When we think of the shortest path between two points – every child likely knows the answer, “it’s a straight line” – but what about when the points are not physical locations, but are points in time such as the start point of our design process and its end point of a manufactured product? Does the same logic still apply?
It is quite clear that when we are trying to get from point A (our starting point of our design process) to point B (a manufactured product) then we need to think of our journey in terms of data, tools, and contributors. The shortest path involves as few turns, detours, border crossings and handovers possible. So what is the shortest path in this context? The shortest path would be to plan, design, test, optimize, validate, and release your product while using a unified environment with all the contributors, the same data, with the all the contributors being able to easily collaborate. That solution is the 3DEXPERIENCE platform with unified MODSIM capabilities.
MODSIM: Unified Modeling and Simulation
It may not be immediately obvious why the unification of modeling and simulation plays such a key role in defining this journey. One of the reasons for this is the simple fact that in any complex concurrent process, such as those we would associate with a typical product development cycle, one can only advance at the rate of its slowest component – this is called the critical path. Very often it is the testing through simulation that is the bottleneck on the critical path – so if we eliminate the simulation bottleneck, it will have a disproportionately positive impact on the entire innovation process.
The unification of modeling and simulation (MODSIM) on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform has a number of implications that not only eliminate these bottlenecks, but also open up whole new avenues of innovation.
- Automation: The first and most obvious impact of the unification of modeling and simulation is its power to completely automate previously manual time consuming tasks. Since we are not taking any detours by exporting data, MODSIM is inherently very efficient, and allows us to instantly update a simulate when any the model is revised. In addition, since MODSIM gives the simulation full access to CAD parameter and features we can automatically explore design space alternatives.
- Advanced Apps: Another benefit of MODSIM is its support for advanced simulation aware modeling apps. This means that we can create very complex geometries (such multi-layer jelly roll battery cells, or gyroid heat exchanger surfaces) with very simple inputs, and because of MODSIM, we can automatically create an accurate finite element model without any user input whatsoever – whereas normally these geometries take a long while to create, with a significant effort to perform the meshing.
- Integration: The integration of MODSIM within the 3DEXPERIENCE platform means that the simulation models are using the latest engineering data. In addition, the entire Validation and Verification journey can be driven entirely from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, without the need for multiple data handovers. The requirements, test plans, KPIs metrics can all be handled seamlessly.
A good illustrative example of the impact of MODSIM is in the automotive industry where our new Advanced App “Concept Structures Engineering” has massively reduced the time to model, simulate, and optimize conceptual body structures – an item which for years has been the critical path – with our customers telling us that we have reduced the time for this activity from months to weeks. Many of our customer success stories can be found on our website.
The Shortest Path: Transformed Engineering
The technology and the process transformations described above when scaled up can provide the catalyst for significant transformation of traditional engineering process:
- ACCELERATED: The first and most obvious impact of implementation of MODSIM based process is to completely automate previously manual tasks, meaning that they can be done more rapidly. However, a more subtle benefit, through the simplification of the simulation process and the use of advanced tools is the ability to do simulation more early in the development cycle. Both of these benefits contribute to shortening the path.
- INNOVATIVE: The time saved by using MODSIM allows engineers to be more creative and thoughtful in their designs. When combined with the advanced modeling and simulation apps this allows users to be able to test virtual designs that would have not been possible previously and to perform important virtual tests that are not possible or easy to do in the physical world. This ability to be more innovative shortens the path to a more optimal and desirable product.
- EFFICIENT: The fact that many designers and engineers are using this technology to shorten their own work streams, while all working on the same data – a single source of truth, with the ability to share, collaborate, validate and verify their designs all seamlessly in the same environment means that the overall effort and resources to get to a manufactured product can be significantly reduced. – So we can say that while the path is shorter, it can also be said that the journey is also more comfortable.
A good example of this type of transformation is from the consumer packaging industry where we have replaced very long process for designing and testing plastic bottles with highly automated democratized process for designers – which has led to massive savings in plastic use as well as reductions in time to market and cost.
The combination of unified modeling and simulation (MODSIM) and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides the opportunity to travel the path from origin – the initial idea for a product, to the destination – a manufactured product – in a shorter time frame, with greater efficiency, and in greater comfort and style – since the shortest distance between to two points is and always will be a straight line.
Post #1 in this series: Simulation Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
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