My name is John, and I’m in charge of the simulation department in this company. This sunny Monday could have been the worst ever in my career.
I remember very well this morning: everything was perfect from the moment I woke up until my morning coffee. Sun was shining, no traffic jam on my way to the office, I could even park my car near the entrance and had time to enjoy the sunny Monday. The temperature of my coffee was just fine; maybe if I had listened to the news I would have perceived the subtle stress in my colleagues’ attitude. I had not: had I switched on the radio news while driving, I can tell you, the temperature of my coffee would have been the tiniest of my concerns.
I happen to work for this company who designs, manufactures and sells cars worldwide. You may have heard about this situation where an incident with a car somewhere in the world catches media attention. In such a situation, one has to decide whether the company will have to recall or not its X million vehicles. This has a massive cost but imagine the cost of our customer security. To better understand the root causes of such an incident, thousands of situations have to be explored, analyzed and this has to be done very quickly; user safety is not an option for us.
We don’t know. You are the expert. Explore all the options
My cup of coffee had barely reached my lips when I heard this ringing phone; it was one of these situations where we had to determine whether the chassis design was the root cause for unbalancing the vehicle leading to poor vehicle dynamics behavior under lateral wind … or maybe it was something else. “We are not sure, hence we need your team to explore all the options”, – in a nutshell, this was the emergency of the day.
I did call upon my most experienced guys for us to plan how we would address this emergency. Exploring multiple variants, understanding which element of the design has failed, reassure our customers of our deep expertise, – or recommend to recall vehicles: we needed to act fast, and we don’t have the time to figure this out with physical testing, only simulation could help us here.
Our attack plan was obvious:
- Retrieve the models we had built using Simcenter solutions to support vehicle design
- Thanks to the company experience, identify the key parameters in the chassis, the controller, the structure as well in the overall system which may have led to this incident
- For each variant of the vehicle range, run the simulation reproducing the scenario and vary the parameters
- From thousands of simulations, extract the key outcome and draw the conclusion.
Nothing critical for us: one may even say “a walk in the park”… let’s be fair, this would be “a walk in the park on a stormy day”.
We cannot run our simulation
“A walk in the park”… Yes, assuming we had access to the company HPC. It was about noon, I had already received dozens of calls from many stakeholders watching the news. I had reassured all of them: “The situation is under control, we will get simulation results for you by the end of the day”. It was about noon when Bob opened the door: “We have a situation, he told me, we cannot run our simulation, the HPC is fully busy for the next week, no way to divert any resources from it”.
The “walk in the park” all of a sudden turned out to be a “base jump without a suit”. Well, Bob is one of these guys who rarely comes with a problem without any solution to propose. It happened the week before he received the visit from the Siemens PLM Software team; they mentioned to him that they now have this agreement with Rescale to make their Simcenter Nastran, Simcenter 3D, Simcenter Amesim and Simcenter STAR-CCM+ software available on the on-demand HPC platform.
Let’s use our own license on the Cloud platform
This Cloud platform allowed us to run many simulations of our Simcenter models with immediate availability of computation resources. Do you know what is great about this Cloud thing? You have access to a virtually infinite and on-demand computation power.
Siemens PLM Software, not only do they deliver good software but they are also very well aware of our difficulties; the partnership they have built with Rescale did allow us to “use our own license” so that we could build an immediate return on investment for these licenses. On the other hand, working with Rescale has gone very smooth: on-demand access to their infrastructure happens to be an operational expenditure. And guess what: in such emergency situation, these costs are easily accepted by management.
In less than an hour, we had access to an online powerful HPC. It was easy and secure to upload them to this platform. Using our own licenses on the platform has been very fast.
Addressing the crisis
It was 12 pm when I almost had a heart attack… it was 5 pm when the simulation department thanks to its thorough analysis of many variants based on the Simcenter simulation software was able to deliver a conclusion to the management.
Our vehicle design was nowhere to be incriminated: most likely there was an unfortunate reaction from the driver which luckily had no dramatic effect.
Even nicer, thanks to Simcenter on the Rescale platform, we were able to explore additional variants and secure our future answer to such cases. It was Monday evening, the sun was still shinning, our design was proven to be robust. Using Simcenter on the cloud-based Rescale platform saved my day.