You’ve heard all the talk about simulation-based design. You’ve listened to colleagues— maybe even some of your competitors — wax on about how doing robust simulation studies early on in the design cycle leads to more and better product ideas while also optimizing use of materials. In fact, you’re sold on the need to embrace advanced analysis, but you just don’t see how it’s feasible given the perceived complexity and cost of the simulation software — not to mention, the high-powered workstation gear.
It’s time to put those preconceptions aside and look at the reality of just how accessible and affordable both high-powered workstations and ANSYS simulation and high-performance computing (HPC) software have become. Today, any design and engineering professional can easily trade up a mid- or even high-end desktop computer for an Intel Xeon-based workstation that fits within the parameters of the average budget. In fact, a dual Intel Xeon E5v3 based workstation with up to 36 cores and the new entry-level ANSYS HPC Workgroup licenses are far more affordable than ever before and it can deliver the desktop computing power necessary for running the robust parametric design studies and advanced analysis so crucial to modern-day product development.
The Right-Sized System
Why is it so important to invest in a system that is right-sized for parametric design studies and analysis? As business pressures continue to mount, studies show companies taking a simulation-driven design approach are far more likely to be leaders in their markets. Not only can simulation-based design replace or reduce physical prototyping as a cost-saving measure, the approach can also inspire a completely new style of experimentation designed to spark innovation and spur development of best-in-class products, experts say.
Consider research from Aberdeen Group. The firm found that the top 20% best-in-class companies pursuing a robust design approach, including widespread use of simulation, were more likely to meet product launch dates, hit product revenue, cost, and quality targets, and reduce development cycles. Not only do Intel Xeon processor-based workstations and HPC clusters help drive significant time and cost out of the development process, they can also ensure design robustness and ultimate product integrity, Aberdeen analysts say.
Putting an affordable simulation-based design engine within close reach will also empower engineers to embrace new kinds of innovation workflows. For example, such a setup would allow for the iteration of more ideas and testing of coarse-grain models on the local workstation, utilizing the more expensive local or scalable cloud-based HPC resources more cost-effectively for higher fidelity modeling of the optimized model at a critical point in the design cycle. In addition, a research project conducted by Sandia National Laboratories showcases how the new wave of affordable Intel Xeon-based workstations and HPC clusters can be used to enable stochastic modeling, enabling simulations to be used not just for single-point predictions, but also for automated determination of system performance improvements throughout a product life cycle.
Before closing the door on simulation-based design because it’s too costly or complex, consider how the world of high-powered computing has changed. Thanks to the accessibility of affordable ANSYS software and workstations based on Intel Xeon processors, simulation practices toward robust design are well within reach of engineering organizations, both large and small. Check out this webinar series on Understanding and Improving Your Design Faster and find out how Intel technologies enable faster and more effective simulation. More performance data of ANSYS using Intel technologies can be found here.
This article was adapted from its original appearance in the December 2013 edition of Desktop Engineering magazine.