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Monday, April 11, 2016

Questions from the Simulation Governance Webinar (part 1)

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Q-A You may be aware that CIMdata has been hosting a series of educational webinars. We have seen record attendance and many of the past webinars are available for replay from the CIMdata on-Demand page of our website. I recently hosted a webinar on Simulation Governance which generated lots of questions that we did not have time to answer live, here are some of the questions and their answers. For those of you who were unable to join the webinar you can watch it here.

Watch this space for answers to the remaining questions!


CAD Integrity and CAD readiness for simulation is a key enabler for simulation to be fully integrated into the engineering process. What are some of the steps that need to be put in place to systematically improve this aspect? Are there any good examples of a large corporation accomplishing this systematically?

Yes. At General Motors they have developed a “CAD Maturity Progression.” They started with the gate reviews in their Product Development Process (PDP), and the decisions that need to be made at each gate. They then specified the level of CAD (2D/3D geometry) that is required to enable the simulations to support these decisions. Generally, this means leaving out the manufacturing constraints like fillets, blends, draft angles, small holes, etc.

So, the design team creates the “rough” concept geometry, and only adds the manufacturing detail after the CAE assessments are done. CAD does not waste time redesigning after doing the manufacturing detail, and CAE does not waste time “de-featuring” completed CAD models. For every part there is a timetable specifying the level of detail required.

In addition, with the advent of 3D direct modeling tools now inside the major CAD systems as well as tools such as SpaceClaim from ANSYS, analysts as well as designers can rapidly create and/or modify 3D geometry early in the design process that is suitable for use in simulation and manufacturing activities without all of the detail and complexity contained in traditional 3D CAD models.

Due to the fact that simulations use different software than PLM/PDM and CAD, will simulation information have any value being attached to PLM/PDM systems throughout the life cycle of that specific design and affected items?

Yes, absolutely. The drive is towards the “digital enterprise” where all information, not just the CAD, will be captured electronically. CAD is documentation of the physical shape. Simulation is documentation of the design’s capability to meet the customer and performance requirements. It is essential that all this information be connected and retrievable for design verification and validation as well as traceability bake to the “as designed, “as built,” and “as tested” design configurations.

Could you elaborate on global security?

Yes. The major vendors provide software to aerospace/defense companies, DoD, and US DOE Labs, and they comply with regulations on export controls, encryption, etc. You can expect they will be able to meet your requirements according to the state-of-the-art security technology.

Do you have any recommendations for a company beginning in simulation data management on how to move more into the area of simulation process management and how to begin the effort of standardizing simulation processes?

Make a plan to gain control of the data so it is cataloged and you can find previous projects. Then, assess which product requirements can be addressed by simulation. Agree on standard procedures to address those requirements and make the assessments. Be sure to close the loop between product testing and simulation in the context of a FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) process. Make the simulations a routine part of how you do engineering. At that point you can look at ways to automate the simulations and drive them with optimizing tools.

Please provide reference for "your employee costs will double" in ten years.

This is simply based on an inflation rate of 7% a year, which I think is reasonable for highly-skilled employees supported by sophisticated technology. 1.07^10 = 1.97.

Should simulation ROI be part of the simulation governance?

Absolutely, but getting the metrics and measures right can be tricky. CIMdata has a methodology to develop ROI measures for various aspects of PLM projects. Usually, the ROI is quite high. Maybe this is not so surprising, because companies often only come to us after they realize they have a problem.

Some PLM vendors seem to include Simulation Tools under the PLM umbrella, while some don't. What is CIMdata's position on this, and why?

CIMdata considers simulation to be a part of PLM. We have a broad definition. PLM, to us, includes all the tools and processes used for product and manufacturing system development, and over the entire product lifecycle. PLM is not only the software tools—it is the digital-based methodology used to develop new and innovative products.

Can you provide some model-based systems engineering examples other than the well-known HIL/SIL from automotive industry?

The aerospace and defense industry, including NASA and the Department of Defense, has been at the forefront of developing and implementing MBSE processes and technology due to the complexity of the types of systems and systems of systems developed in these industries. Due to the nature of today’s increasingly complex cyber-physical systems in automotive and high tech electronics, it is no longer sufficient to design products within the engineering silos of mechanical, electronics, software, controls, etc. A more holistic and integrated approach is needed—that is the goal of MBSE.

The drive now is to connect systems requirements to the actual design and to the simulation of product performance. That is, connection into the mechanical world. As mentioned in the webinar, Whirlpool is doing MBSE for the development of their products like refrigerators and there are examples in many other industries.

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Keith Meintjes

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