A look at simulation and prototyping

11-11-2021 | Posted by Joaquín Martí


Prototyping and simulation enable engineers to test their designs before creating a physical product. This typically results in cost savings, safer testing and early detection of design flaws. Design testing via simulation and/or physical testing are considered best practice. However, reality and theory often conflict. Dassault Systèmes recently sponsored a study, conducted by engineering.com, entitled “A Look at Simulation and Prototyping Practices across the Globe”. This post is based on their findings.

For the study, engineering.com asked 329 engineers, designers, product managers and other readers to report on simulation and physical testing.

The purpose was to understand the use of simulation and its place in the whole design cycle, from concept to manufacturing. They also discovered things like the top barriers to simulation facing engineers today, the top concerns with testing options, and how a company’s size impacts their simulation methods.

SIMULACIÓN Y PROTOTIPOS: UNA PERSPECTIVAThey found that engineers across industries are incorporating simulation at all levels. However, it is clear there is room for improvement. There are barriers in both using simulation software as well as retaining simulation resources. Some interesting observations include:

  • Respondents used several criteria to reach the best design possible. The top five criteria were strength/stiffness (82%) and weight (71%) followed by shock/vibration/modal (64%), durability (62%), and thermal (60%).
  • Because simulation prior to production is ideal, they wanted to discover what prevents engineers from running simulations more often. They discovered three main barriers: a lack of knowledge (47%), the expense (41%), and a lack of trust in the results (37%). 
  • On average, engineers go through 19 iterations of the design-virtual simulation cycle before producing the first part or prototype. The majority (69%) are happy or okay with that, but some (12%) are not. Those who indicated that they are not at all happy with the current number of iterations, on average, responded they would like to aim for 12 iterations.
  • Respondents recognized that the design-simulation cycle could be better. The majority (51%) would enable designers to run analytics themselves much earlier in the design phase; they saw this as a strategy to lower the number of cycles.

In response to those findings, Dassault Systèmes offered the following comments:

  1. A multidisciplinary approach based on a common user-interface could ease access to new domains and increase the range and value of simulation-driven design activities.
  2. Integrated workflows with simulation knowledge built into the designer interface can increase efficiency and volume of simulation, and build trust in the process.
  3. Stronger integration of simulation technology into the design environment, coupled with guided simulation workflows, can improve efficiency and outcomes and further decrease the overall time needed for simulation-based design.
  4. Delivering powerful, yet designer-oriented simulation tools on the cloud, within the designer’s familiar environment, is a key to breaking this log jam and shortening design cycles.

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