Throughout history, many revolutions have started with the desire for democracy, and the simulation revolution is no exception. Simulation is an effective way to test the design of a product virtually. It’s now evolving into building simulation apps that can be shared across teams, departments and companies. Simulation apps can help organizations in every industry gain better R&D results, while saving both time and money.
Multiphysics Simulation Provides Accurate Virtual Prototyping
By visualizing a product or component design virtually, you can study how it will perform in a given environment and optimize the design before testing expensive prototypes. There are various simulation software options out there that enable engineers to test the performance of a product under a single physics effect. But, as we all know, the real world is more complex than that. Nearly every product, device and component is affected by not just one, but multiple physics phenomena.
With multiphysics simulation, engineers can couple multiple physics within a single simulation, taking into account how various physical phenomena affect each other. This helps better predict the actual performance of a product or component. Consider a power supply unit (PSU) in a computer, for example. When the electronic components inside the PSU are at work, they produce heat. If the heat has nowhere to go, the components inside the PSU will overheat, causing the entire computer to perform poorly and, ultimately, stop working. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to incorporate cooling devices into the PSU design.
To evaluate how a PSU design will perform and optimize cooling, the simulation engineer can set up and solve a thermal analysis. Figure 1 shows what such a multiphysics simulation might look like using COMSOL Multiphysics software.
Bringing Simulation to the People by Way of Apps
Engineers are frustrated with the current “hurry up and wait” aspect of the design process. They spend valuable time making repetitive and tedious changes to a design for other colleagues or running product analyses for a production associate on the factory floor, when they could be getting a jump-start on their next project. When many colleagues need various parameter tweaks to products, it can create a bottleneck that delays the entire process, wasting both time and money.
In terms of our PSU example, wouldn’t it be better if someone in manufacturing could finalize the design according to their needs? Now they can.
Simulation apps allow you to distribute the power of simulation more evenly throughout your organization. With this application design environment, simulation engineers can create simplified testing environments in the form of apps. They can then share the apps with those who need to test various design options but may not be experts in setting up multiphysics simulations. By creating multiphysics simulation apps, you can bypass the bottlenecking problem and accelerate the production process. Apps enable team members without simulation expertise to make quick changes to a design without a learning curve or assistance from the engineers.
Without an app, the underlying complexities of a model, such as the one shown in Figure 2, would be intimidating for colleagues who don’t know a lot about simulation. But, by creating and sharing an app that includes:
- a customizable user interface
- a limited set of parameter inputs
- accessible visualized results
- downloadable documentation and reports
engineers can put the power of simulation into their coworkers’ and customers’ hands — enhancing the productivity of the entire design team.
Simulation apps further expedite the process by making it easy to share simulation apps on any computer or device — even on multiple computers at once. This streamlines the workflow of any project, maximizing time and resources — and in turn, profits — from design to manufacturing. What used to be reserved for simulation experts is now accessible by the masses.
Join the Simulation Revolution
Creating simulation apps offers engineers a range of benefits, including:
- sharing apps with colleagues and customers without simulation experience, so that they can still make quick and easy changes without needing any assistance
- a simple-to-use app creator tool that allows full interface customization
- ability to access apps on any computer or device, including smartphones, simultaneously
To recap, the simulation apps enable engineers to create simple, easy-to-use apps. They are able to set certain parameters based on the specific needs of the people who will be using the app, whether it’s a customer looking to customize a product or a manufacturer on the production floor who needs quick feedback for a design on the spot. Engineers can also make an app of the most general form of a product to distribute to team members and customers alike so that they can customize and adjust it to their own specifications.
Brianne Costa is a digital content coordinator at COMSOL.