PTC defines digital transformation (DX) as a broad business strategy, applicable across all industries, to solve traditional business challenges and create new opportunities through the use of technology. We believe that introducing simulation early in the design process should be part of any discrete manufacturer’s digital transformation efforts. Below, we discuss both our reasoning and the results of a three-year Ansys-sponsored study Quantifying the Return on Investment in Simulation-Led Design Exploration.*
Simulation-Led Design: What it is and Why it Matters
Simulation software has been around for decades, but it’s been the province of specialized analysts with massive computing power. Using advanced physics, analysts test and validate models just before final physical prototyping – by which time 90% of product costs are already baked in. These simulation runs can take weeks. If a major design flaw emerges, the product team may find itself going back to the proverbial drawing board, an experience one designer said was akin to ‘falling through a trap door’.
Our experience shows that manufacturers looking to cut costs, create better products, and get to market faster need to move simulation upfront in their design process. Don’t be intimidated. Technology advances have democratized simulation, and tools now exist to serve the needs of non-specialists who need directional guidance or answers to basic questions. For example, Creo Simulation Live, powered by Ansys, runs in the Creo design environment and responds automatically in real time to any changes designers make to their model.
With simulation-led design, engineers can explore different designs and understand product performance during the concept and early design phases. Compared to the traditional iterative method of beginning with a model, simulating it and then going back to refine the model, using Ansys software for simulation-led design considerably shortens the time from concept to completion.
This example of structural simulation allows users to determine if an object will survive its operating environment or if the loading will result in permanent deformation or failure. The results are easy for non-specialists to interpret.
Consider what would happen if your product designers used simulation that was built into their CAD tool and did so from the first moments of design. Your designers could lead their design process informed by simulation. They could test basic scenarios, rapidly iterate, and advance their own models to the point where analysts can spend more time on issues that merit their expertise. What impact might that have on the economics of your product development efforts or on the likelihood that innovation emerges?