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Democratisation of CAE workflows

By Rafiq Somani, Area Vice President – India and South Asia Pacific, Ansys,

Added 25 July 2022

CAE allows engineers to gain complete and meaningful insights into the design and functioning of their products and processes before even the prototype is made. Hence, it naturally forms an important part of the entire engineering product design and operation process.


All engineering products have product design as a critical step in their life cycle. And where there is product design, there is CAE or Computer Aided Engineering. Application of CAE in an engineering products design phase is done across a wide range of indus-tries including, but not limited to au-tomotive, aerospace, defence, healthcare, process industries, electronics, energy,healthcare, consumer goods, etc. The products us-ing CAE can be as small as an IC chip, to large aircraft, bridges, power plants and even space telescopes!

CAE allows engineers to gain complete and mean-ingful insights into the design and functioning of their products and processes before even the prototype is made. Hence, it naturally forms an important part of the entire engineering product design and opera-tion process. CAE helps by simulating and predicting real-life end-to-end solutions for the entire product engineering process right from the early conceptual and planning phase, complete product verification to validation design V-cycle and product optimisa-tion, to plant engineering, invento-ry and even materials management. Thus, making CAE a truly pervasive engineering solution.


Democratisation in CAE-based product development means empowering the non-experts to take advantage of the available simulation technolo-gy. CAE experts can put the power of simulation safely into non-experts’ hands to overcome the general lack of CAE engineers. Democratisation, therefore, changes the landscape completely and helps in reach as well. It helps leverage the skill of CAE experts by consequent reuse of verified and validated workflows. It also in-cludes the standardisation of repetitive CAE workflows independent from user and region and means an expert  focus on product and design expertise and not simulation skills. 
Simulation workflows are set up, param-eterised and automated for democratisation. Due to the parameterisation, different designs can now be evaluated and the parameters made available to the user via a web front-end. Workflow automation and democratisa-tion yield huge benefits that include reducing time and cost in product development and  design optimisation.


In the future, the mobility and transpor-tation industry will see a substantial overhaul. The demands will be driven by key aspects such as sustainability, reliability, safety and low cost of ownership. Most of the current existing au-tomobiles - ICE, EVs or hybrid – have multiple and highly complex systems which the OEMs need to con-tinuously innovate and upgrade to match and exceed the market expectations and regulatory standards.
For example, in the automotive industry, it is a re-quirement for vehicle manufacturers to have a virtu-al and empirical validation of parts and processes for generating a request for quotation (RFQ), which many times becomes a deciding factor while declaring indus-try and business awards. Hence, overall efficiency is key for OEMs and suppliers to be able to remain relevant in the market and leveraging CAE for the same is no longer an option they can avoid.


Even today, most companies that leverage CAE fail to realise the benefits of the tools and technologies at the different stages of the design life cycle. As suppli-ers to major automotive, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are responsible for the majority of product de-sign across different automotive sub-sectors. Yet these organisations face significant challenges as they try to expand their CAE capabilities in an attempt to speed time-to-market and stay ahead of the competition. 
High fidelity multiphysics simulations require ad-vanced simulation techniques, intensive training, exper-tise and experienced CAE users. Most of these expertise people are spending time on setting up the simulation workflow which is highly manual in many situations. It is in turn affecting productivity and efficiency.
Many a time, product design organisations experi-ence efficiency loss within the product design cycle due to the long turnaround times needed for complex sim-ulations. They are also largely limited to the number of simulation models they can run at a single time. This also means a limitation to the size and complexity of the models that it can create. 
There are also a lot of delays in productivity due to hardware constraints and most of the time there is no effective utilisation of resources and technology due to isolated hardware. There is a need to scale simulations to an HPC or a high-performance computing cluster. Managing the simulation process and CAE data is one of the major challenges across the different industries, and the automotive industry is no exception to this.


Ansys Discovery allows you to answer critical design questions earlier in the design process. This upfront approach to simulation saves time and effort on prototyp-ing as you explore multiple design concepts in real-time with no need to wait for simulation results. “By using Ansys Discovery solutions, many of our customers re-duce their concept design time in the range of 20-50 per cent in automotive applications”.
Automating, integrating and creating easy to use simulation templates can bring the power of sim-ulation to the simulation non-experts with shorter learning curves. They can use these templates to run the complex multiphysics applications in a quick turnaround time. Ansys provides multiple custo-misation solutions to create simulation templates and automated workflows. Ansys customisation toolkit-based workflows yielded a 25 to 30 per cent improvement in overall engineering productivity, which led to a savings of approximately three man-months per engineer for tier-I automotive suppliers.
Many times, automotive companies perform ex-perimental designs to study the effect of its parame-ters on the performance, reliability, light-weighting and efficiency of the product. Ansys parametric solvers can help companies in solving the DOE studies which further can be extended to extract the response surfaces and reduce order models (ROM). These ROMs can be used for simulating quick de-sign changes and can also be used in system-level simulations. Customers observed a 40 per cent re-duction in design cycle time with simulation soft-ware and a 4x increase in the number of simulations.
Scaling simulation workloads from isolated workstations to an HPC cluster means a reduc-tion in runtime and an improvement in engineer-ing productivity by supporting multiple complex simulations at a single time. It not only increases the utilisation of resources, but is also easy to de-ploy, configure, and operate. Around 90 per cent efficiency for parallel and up to 10x the improve-ment to product development productivity, insight,  and performance. 
Ansys Minerva can boost engineering produc-tivity with an efficient simulation process and data management. Companies will be able to secure crit-ical simulation data, provide process and decision support, and deliver immediate benefits by connect-ing powerful simulation and optimisation solutions to your existing ecosystem of tools and processes.
With CAE, design decisions can be made based on performance impact and can be evaluated and advanced using simulations rather than physical prototype testing. CAE can deliver faster perfor-mance insights when design changes are less expensive to make, especially when it is earlier in the design cycle. It also aids engineers in recognising the performance implications of their designs as well as the risks. With proper integration into product and manufacturing development, CAE allows quicker resolution to the problem that brings down the cost. Also, the warranty exposure is reduced by identify-ing and eliminating potential problems. 


With the CAE workflow process, there is no need for companies to build physical prototypes. This means faster product development, especially in the early stages of development. In the past 10 years, comput-er simulations have replaced time-consuming and costly physical prototypes with computer-generated models that fuel innovation. From concept to reali-ty, simulations provide a fast and efficient informa-tion-based development process.
Engineering simulation, coupled with high-per-formance cloud computing ensures that the overall development process and also the cost and time of each iteration cycle reduces significantly. Through simulation solutions, simultaneous design evalu-ation of thermal, stress and dynamic performance is possible. There can also be a concurrent develop-ment of multiple design proposals and a full assess-ment of design performance.


The democratisation of CAE workflows empowers experts to apply established simulation workflows to improve their design decisions even in agile devel-opment scenarios. It allows increased automation, increased design and analysis output, bringing up of analysis upfront the design cycle, a more thor-ough evaluation of design proposals and over 90 per cent reduction in FEA (finite element analysis)  analysis time.  

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