Design and manufacturing companies use analyses and design simulation to help them make business decisions. So they need to continually manage their ever-expanding number of simulation tools, data, and processes.
These companies find that simulation results need to be integrated with the enterprise’s overall product development environment. But some engineering companies struggle to manage their simulation data, which increases in size and complexity as more simulations are performed over time, according to engineering software maker SolidWorks. When companies run many simulations on a multitude of designs and on different variations of the same design, large amounts of data generated either locally or on a network computer. Often, the data is created and destroyed, or overwritten, when engineers move from one design to the next, or from one simulation to the next.
The challenge is not only in taming the enormous quantities of data, but also in building intelligence to improve consistency, reliability, and repeatability.
Recently, SolidWorks published a white paper that sets out an approach companies can follow to manage simulation data workflows. The paper, titled “Enhancing Data Management Workflows through CAD-Integrated Simulation” outlines for engineers and manufacturers the processes that can be improved via use of integrated CAD tools that allow data management, CAD, and simulation tools to “talk to each other.”
To improve simulation and CAD data management, SolidWorks recommends creating a six-step simulation workflow, to be carried out between the engineer, the simulation engineer, and the simulation manager. When followed, the method allows design simulation to be well traced, offers a collaborative engineering and simulation environment, increases data security, eliminates barriers between departments, and allows managers to make better assessment of risks and informed business decisions, according to the engineering software maker.
The steps are briefly defined below, though the white paper itself provides more detail.
Step 1: The engineer creates CAD files and submits them for simulation requirements.
Step 2: The simulation manager gets an automatic notification from the data management workflow and reviews them. If no simulation is required, the CAD file is returned to the engineering workflow in the data management system.
Step 3: If the design needs to go through the simulation workflow, the manager assigns it to a simulation engineer and may create specific simulation requirements.
Step 4: The simulation engineer reviews the requirements, carriers out the simulation, and submits the CAD file and simulation data back into the workflow.
Step 5: The simulation manager reviews whether the simulation engineer has completed the simulation requirements. If not, the CAD file is resubmitted into the simulation workflow
Step 6: When all requirements are complete, the simulation manager approves the work and submits the CAD file, simulation data, and supporting documents to the main engineering workflow.
Effectively managing simulation data is increasingly important to engineering and manufacturing organizations as simulation becomes a core business process and organizations rely on simulation results as the basis for business decisions and the six-step management process helps companies get there, according to SolidWorks.