Ahead of the Trends: A Responsive Platform for Simulation Management

The thing about trends is: they are always evolving. So, the ability to keep up is a two-fold challenge: how well-positioned was your company for the last set of trends, and how flexibly can you adapt to the next set?

Design World recently evaluated 6 more megatrends in engineering modeling and simulation, to add to their last 8. Many of these relate to improving the way companies manage their simulation data. To see how managing simulation data on the Aras Innovator platform works, and how it helps your business respond flexibly to keep in step with industry trends, check out the video below.

To view the full-length webinar, visit An Innovative Approach to Managing Simulation Using Aras Innovator. 

Evolving Trends in Simulation Management

Several key themes in simulation addressed in the article call for better simulation management. These cover the past, present, and future, so we’ll look at each of these in turn:

A Look at Past Trends

Are you playing catch-up with your Simulation Management strategy, or are you leading the pack? Last year’s trends, according to Design World, includes these top three themes that Aras Simulation Management delivers:

  • Simulation-led, systems-driven product development is achieved when simulation inputs and results are accessible to more engineers for data-driven decisions. This means simulation data should be traceable in the digital thread of product information, clear and understandable, and closely connected with changes that happen elsewhere throughout the lifecycle. Simulation should be a vital part of the product development process as part changes are made, to validate they’re the right ones. 

    Aras Innovator makes this close integration is possible by managing simulation inputs and results – from methods across both systems analysis and 3D CAD/CAE simulations – in Aras Innovator. Both approaches are used at different points throughout the product’s lifecycle, and they are frequently used together to iterate on designs, a process in which outputs from system-level simulations are used as inputs to 3D simulations. See how this is achieved in the recent webinar, An Innovative Approach to Managing Simulation Using Aras Innovator. 
  • Democratization of engineering modeling and simulation is about who can access simulation findings and initiate simulation studies in an organization. This ability is often limited to simulation experts, who then find themselves overloaded with requests and deadlines. The ability to scale this access to more teams and engineers is vital to increasing the widespread use of simulation for key product development decisions, benefiting more domains and more steps throughout the product design process.

    Aras Innovator features browser-based access to simulation results—connected throughout the digital thread to the right versions of the system models, requirements, and parts they relate to. This allows any engineer with permissions to view side-by-side tables comparing multiple simulation runs and browser-based 3D results without the need for specialized software. Push-button “child studies” replicate the conditions of any simulation, with the ability to change variables and initiate a new simulation to compare “like with like”. 
  • Simulation app revolution has been an exciting one to see! Aras maintains a completely open platform that integrates with most any external tools for simulation. Engineers are never limited to using one vendor’s offerings: rather, they can choose the authoring and analysis tool that works best for their domain and methods, and manage the inputs, variables, and results in Aras.

    Leveraging Aras Comet to automate simulation processes in these external tools means users can launch simulations and receive results back to Aras Innovator all without leaving the user interface. This method can also leverage tool-chaining to automate an end-to-end simulation process: preparing CAD data, adjusting variables based on inputs made in Aras Innovator, automating multiple runs with different variables, using the outputs of one simulation tool as the inputs for the next to integrate domains and model fidelities, and completing post-processing steps to deliver easily consumable results back onto the platform. 

    Other integrations are possible with open and flexible interfaces to build connections between the Aras platform and many external authoring tools. Alternately, users can manually run simulations in external tools and simply manage inputs, variables, and results in Aras to create and manage a traceable digital thread record of a product’s development, including all its simulation processes, while still using the tools of their choice. 

Staying Ahead of Three Top Trends Today

So on to the six new trends in the article, which include three trends Aras Simulation Management also closely aligns with today:

  • 21st-century data management is achieved by separating the data from the data model. Aras tops the list of examples in the article, creating a data model for simulation complete with simulation studies, complex branches of simulations that empower users to iterate across design and other variables, logical connections to the requirements each simulation is intended to fulfill, and built-in connections to logical and functional system elements upstream as well as CAD geometry downstream that will make up the physical product one day. 

    This network of data can be visualized and traced for many reasons: for example, to compare physical test results with simulation findings during digital validation; or to introduce real-world environmental conditions into a simulation that previous ran with different, expected environmental conditions. This flexible and modern data model enables simulation data to do more—to have a longer life beyond just its typically limited scope in early product development. It also allows the simulation process to be more—to extend into more parts of the product lifecycle, including the operational phase, due to new traceability and access. 

    And this data model is not rigid or locked-in upon deployment of the Aras platform: rather, it continues to be highly flexible: evolving to these new needs as your teams encounter them. Engineering teams can accommodate the processes they use today and adapt to new ones they aspire to tomorrow. Aras connects simulation processes to other engineering and business processes through the platform’s built-capabilities for workflows, approvals, collaboration, stage gates, permissions models, 3D visualization, quality analysis, and more. 
  • Requirements-management technologies and systems-level engineering are growing more integral by the day to the work of simulation, as modern products that combine software, hardware, electrical and mechanical components push the use of simulation upstream to the earliest phases of the lifecycle.

    Connections with requirements upstream mean simulation results in Aras Innovator can inform the user whether the results meet or fail to meet the indicated requirements. This visual flag can vastly accelerate product development time, eliminating the need to search for related requirements across the organization and reducing the chances for error. 

    The ability to run system-level simulation and analysis in a tight, iterative loop with requirements authoring and system definition allows for a more thorough and efficient systems thinking approach to design. Leveraging this tightly iterative loop together with a disciplined approach to managing its data is critical to realizing the success of modern products in the field.  
  • Co-simulation at multiple (mixed) fidelities points to a very complex approach to simulation that enables the results of a simulation performed at one model fidelity (say, a system model, without 3D geometry) to become the input for a simulation performed at another model fidelity (say, a 3D CAE method). This ability helps engineers to answer questions like, based on the design of the system, how will a known part perform, even if other parts are unknown? Or, based on inputs from a simulation of 3D geometry, how will software perform to, say, enable autonomous driving, notice an anomaly and trigger braking, respond to sensor input and enable a comfort or safety feature, and more. These incredibly complex use cases in physical products are designed using co-simulation and tool-chaining: technologies available with Aras Comet technology and accommodated for on the Aras Innovator platform by connecting system analysis and simulation techniques with 3D CAE and simulation techniques.

A Vision for Future Trends

As noted in the article, Simulation Management holds promise for a number of trends that are still on the horizon for many companies today. For more information on the role of Aras Simulation Management in additional trends cited by the article, including Design Space Exploration, Generative Design, Additive Manufacturing, Simulation for Industrial IoT, Big-Data Analytics, and Cloud Computing, check out the Aras eBook, A Guide to Simulation for Innovation, where each of these topics is explored in turn. It highlights what Aras Simulation Management delivers today in these areas, together with where these capabilities will be taking our community tomorrow, to help our users best address the next wave of trends in engineering modeling and simulation. 

Anonymous