Simulation Takes on Bigger Roles in Product Development: Page 2 of 3

Simulation tools are becoming part of the design engieneer's workbench

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Another major change in the way simulation is functioning in design is the ability to change a part and then see how it functions within the entire assembly, even the finished product.

“Daimler is simulating all of the car, not just some assemblies. They show the flow around the car, by the engine, and into the cabin to see on how it affects the air conditioning,” said Ferguson. “You can do each simulation separately, but then you just get a degree of approximation. So it makes sense to simulate all of the car.”

Data from the Field and Everywhere

With products becoming more complex – for one, everything now has electronics – the simulation has to include a wide range of physics.

“What we’re seeing is the complexity of products, with electrical behaviors and electronics,” said Ravi Shankar, who works with simulation product marketing at Siemens PLM. “That’s leading to need for a multi physics and not just single discipline.”

The New World of Composites and 3D Shapes

The kink in the simulation process is new materials and new shapes created by 3D printing. Since there is no depth of data on how these materials and shapes perform, they still have to be tested in the real world.

“There are opportunities to replace the real world with simulation. It’s less expensive and gives you accurate results,” said Shankar. “Yet with the introduction of new materials and new techniques for joining new materials together and new manufacturing capabilities like additive manufacturing, the tools and materials are seeing quite a few changes. The impact is that companies may in some instances require more physical testing, and that testing will provide data for the simulation.”

simulation, CD Adapco, design

The results of real-world testing of new materials and shapes can be fed into simulation for future digital testing.

“When you start to deal with these more exotic materials, you are in effect designing the material at the same time you’re designing the part. With traditional materials, they’re consistent throughout. With the new materials you have to see its properties in different modeling,” said Patrick Farrell, senior marketing manager for simulation and test solutions at Siemens PLM. “Same with additive manufacturing. It opens up the possibilities for creating shapes that were not possible with other manufacturing. On the testing side, you may have to do more base-level testing to make sure it’s what you expect in the manufacturing process.”

Collaborating with Simulation and Integrating It into Design

Simulation also makes it easier for collaborating teams to enter the design process.

“Allowing departments such as manufacturing, sales, and even marketing, to test the effect of a new product requirement before initiating a design iteration relieves the design team of repetitive tasks performed on previously validated numerical models,”


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