When I began my automotive engineering career, simulation technologies were primarily thought of as validation tools, used to verify the performance of components and system against crash, NVH, durability targets etc. Simulation rarely influenced the design early on. Instead, it highlighted problems and passed reports back for modifications. That approach served its purpose, but as the technologies have become more sophisticated and able to deliver results more quickly, the scope to use simulation earlier in the design cycle and deliver design direction in line with the pace of vehicle development programs is now enabling manufacturers to realize significant time and cost savings.
No longer is simulation a tool to ‘okay’ a design. It is now a driver of innovation, allowing engineers to propose optimised design solutions that exhibit the best compromise of multiple engineering functions and constraints. At Altair we call this “simulation-driven design” and it remains a key tenant of our design philosophy and vision of where simulation should play in the product development process.