What are the challenges to simulation-driven design? I’ve been tracking this initiative over the course of 10+ years, and to me there are really four areas of skills and knowledge that you need to be familiar with if you want to be successful with this simulation-driven design initiative.

What You Need to Know

The first one is a focus on engineering and physics, especially in the mechanical space. So this gets into structures, excitation, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, things like that. If you want to be able to make good design decisions based on engineering physics, you have to understand them. 

The second one is the simulation method. Traditionally, the quality of the answers that you get directly from an analysis depends on how well you have employed the principles of the method that’s being used. With finite element analysis, if you have a sharp corner and you load it in almost like torque or bending, you’re going to have infinite stress. That’s the way it’s calculated. There are all sorts of similar issues with different methods. This has been mitigated to some extent by the rise of different types of simulation solutions. Some are templated, and some are real-time analysis for simulation. You need to be aware of this issue and be ready to address it.

The third area is being able to manipulate the geometry of your design. If you’re going to use simulation to drive design decisions, you need to be able to make changes to the geometry, and this means computer-aided design software. You have to know how to manipulate it and how to change it, whether that’s through parametric future-based modeling, direct modeling, facet modeling, or subdivision modeling. 

The last one is how to use and manipulate the simulation software. Right? So being able to apply the loads, especially if you have multiple load sets and multiple bounder conditions. You need to be able to understand how to apply all of those to your simulation model.

Those are four areas you need to be aware of if you’re going to pursue a simulation-driven design initiative. So engineering physics, the simulation method, computer design software, being able to manipulate the geometry of the design, and the simulation software.