Design For Purpose: Virtual Simulation and Testing

Design For Purpose: Virtual Simulation and Testing

Welcome back! Thank you for your continued interest in how additive processes can radically decrease manufacturing’s sustainable footprint. In the first article, we covered NX lattice structure capabilities for enhanced designs. In the second article, we covered the incorporation of Multimech to accelerate the product development lifecycle by extending finite element analysis to the microstructural level to predict where and how failure will occur. If you’re new to this series or are interested in reviewing these previous articles, click here and here.

Now I will answer the question you’ve all been asking yourself, “what’s next?”. The answer to this nail-biting question is simulation! The third step in this sustainable process is validating product design through integrated simulation. Let’s dive into it, shall we?

Understanding how a component or product assembly reacts under stress or vibration is critical in any industry. Still, as products and materials become increasingly complex, engineers need tools that go beyond linear statics analyses. Simcenter includes the structural solutions you need for a wide range of structural analysis problems within a single user environment. You no longer need one tool for linear statics, another to study fatigue, and yet another for nonlinear analysis. As a result, engineering departments can consolidate analysis tools, and you only need to know a single user interface.

Our structural simulation solutions can help you accurately simulate both linear and nonlinear analysis. Linear analysis is used to solve static problems, such as determining if a structure will fail under a prescribed load, and can also solve transient problems where loads change over time. Simcenter features a complete range of integrated linear analysis functionality, including analysis for linear statics, normal modes, and buckling. You can use these capabilities to evaluate structural performance for applications in a variety of industries. If deformations are large, if linear material assumptions are invalid, or if contact is a factor, then the nonlinear analysis is the appropriate simulation choice. Simcenter solves a wide range of nonlinear analysis problems. Nonlinear implicit and explicit analysis solvers enable engineers to address problems as simple as a plastic catch or as complex as a car body roof crush analysis. Integrated explicit dynamic capabilities let you perform metal forming analysis or evaluate electronic hardware performance during a high-impact drop test simulation.

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Figure 1: Internal and External Stress Gradient for the Injection Die Mold Designed with Additive Manufacturing Processes

The other type of simulation supported by Simcenter is thermal simulation. Although this will not be demonstrated in this article, it is important to note that thermal management is a major consideration for a wide range of products, including industrial machinery, automobiles, and consumer electronics. The objective of any thermal management solution is to maintain a product’s temperature within an optimal range for performance. Accomplishing this may require the removal or addition of heat, either passively or in an actively managed fashion, and this can be evaluated using thermal simulation software. Simcenter includes comprehensive, best-in-class thermal simulation capabilities that can help you understand your product’s thermal characteristics and subsequently tailor your thermal management solution for optimal performance.

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Figure 2: The Process of Designing, Applying Mesh and Constraints, and Running Simulations on an Injection Die Mold

Computer-aided engineering provides virtual simulations and allows for faster and more cost-efficient product development, manufacturing efficiency evaluation, simulation as concept demonstration, one step closer to the single-prototype development stage, resource optimization, and less energy consumption. In addition to its usefulness as a tool that provides numerous commercial benefits, virtual simulations can have another dimension: the sustainable design of both the manufacturing system and the product/service. Virtual engineering and simulations empower users to support the growing importance of sustainable manufacturing by providing a solution to the resource’s scarcity, the global willingness to reduce carbon emissions, and the customer’s attraction to environmentally friendly products.

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Figure 3: The Process Chart Highlighting the Benefits of Virtual Testing and Simulation

I know what you’re thinking, “This is all talk; there’s no way this is truly this simple and supportive.” I guess I’ll just have to prove it in a demonstration. Continuing with the injection die mold that I’ve redesigned for additive manufacturing, I will conduct a structural linear analysis to determine that the new lattice structure design is just as sturdy and design-efficient as the original one. To do this, I will create a FEM file in Simcenter to mesh the design to have an inner lattice structure portion and an outer solid shell. In this file, I will also apply the material properties to each section. Next, I will import the FEM file into a Simulation and apply fixed constraints to the bolt holes of the part and apply a force to the center of the design to simulate the real-life events. Once the loads and constraints have been applied, I will utilize the MultiMech multiscale solver within the Materials Engineering tab to simulate at the micromaterial level. Lastly, I will run the traditional mold design in the same simulation and examine the outcomes.

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In that demonstration, I did not show the set-up of the traditional mold tool. The process was the same as that shown with the innovative part design. The results demonstrate that the additive manufactured part designs and, even better than, the original design. Additive manufacturing is the solution to the future and the key to sustainable innovation. Integrated simulation and testing allow you to streamline the product development cycle, increase the durability and sustainability of designs, and get your parts to market faster. Reduce material usage, decrease energy spent on physical prototyping and machining, and allow yourself the ease of designing and testing all in the same work environment. Let the future start today with NX’s fully integrated product development workflow!

Next, Tune will learn about the last step of designing for purpose and maximizing sustainability. Want a hint? I’ll show you how to utilize a design space exploration and optimization software that allows you to run through numerous solutions in minimal time without the need for manual design alterations.

Disclaimer: I am the author at PLM ECOSYSTEM, focusing on developing digital-thread platforms with capabilities across CAD, CAM, CAE, PLM, ERP, and IT systems to manage the product data lifecycle and connect various industry networks. My opinions may be biased. Articles and thoughts on PLMES represent solely the author's views and not necessarily those of the company. Reviews and mentions do not imply endorsement or recommendations for purchase.

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