Simulating Innovation and Experience

At the SIMULIA Community Conference, Dassault Systèmes focuses on simulation's potential to bring in a new era of technology and experiences.

Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA Community Conference Bernard Charlès, CEO of Dassault Systèmes, makes his executive remarks at the SIMULIA Community Conference.

Engineers are designing new products and processes daily. Though what happens when designers find themselves wondering about a possible scenario? Or designing a product where it is not possible to conduct physical tests? Engineers turn to simulation to bring more knowledge to the unknown.

But at Dassault Systèmes, simulation is more than just a way to run ‘what if’ scenarios. It’s a gateway to innovation, and at this year’s SIMULIA Community Conference (SCC), held in Berlin from May 18-21, the theme “Simulation Powers Innovation,” presented itself from three different angles: Technology, Platform and Innovator.

“In the simulation world, we need to take simulation beyond just craftwork. We need to go from solve to innovate,” said Bruce Engelmann, chief technology officer at SIMULIA.

Innovation for the Present and the Future

The conference’s keynoters came from Airbus and ExxonMobil, respectively. They highlighted multiple ways that simulation enabled each company to enhance product development. They also discussed what future capabilities are needed to further advance simulation technology.

Dominique Moreau, head of Airframe Technical Authority at Airbus, spoke on the success of the Airbus A350 and the use of numerical simulation and 3D printing throughout the project.  By implementing finite element models and SIMULIA, Airbus was able to eliminate the use of static full-scale testing, reduce cost and lead time.

The use of 3D printing, Moreau notes, was part of Airbus’ initiative to utilize the technology more in the design of the aircraft. Upon completion, the A350 had more than 1,000 3D-printed parts made with Stratasys technology.

Going forward, Moreau points out that there is the need to improve simulation of composites, optimization tools for additive manufactured parts, and most importantly — an integrated CAD/CAE process.

For applications from the Oil & Gas industry, Bruce Dale, chief subsurface engineer at ExxonMobil, discussed the fundamentals of generating energy for the 21st century. He stressed that simulation brings a greater level of understanding for different energy sources, and using SIMULIA offers advanced modeling capabilities for fluid-driven fractures. Through this partnership, Dale noted, ExxonMobil is able to expand on the current fundamentals in the industry and find new ways to help deliver energy.

Expanding the Experience

At SCC15, Dassault Systèmes CEO Bernard Charlès stressed the idea that we are now in an “experience economy.” It is no longer enough to simply provide engineering software, he said platforms are needed that can help create experience-centric products.

“Products are no longer enough,” he said in his executive remarks. “You need to provide the right experience to consumers, since that is what they are buying.”  

To help engineers create products that enhance the consumer experience, Dassault is starting with its own platforms. Charlès mentioned that the 2015x 3DEXPERIENCE Platform doesn’t manage engineering data sets, but is structured into roles.

When a user selects a role, they are shown the necessary applications and processes required for the job. Some jobs for SIMULIA included in the 2015x 3DEXPERIENCE platform include stress engineer, structural analysis engineer, results data analyst and finite element modeling & assembly specialist.

“The role-driven approach has this duty that we create the digital experience of using the capabilities as opposed to learning the capabilities,” Charlès said.

Going Digital

Charlès also noted that innovation can come from another source: digital twins. This idea has gained some leverage within the design engineering sphere, and has been mentioned at conferences such as PTC’s LiveWorx. In Boston, PTC showcased a Santa Cruz bike equipped with sensors that could track data such as speed and tire pressure, and be able to stream it back to the product development team.   

By having an interactive mockup of products that are out in the field, engineers can receive more feedback than they ever could before. To further the adoption of this practice, he stated that Dassault Systèmes is expanding its investments in various industry sectors to help make the digital twin a more mainstream practice.

“[Digital twins] are not the visualization of the real thing, it means that you can innovate on  things more than you could actually do on the physical products themselves. The digital twin is something that’s going to revolutionize and transform the entire economy. It’s much more than modeling, visualization and simulation,” Charlès said.

Living Heart Project

The Living Heart Project remained a topic of discussion at this year’s conference as Dassault Systèmes announced the commercialization of the initiative through a 3D model that can be integrated into life science and medical applications. The collaboration has grown to 45 member organizations that span regulatory, simulation and medical industries.

This model has a variety of anatomic details and also exhibits dynamic response, provided by electrical, structural and fluid flow physics.

“[The realistic model] led us to be able to communicate what we were doing ... cardiologists all the way to grade school children could understand what we were doing with the Living Heart Project,” said Scott Berkey, CEO at SIMULIA. “Last year at this event in Providence, RI, we announced this and we told you what we had been doing for some time, where we had been developing methods and proof of concepts, and then releasing some beta software for project members to be able to use this data. So we’ve really accomplished a lot over 2014.”

But the project isn’t stopping at the software level. Dassault Systèmes has also signed a five-year agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collaborate on research for pacemaker leads, surgeon performance from those leads and other cardiology devices.

This passion for the Living Heart Project is also integrating itself into the company’s vision for the future. Charlès stated that “no company is investing as much as us in the Life Science industry.” This can be seen through the addition of material, chemical and bio sciences to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform as part of the overall technology vision.

Enhancing the Platform

It’s no secret that Dassault Systèmes expands its company’s capabilities and offerings through acquisitions — the organization had one acquisition per month in 2013. But Dassault also forms a formidable number of partnerships to help advance its software and further the capabilities of simulation with SIMULIA and the 3DEXPERIENCE platforms.

“The core mission of SIMULIA within Dassault Systèmes is to advocate for the user. We need to connect ourselves with the user, we need to provide an exchange from our users to us and provide an open exchange for all users,” Engelmann said.

To provide this open exchange, he said there is development to expand access on the cloud, integrate CAD/CAE into the simulation workflow and open partner applications within the 3DXEXPERIENCE portfolio. Other functionalities that Dassault is developing, according to Engelmann, include greater automated workflows for modeling and meshing, lightweight design, visualization and unified access through a Web-based dashboard.

Moving Forward with Technology

For the technological capabilities of SIMULIA, Engelmann said the company plans to deepen its tech portfolio through continuous development, broaden technology coverage and expand into new domains and new physics. By doing so, users will have more access to capabilities for multiphysics and multiscale modeling as well as additive manufacturing.

“We have the building blocks for multiscale modeling,” Engelmann said. “We need to work on bridging all the scales [of each system] and connect them on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Along the lines of broadening technology coverage, Engelmann announced two new partnerships: Brüel & Kjær ES and Computer Simulation Technology (CST).

For additive manufacturing capabilities, SIMULIA is working with customers to help improve functionalities within Abaqus and Tosca that enable users to efficiency simulate parts as well as the additive manufacturing process — removing some of the uncertainty associated with designing and implementing 3D-printed parts.

What Next?

With the pillars of Technology, Platform and Innovator, Dassault Systèmes is looking to build a mindset that the future of simulation is more than simply product updates and new features. It is also about the attitude of the users, increased collaboration and the creation of an experience.

“In the world of simulation, the world of ‘what if’ is a beautiful way to guide innovation,” Charlès said.

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Jess Lulka

Jess Lulka is a former associate editor for Digital Engineering. Contact her via [email protected].

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