Logo build-repair.com
Development 2023

Getting Started With Simulation: Hurdles And How To Overcome Them

Table of contents:

Getting Started With Simulation: Hurdles And How To Overcome Them
Getting Started With Simulation: Hurdles And How To Overcome Them

Video: Getting Started With Simulation: Hurdles And How To Overcome Them

Video: Getting Started With Simulation: Hurdles And How To Overcome Them
Video: [Virtual SUN AP] Improving Remote Simulation Outcomes ​using the INACSL Standards of Best Practice 2023, June

German engineering has always had a good reputation. As an exporting country and a quality location for product quality, it is vital for German medium-sized businesses to maintain the previous quality standards in times of digitalization and globalization. Medium-sized mechanical and plant engineering in particular plays a key role - to this day it is still considered the backbone of the German economy.

Experience was a guarantee of success

He can look back on decades of success and experience. So far, this experience has served as a kind of guarantee of success. But now there is a change: globalization, increasing demand for resources and digitization are leading to an intensification of competition. The wealth of experience of the past is becoming more and more obtainable through technologies such as simulation and optimization.

Smart engineering day

The digitization of production requires a rethink in product development. The Smart Engineering Day offers decision support for the selection of the most suitable methods for the conception, design and development of smart products and machines.

More info

Less development time with at least the same quality

Product development as the core of product development is an important factor in the company's success. In order to master the challenges of the market, opportunities have to be created to shorten the development time without sacrificing product quality. This is where computer aided engineering and simulation come into play.

The graphic shows the effects that can be achieved by using simulation
The graphic shows the effects that can be achieved by using simulation

Simulation has a dual function in the product creation process: on the one hand, it can support decision-making in the first and early design phases, and on the other hand it serves to validate a design in the later phases. In a validating function, simulation is already widely used in industry. However , simulation makes the greatest contribution to more time and cost efficiency in the early development phases. And not all companies are fully exploiting the potential here.

The biggest hurdles: personnel, costs and effort

According to a study by the VMDA 1, the three most common reasons that speak against the introduction of a simulation solution are:

  • lack of human resources,
  • high cost of introduction and
  • the time required for the introduction

In addition, as Marc Vidal, head of Ansys Discovery at Cadfem GmbH, explains, the first advantage that comes with the use of simulation is a better understanding of the product among employees. That, however, is initially not measurable, a problem. Immediately measurable results appear only afterwards.

These reasons mean that simulation is not used
These reasons mean that simulation is not used

Little attention to calculation issues

This is also confirmed by the result of a master's thesis 2, which was carried out at the FH Würzburg-Schweinfurt together with the CAE provider Altair. Based on the results of expert interviews, the author Lisa Schneider identifies the following inhibiting factors:

  • Difficulty calculating ROI,
  • Difficulties in integrating the calculation and
  • internal personal resistance

According to the work, further obstacles are insufficient attention at the management level for the calculation topic, the high costs and effort involved in setting up the simulation, and a lack of staff availability and qualifications.

Uwe Burk, Vice President Euro-Central Solidworks, at Dassault Systèmes comes to a similar assessment: “The decision whether to use simulation software or not is often made by middle management. The use of optimization tools can initially mean additional work for the user - even if we are talking about a few additional mouse clicks that the designer has to do. “This means that the employee also has to be given more time to be able to use these tools.

Uwe Burk, Vice President Euro Central, Solidworks, Dassault Systèmes
Uwe Burk, Vice President Euro Central, Solidworks, Dassault Systèmes

Uwe Burk, Vice President Euro Central, Solidworks, Dassault Systèmes: "In general, one can say that a design-accompanying simulation could do a lot more today if it were already an integral part of the design process, because of the simple handling of such software solutions as Solidworks Simulation engineers are able to use simulation tools to their advantage."

Success with a clear concept

The participants in the VDMA study were also asked about the most important success factors for the introduction of a simulation solution in construction. The most important thing is that the solution is implemented quickly. In second place is the functionality of the software, followed by the requirement that entry into the existing team should be resolved. So solutions are needed that quickly lead to success.

However, according to Marc Vidal, there is often a “fig leaf strategy in SMEs today: The companies use simulation, but there is a lack of the right strategy and the right tool. This creates the impression that the simulation can no longer perform. The promises of innovation and the shortening of development time come up to a certain extent and the user is satisfied with it.

Smart engineering

Rethinking product development

CAE vision: with a clear concept for success

For this reason, he advises beginners or even newcomers to a clear concept: To have the security of doing the best for your company, you should seriously answer the following questions:

  • What role should simulation play in our development process?
  • Is it enough for us that the developer can make physics visible and get a feel for his ideas?
  • Would we change the direction of development based on results from the simulation?
  • Should the simulation deliver validable results that may even be given to the outside world in the form of a specification?

On this basis, a concrete logical strategy ultimately emerges and, if necessary, it also becomes clear whether there is an external need for advice.

Because today there are not only innumerable solutions for the diverse simulation tasks, but also innumerable CAE experts who support the definition of the company-specific CAE vision and can ensure quick success through their expertise. There are also intelligent license systems available that make scalable applications possible at calculable costs.

Supplementary information on simulation in development: the point in time makes the difference

Simulation can start at two different points in product development. On the one hand, it serves in the classic development phases of the validation of the construction; this procedure is very common. On the other hand, simulation can be used as decision support at an early stage in the development process; this is then referred to as simulation-driven development.

Classic product development:

  • The classic development starts with the creation of the concept, often based on the previous experience of the developer. Modifications and the detailing of the model are made manually based on intuition and experience.
  • Then the defined geometry model has to be reduced in complexity and a calculation model generated from it, which can be used to analyze the functional performance of the concept of simulation systems.
  • In its capacity as a validation tool, the CAE is usually only consulted in later phases of the PE. Different system states are evaluated in this way and then, if necessary, manually transferred back into the CAD system landscape.
  • A calculation is then carried out again based on the adapted CAD model. This process is repeated until the CAD model sufficiently meets the requirements.
  • Through this interplay of CAD and calculation models, the product is gradually optimized based on the prevailing previous experience and the intuition of the developer.

Simulation driven design:

  • The virtual design of a component begins with a rough concept or a description of the load cases to be expected.
  • Thanks to the virtual design, information about the dimensioning of the component can be determined in a short time on the basis of less complex, low-detail calculation models.
  • The geometry finding is supported and secured in this way.
  • In addition, numerous product variants can be evaluated and the optimal ones adopted for the concept model.


1st VDMA Trend Survey Simulation + Visualization 2017

2. Master thesis in Innovation in SMEs, Lisa Schneider, University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt in cooperation with Altair Engineering GmbH


Popular by topic