Staying competitive in your industry is important regardless of the size of your company. An organization that leads is actively looking to lower production costs, develop more innovative products, and find ways to bring those products to market faster. One of the quickest ways to impact your bottom line is using CAE simulation tools. Utilizing simulation early in the product development process will yield a host of benefits, which we will mention in a bit.  

So, why and how should you invest in simulation tools or simulation services? Should you research and purchase simulation tools for your product development team? Or, should you find a third party with expertise to handle the needed simulation process? Below, we provide answers to guide you in your quest to continually improve your products and processes.

Streamlining the Product Development Process with Simulation

By definition, simulation involves applying Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) to model and test product performance in various scenarios. Before computation advanced to its current state, simulation models were developed manually by doing hand calculations or guessing. 

Technology has advanced so rapidly that it takes significantly longer to solve product development challenges without simulation tools. Prototyping is one of the most time-consuming efforts in product development. Designing a new prototype could take weeks to months or even years, depending on the product and the specific application. Without CAE simulation-based prototyping, it’s easy to overlook scenarios that could compromise long-term product integrity, performance, or stability.

Traditional simulation tools for Finite Element Analysis (FEA) or Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) require an expert for usage and the analysis is run downstream after Design and Engineering have done their part. These “traditional” tools may take days or weeks to run an accurate analysis, and then the CAD model is likely sent back to design and engineering for re-work to accommodate functionality.  

Over the past 15 years, new simulation tools have been developed with a focus to support the design and engineering teams allowing them to design for function, not just form and fit.  These tools allow you to run FEA simulations, CFD simulations, tolerance analyses, and automatically optimize designs for optimal strength while reducing materials and weight.  

There is training needed to learn how to effectively use tools, but not to the level of expertise of a full-time Simulation Analyst. The time savings from these tools can save weeks since they provide results in minutes rather than days or even weeks. 

Let’s look at what these simulation tools can do.

Simulation Using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) 

FEA simulations enable engineering teams to characterize the impact of physical forces like stress, vibration, heat, or fluid flow (Computational Fluid Dynamics – CFD) on their product designs. As an analysis tool, FEA analyzes the behavior of each component in a prototype and then simulates how the entire system, compromising all the components, functions in a real-world scenario.

Ultimately, the goal of conducting FEA or CFD simulations is to identify which specific scenarios will minimize the structural integrity of a product. Conducting such analyses helps engineers gain sufficient information to determine whether to advance a prototype into production. 

Empowering the Design and Engineering Departments  

Newer FEA tools like Creo Simulate and Creo Flow support the belief that simulation should be applied early and as often as possible throughout the product lifecycle. Applying simulations like FEA or CFD early in product design provides design and engineering teams with ideas of how to design for function along with form and fit.  

Generative Design tools (like Creo’s Generative Design Extension) open up new and radical ideas for research and development to create optimal parts and assemblies to reduce waste, reduce cost, reduce weight, and support sustainability initiatives. No matter how experienced the engineer or designer Generative Design tools create designs most cannot imagine. 

Choosing the Right Simulation Tools

How can your organization determine the right simulation tools or services to meet its needs?  Regardless of the level of experience you have in this area, it’s best to find someone with more experience and expertise to uncover new ideas and discuss new tools and technologies that you may not be aware of. 

Our process of helping clients determine what is best for them starts with their goals. What goals do you have? 

  • Increase the introduction of new products 
  • Improve product quality and product or company reputation
  • Reduce costs
  • Reduce materials/waste
  • Adopt a sustainability initiative
  • Increase production
  • Meet/Adapt to market demands

Within these goals, we help determine specific needs and the proper tools.  There are 3 basic paths for utilizing the benefits of simulation:

  • Purchase and implementation/training for using the correct Simulation Tools
  • Utilizing 3HTi or another 3rd party to outsource Simulation services
  • Hybrid plan – Our Simulation experts work side by side with your team.

Finding and investing in the right simulation tools will help engineering teams to:

  • Improve the speed of decision-making since they are relying on faster computational models guided by CAE
  • Improve operational efficiency and minimize unnecessary delays during and beyond the ideation stage. 
  • Dramatically lower production costs
  • Apply mesh refinement to implement rule changes much faster in later iterations of analyses.
  • Conduct sensitivity studies and optimizations driven by simulations
  • Reduce the time and resources spent attempting to validate product designs that should not otherwise have been considered – especially if there was a hint of defectiveness

As technologies evolve, so do simulation tools. Therefore, it’s important to identify a partner who understands the ins and outs of a wide range of simulation techniques and is well-versed in their application across various industries.

Improve Your Performance with 3HTi’s Simulation Services

Beyond improving the speed of product design and the quality of the final product, applying the right simulation tools will help an organization increase its overall operational efficiency. Having the right knowledge to quickly make high-impact decisions on products that will meet customers’ needs and sell faster is best achieved with state-of-the-art simulation.

3HTi’s suite of simulation tools can help any organization take its product development to the next level by providing expertise to make necessary improvements to existing products (and prototypes). 

For more about Generative Design and how it supports Sustainability initiatives, check out this blog – Sustainability Initiatives that can increase profits!

To discover more about how Simulation may be able to help you, contact us today.