Why you should consider using Simulation

By AlRobertson

Virtual testing

If you are involved in the manufacture and testing of prototypes, then you know just how costly and time consuming this method of design verification can be. Finite element analysis (FEA) allows you to perform testing virtually, and has many advantages over trial-and-error physical testing. You can make significant savings by reducing prototype manufacturing costs, and save a lot of time with the faster simulation solutions.

The goal of predicting real-world behavior is to implement a get-it-right-first-time strategy – that is, to perform all testing virtually except for the last and final test, which is the only physical prototype produced and where the risk of failure is reduced as much as possible.

Failure analysis

With the product design completed, manufacturing in full swing and with the product out in the hands of your customers, the possibility of product failure is a nightmare to be avoided if at all possible. At this stage of the process design changes are extremely expensive and difficult to bring about, not to mention the additional cost of potential recalls, warranty costs and damage to the product or company’s reputation.

Simulation can play an important role here by identifying potential trouble spots, which might remain hidden with physical testing, much earlier in the design process where they can be fixed much more quickly and easily.

Solid Edge Simulation

Design optimization

The use of simulation can help optimize your designs by highlighting areas which are over engineered. In these areas material may be removed without adversely affecting structural strength thereby reducing the weight of the design and associated costs. In the same vein, you can evaluate whether alternative, less expensive materials would still be strong enough for the design, with potentially significant cost savings.

Trade-off studies

In the virtual world, without the burden of physical prototypes, it’s very easy to make design changes and perform trade-off studies verifying design alternatives that may improve the performance of the design. Such flexibility promotes innovation which could lead to new market opportunities and potentially increase the number of products you can take to market in a given period of time.

Next steps

As a Solid Edge user you may already have simulation software installed on your computer. Solid Edge has its own built in FEA system – Solid Edge Simulation. Solid Edge Simulation will allow you to validate part and assembly models within the Solid Edge environment. It’s based on proven technology – Femap for finite element modeling and meshing, and NX Nastran for the solution.

You’ll need a license to use the full capability of course, but if you have Solid Edge Classic, then you’ll be able to try out the free version – Solid Edge Simulation Express – and explore the use of simulation on some simpler analyses. So go ahead… see what simulation can do for you and start reaping the benefits.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at