May 2, 2018
I've favored the argument offered in “Making the Case for Digital Exploration” since upfront simulations applications first appeared. I'm equally biased toward the ANSYS concept of “pervasive simulation” throughout the product design process. Yeah, I know some of you may nurse hangovers from past experiences with design and coupled simulation. Technologies evolve over time. Read this paper.
Why? It disproves legacy misconceptions with modern details. Oh, and your future competitiveness is also at play here because this is how product design workflows are evolving.
Arguments against pervasive simulation break a few ways: It's too complicated for designers, it's too wimpy, it's too expensive and our teams have their roles. The first two are true, assuming you're still kickin' it in 1997. Three and four meld, making them more nuanced.
The paper explains how user interfaces and solver advances have lessened the requirement that designers have extensive training or deep knowledge of the physics involved in, say, structural or fluid analyses. Perplexities like meshing have become highly automated, eliminating giant enigmas for non-analysts.
Designers can now run design explorations from the concept on up and get accurate results quickly. High-level analysts can create custom apps and templates for designers to use, both ensuring compliance with best practices and purging routine, time-eating jobs from their daily grind.
Roles change. The paper pointedly notes that the lines between drafters, designers, engineers and analysts has and will continue to blur. This, coupled with easy-to-run CAD and high-power, user-friendly simulation, builds a more nimble workforce where engineers can optimize designs before submitting them for high-level analysis.
Pervasive simulation can help minimize the bottleneck where swarms of designers clog the few analysts with jobs they should do themselves, an effect that chokes everyone's productivity. And it can also help reduce expensive 11th-hour design rework and help you find optimal designs in the least amount of time. In other words, it can pay for itself before you know it.
Still, it's a cultural thing. It's human nature to cling to the ways that worked in the past. To paraphrase something I once wrote in DE: A shot of bourbon, pliers and a burly friend still work to extract a bum tooth. But why use that procedure when there's a better way? Hit the link, download “Making the Case for Digital Exploration” and learn about a better way to develop your new products.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, DE