Physics-Based Simulation's Role in Systems Design

Many manufacturers are using smart solutions to meet the holiday season’s high demand. Learn their secrets here.
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Created: 12/4/2020

With the holiday season close at hand, manufacturers all around the world are working hard to produce innovations and advanced technology to meet holiday demands. Designing products using the old ways of building and testing physical prototypes is too slow for these tremendous production requirements, which is why simulation is required to get the job done. With virtual design and validation, engineers are using Ansys’ physics-based simulation for product lightweighting, materials selection, and autonomous vehicle technologies.

Physics-Based Simulation's Role in Systems Design
Source: Ansys

Designing Products Faster

Simulation helps engineers design products faster by replacing slow physical prototype building and testing with rapid design iterations that are evaluated quickly using virtual prototypes. As the simulation software is physics-based, it can accurately emulate the real-world performance of any component — whether you are interested in its structural, fluid, electromagnetic, optical or materials performance. 

Still, standard simulation running on complex components can sometimes take a long time to complete. This year, Ansys launched an all-new Ansys Discovery to generate simulation results nearly instantaneously as clients use the mouse to change product designs on the fly. 

It almost looks like a video game — you change a dimension by dragging a feature graphically onscreen and in seconds you see how this change alters the mechanical, flow, or electromagnetic performance of the component. 

Physics-Based Simulation's Role in Systems Design
Source: Ansys

Users can quickly determine if a change alters the performance in the right direction. Is the stress on a beam getting higher or lower? Is the fluid flow through the device becoming more laminar or turbulent? Is the electromagnetic interference of an antenna on a printed circuit board increasing or decreasing? As each change takes only seconds, users can explore more options and converge on an optimal design in hours, and then run a more complete simulation on the chosen design using a standard solver to delve into the details. 

Making Products Lighter

From toys to bicycles to advanced automotive technology, weight is an important factor in all products being developed today. Lighter weight means easier handling, reduced fuel consumption, and less waste of valuable materials. Ansys’ simulation solutions can help with lightweighting in several ways:

1. Choosing the best material

This is harder than it sounds. There are so many materials data properties on the internet that finding the correct data and making sure that everyone in the company has access to the same data source can be a challenge. 

But that’s no longer a problem with Ansys Granta Selector, a powerful suite of tools for intelligent materials selection. Using interactive charting and comparison tools, users can apply constraints on key properties, trade-off competing performance requirements and systematically find the best candidate materials for each application. 

Perhaps you will be able to replace a heavy stainless steel part with a lighter aluminum one. In the process, you may also be able to reduce the material costs of your product.

2. Optimizing the shape

Using the topology optimization features of Ansys Discovery and Ansys Mechanical, users can trim away materials from locations that are unimportant to the performance of the product to make it lighter and reduce materials usage. Perhaps one component of the product is a solid, rectangular beam of plastic because this is a simple solution that looks like the one used in the industry and one that will easily be approved by the management. 

But what if some alternative shape is possible? One that uses less material and still provides the needed functionality and safety factors? Simply experiment with different designs and apply simulation to determine if rounding off the edges of the rectangular beam, making it thinner, or removing a chunk of material from the center does not reduce the strength or alter the performance of this part. Perhaps you will develop an innovation that will save weight, materials, and money.

3. Generating a new shape automatically

If you don’t think you have the time to search for the best topology, let Ansys’ simulation solutions do it for you. Enter the performance parameters that you require of a part and sit back and watch as the generative simulation software automatically iterates through shapes with your target properties in mind. You’ll likely end up with something that looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before or even imagined, but chances are it can be built using additive manufacturing with less material than you ever thought possible.

Making Products Autonomous

It’s no secret that we are quickly moving toward a future in which automobiles, planes, trains, and taxis will get you to your destination autonomously. Autonomy is already here on a limited basis in the advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) that help new cars stay in their lane, brake automatically when they see something in the road ahead, or parallel park your car hands-free. These are just some first steps on the journey to totally autonomous vehicles (AVs) that will make you a passenger instead of a driver. 

Physics-Based Simulation's Role in Systems Design
Source: Ansys

But AVs require highly sophisticated sensors — radar, lidar, optical cameras, UV cameras — that must interpret every driving scenario perfectly at any time to ensure your safety. Testing AVs could take billions of road miles and hundreds of years. But simulation can get us there much faster using Ansys Autonomy. 

This suite of products includes Ansys SCADE to develop the embedded software that controls these vehicles; Ansys VRXPERIENCE to develop simulators to test the sensors in every possible drivinga scenario; Ansys medini to analyze in a functional safety analysis; and Ansys SPEOS to simulate and assess camera and lidar raw signals in a driving environment. And those are just a few of the many solutions that will make autonomous cars, planes, air taxis, trains, and helicopters a reality in years instead of decades.

An example “factory” of interest this time of year

One well-known distributor that is highly visible during the holiday season is using Ansys solutions to complete a large number of orders. Discover how this northern-most producer is using Ansys products to meet the high demand.

Physics-Based Simulation's Role in Systems Design
Source: Ansys
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