By now, most engineers are well versed in the virtues of computer-aided engineering (CAE) software. They know simulation helps analyze and predict product performance in the virtual world, minimizing the need for building costly prototypes. They are aware that use of simulation is crucial for identifying weaknesses in potential designs, for the selection of materials, and as a means of optimizing products to hit specific cost and lightweighting targets.
What engineers are now starting to recognize is that use of simulation early on and throughout the development cycle elevates that value proposition even further. Through investment in analysis tools that are readily accessible to mainstream engineers — not just simulation specialists — engineering organizations can get greater mileage out of simulation practices, exploring many more design concepts in richer detail. At the same time, they can predict the implications of design changes quickly, circumventing (or at least, condensing) the traditional, highly iterative cycle of building and testing physical prototypes.
Early Analysis Yields Optimal Design
The case for ongoing simulation gets even better when the practice is used to zero in on potential problem areas in the early design stages. This allows engineering teams to make adjustments far more easily and protects them from costly missteps that can lead to major product delays or the expense of scrapping physical prototypes and manufacturing tooling on the heels of late-stage design changes. Simulation also plays a key role in allowing engineering teams to validate designs before testing, once again limiting reliance on physical prototyping and helping to shorten product development cycles and accelerate time-to-delivery.
Engineering Productivity Pays the Price of Falling Behind
To learn more about how the latest Dell Precision workstations and software combine to speed your simulation and optimization workflow, download “Stay Current, Be More Productive,” the fourth in a series of DE benchmarking reports sponsored by Intel, Dell and independent software vendors.
Each benchmarking study pits older workstations and simulation software against their modern-day equivalents to see how much time can be saved by updating both your hardware and software. In Autodesk’s case, the new hardware and latest software completed some tasks more than 9X faster.
Improvements Speed Simulation
Autodesk Simulation, as part of the company’s Digital Prototyping solution, offers a portfolio of mechanical, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), composite, structural, and plastics simulation capabilities that have been optimized to exploit modern hardware for optimal performance. The latest versions of Autodesk CFD 2016 and Autodesk Nastran 2016, include algorithm enhancements, meshing improvements and across-the-board solver upgrades that deliver a higher level of performance for both routine and complex simulation tasks.
As the benchmarking results show, Autodesk CFD 2016 running on a modern workstation with dual, multi-core processors (up to 10 cores) will run certain large-scale fluid and thermal analyses more than 9x faster than on a three-year-old workstation. Read the report at to see how much faster different CFD and Nastran problems can be solved via the latest version of Autodesk Simulation running on a modern Dell Precision workstation.
Stay Current to Compete
Widespread use of simulation is a critical component of design success. Companies that remain at a standstill with simulation or haven’t made a commitment to keeping hardware and software up-to-date are at risk of losing their competitive edge by constraining their design practices, which results in sub-optimal products.
Companies will be hard pressed to accommodate increasing product complexity or meet demands for lighter weight, cost-optimized structures without expanding use of simulation throughout the product design lifecycle. Substandard simulation practices also make it more difficult to make ongoing improvements to existing offerings, let alone delve into the exploration needed for launching new categories of products.
Although there are obvious costs associated with hardware and software upgrades, those investments are far outweighed by the resulting benefits of infusing simulation into design practices at both large and small enterprises. Widespread use of simulation has productivity benefits for individual engineers who are empowered to solve tougher design problems in less time. That has huge repercussions. Just imagine what it would mean if you get to market ahead of your competition. What would pulling in a car model a year early, for example, mean for a company’s revenue?
Complex Analysis Results
Autodesk, Intel and Dell collaborated with DE to explore the impact of outdated software and hardware on present-day simulation studies. The partners conducted a benchmark study on both Nastran and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis problems.
Six Nastran analyses were benchmarked, showing a 1.8X to 6.4X solve time reduction using the newer hardware and software. The CFD results were even more impressive, with solve time savings from 2.36X to 9.39X on increasingly large model element counts using Autodesk CFD Flex 2016 on older and current hardware.
The most impressive results involved a large coupled analysis to consider both fluid velocity and thermal properties. The 3D heat transfer analysis of a circuit board with heat generation applied to various chips being cooled with external air at room temperature was studied. The more complex analysis was able to leverage the multiple cores and processors of the new workstation to achieve dramatic speed increases, particularly with the largest number of elements and nodes.
For more information, download the full “Stay Current, Be More Productive” benchmarking report for free.