Simulation-Based Concept Design eBook

Many of you have heard people from Altair discuss the notion of simulation-based concept design, or conceptual simulation. My colleague, Tony Norton, covered the subject in some depth in his Optimize Early and Optimize Often! post back in December. To summarize, using computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools at the beginning of the conceptual design process helps to generate structural designs that are correct from the start. Using these “ideal” designs as a starting point in the design process can greatly speed up the product development process, as design iterations associated with prototype structural failures are largely eliminated.

Over the past couple of months, we have been working with Chad Jackson of Lifecycle Insights to gather some hard data on the subject. We wanted to identify the goals and challenges of conceptual simulation, the impact of failed prototypes on the design process, and the challenges and roadblocks stopping companies from adopting the technology.

With that in mind, Lifecycle Insights launched the 2013 Simulation Driven Design Study. The study collected responses from over 1,000 individuals in total, spanning many different industries, and resulting in some extremely revealing data on the subject. Chad summarized the entire study in our free eBook entitled Simulation Based Concept Design: Setting the Right Context for Detailed Design.


Some of the key results from the study are summarized below:

•82% of respondents conduct conceptual simulation

•Top business objective for conceptual simulation is to reduce the number of failed prototypes

•Time is an obstacle hindering conceptual simulation, with little potential for mitigation

•Generating concept geometry for concept simulation is also a hindrance, with more than half of the respondents admitting to repurposing detailed designs for conceptual simulation

•Over 60% of respondents only use 3D models as the starting point for conceptual simulation instead of an iterative integration between CAD and CAE

This study not only helped us to learn about some of the goals and challenges of conceptual simulation, but also showed that organizations are truly starting to recognize its value. With new tools like solidThinking Inspire, conceptual simulation has now become much more accessible to all. Inspire’s easy-to-use interface allows not only simulation experts to use the software, but also design engineers and others working in the conceptual design phase of product development.


About Chad Zamler

Chad is the Vice President of Campaign Marketing at Altair. Prior to joining the company, he spent time with a number of companies in both online marketing and web project management. He has been with Altair since 2011, and holds BA and MBA degrees in Marketing from Michigan State University.