleven customer teams. With simulation, they can see how different iterations of their design will perform in the real world.
“The combination of very good design modeling software and a leading data management solution made PTC our best choice,” says Dan Sayers, chief engineer at Aston Martin Racing. “We used Creo Parametric, along with its Advanced Assembly, Simulation, and Mechanism Analysis Extensions, to design three cars all with very different requirements.”
How do they know it’s working? Their team won the 2016 GTE Pro world championships.
Another company that knows about the need for speed is the Austrian-based motorbike manufacturer KTM. The top international motorcycle racers in Enduro, Motocross, Rally, and US Supercross events ride their bikes--and win.
“We are driven by constant innovation, week after week, race after race,” says Philipp Habsburg, head of research and development at KTM. “If we see that an innovation works in our racing motorcycles, we quickly introduce it into our production bikes — from our superbikes to our children’s motocross lines. Everything we make is based on product excellence and the engineering behind it.”
Thanks to advances in 3D modeling and simulation, “we can quickly take any design and easily modify it,” says company designer Olaf Seger. “We can design, simulate, optimize, and modify every aspect of the complete bike in Creo, and this can all be done in just a few hours, compared with the weeks and months it took previously.”
KTM’s innovation, quality, and performance have made it the fastest-growing motorbike company in the world, and they have an astonishing 257 world titles to show for it.
If you’ve spent much time at water parks, you’ve probably been in a wave pool or a surf pool. That fun day you had may have been engineered by American Wave Machines. They bring surfing everywhere--even if you’re nowhere near the ocean.
The products they make have to be as safe as they are fun. And that safety has to be verified before the products are installed, or the costs of fixing or replacing them can quickly spiral out of control.
The company’s president, Bruce McFarland, says that while a design is still underway, his team uses simulation to check the strength and margins on the model components. With 3D modeling and simulation, McFarland says, his engineers can “design rapidly and include redundant safety. I can look at a design in its entirety and see the bigger picture. This saves time, money and keeps the project on schedule.” Isn’t that what everybody’s after?
To learn more about how to make the most of simulation tools, like these companies, download our free eBook, Best Practices: Better Design with Simulation.