Every time I present SOLIDWORKS Simulation around the world, I’m talking about the design process and how the product engineers can use virtual simulation as an engineering tool. For me the concept is pretty clear (and that’s a good thing :D). However, sometimes I find a lot of doubt and perplexity – especially, and surprisingly, in engineers who are accustomed to using analysis software.
In their minds, analysis is something useful to validate a completed project and my belief that “SIMULATION is an engineering tool” doesn’t resonate. Interestingly, the disconnect stems back to the 1990s. During that time period, finite element analysis (FEA) implementations took a highly specialized road. Analysis tools only attracted attention from engineers in large companies capable of coping with countless equations, hand calculations and very complex software that made those strange things on screen be meaningful somehow.
This marked the coming of the how-do-you-do-your-mesh style era, and its repercussions are still rippling into modern mindsets. Don’t get me wrong: that was the correct way (and almost the only way) to take FEA inside a company and conduct product and component validation.
In the latest ten years, a subtle revolution has taken place and FEA is integrated inside the very same interface, beside CAD tools with CAD Embedded Simulation. Now with SOLIDWORKS Simulation, product engineers (and I put the focus on the engineer who is designing and not only validating) can work daily with a new tool in their toolbox. To further illustrate this concept, let me explain in depth the design process of one of most interesting customer visits I made in Serbia (Europe) this year.
The company, TELSONIC, is located near Beograd and is specialized in Ultrasonic applications. TELSONIC designs products called sonotrodes, which are highly specialized components made in unique alloy metals. One capability that sets sonotrodes is that they oscillate at very high speeds, especially in vertical directions. That functionality makes sonotrodes perfect for the automotive market where they are used to melt plastic parts together that form bumpers or other exterior and interior car parts.
The challenge here is to correctly design a component while keeping in mind that it will have to resonate at a specific frequency AND in a specific direction (mostly vertical). To achieve this in the shortest time possible and with a repeatable process, TELSONIC engineers have implemented an integrated engineering process from CAD to FEA (and vice versa) to quickly find the best design shape and materials.
The first step is to start the design from the surfaces of the automotive part where the sonotrode will weld. Step two defines the starting shape (from TELSONIC’s SOLIDWORKS library) that will be used in the refinery process. At this stage the knowledge codified in the library is critical to identifying the proper design directions. Then, it’s the time to use SOLIDWORKS Simulation capabilities – specifically the natural frequency simulation. In just few clicks, TELSONIC engineers can quickly find the natural frequencies close to the sonotrodes’s intended range of work.
From this first pass, TELSONIC evaluates the impact of dimensions and materials changes on the simulation results concurrently to the design process. This loop will then continue until the best product behavior is identified and the sonotrode is designed as intended.
This use of Simulation in TELSONIC is scalable and perfectly integrated in the design process reducing product development time and improving the efficiency of the engineering team. SOLIDWORKS Simulation enables TELSONIC to then spend more time in the R&D of new products and applications.
Click here to watch videos, read white papers and hear from innovative customers, like TELSONIC, about how SOLIDWORKS provides the most unique, complete and integrated simulation solutions from finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to plastics and sustainable design with the SOLIDWORKS Simulation solution.