Last week, on June 15th, Siemens PLM announced a new strategy related to simulation. At the center of it is a new suite of software called Simcenter that consolidates the number of acquisitions they have made in the space over the past few years. In this post, you’ll find more details on the strategy and my take on the news.

The New Simcenter Suite

The vision behind this new strategy is fairly simple: manufacturers need to continuously predict engineering performance across the development cycle of a product. This starts at the conceptual phase, goes into detailed design and through prototyping and testing. This covers systems, mechanical, electrical and software. It includes digital and physical prototyping and testing.

As a result, the products within the new Simcenter suite match up according to these needs, which includes:

  • Simcenter 1D has not been officially released, but he way it is discussed makes it seem as if it will be coming soon. These capabilities are mainly provided by LMS Imagine.Lab Amesim, although it seems that this application will still be standalone for now. It allows engineers to simulate the performance of systems across multiple engineering domains in an Model Based System Engineering approach, whereby the model looks like a flowchart but each block contains equations and formulas that mimic performance of that component. Such models can be used with other tools to develop embedded software for control systems, representing the control site of an Model Based Development approach. Additionally, such models can be connected to 3D simulations and run simultaneously. Most notably, these models can be used for Model in the Loop (MiL), Software in the Loop (SiL) and other prototyping methods.
  • Simcenter 3D: This software provides the capabilities to simulate a wide range of physics in 2D and 3D, including structural, acoustics, flow, thermal, motion, and composites. It leverages many different simulation methods and solvers to address multi-physics and co-simulation. It can be connected to both the capabilities of 1D simulation capabilities as well as testing management. These capabilities represent the consolidation of a number of different products including NX CAE, NX Nastran, LMS Virtual.Lab, LMS Samtech. Femap, STAR-CD, STAR-CCM, which offers structural analysis and many advanced fluids simulation capabilities, looks like it will be a standalone products for now, but I imagine it will be wrapped into the Simcenter 3D offering in the future. Additionally, Simcenter 3D will integrate closely with Fibersim, a simulation tool for the design and analysis of composite structures.
  • Last week’s announcement does not include the release of anything called Simcenter Test, but I imagine it will be coming in the near future. The acquisition of LMS brought a number of test data acquisition and management tools into Siemens PLM, including Test.Lab and SCADAS system. I would like for this set of capabilities to be expanded and integrated more closely with Simcenter 1D and Simcenter 3D.

A detail that often gets lost as part of this announcement is that these new offerings are built upon a platform of capabilities. For example, design study capabilities that enable sensitivity, optimization and design of experiment studies are being consolidated into the platform so it can be leveraged across all Simcenter offerings. By doing so, any investment to improve or expand these tools will be leveraged throughout the Simcenter suite. Many of the advantages and benefits seen from the transformation of Teamcenter into a platform will also be reaped here.

Additionally, Teamcenter simulation management capabilities are being expanded to manage the artifacts and deliverables from the entire Simcenter suite.

My Take

So what’s my take? Here are my thoughts.

  • Three and a half years ago, when Siemens PLM acquired LMS, I was pleased about the possibility of integrating NX simulation capabilities with test management. I think with this announcement, we’re starting to see that come to fruition. Siemens PLM is not there quite yet, but the ability to predict performance continuously over time offers significant advantages. Too many organizations have to recreate simulations as a product or system moves from one phase to the next. Managing and maintaining a single view into performance during the entire  development cycle offers great promise.
  • The integration of 1D and 3D simulations offers a more formal means of spiral development, where engineers can progressively increase the accuracy of predicting performance, by replacing components of a system simulation with fully detailed 3D simulations, over time. In the past, many organizations have had to hack this together on their own. But Simcenter should allow them to do it more formally and track it all in Teamcenter.
  • Over time, I expect the full CD-Adapco suite will be integrated into the Simcenter suite, providing one seamless and integrated set of capabilities that span a very wide set of physics.

In all, this is a good sign from Siemens PLM that they are moving their simulation capabilities in the right direction.