Manufacturing industries are increasing the use of simulation tools to better understand and validate product behavior. Fortunately this shift toward analysis has led to more informed design decisions. However, I have always wondered how companies that adopt aggressive design simulation processes successfully manage the resulting data.
The first step to an answer begins by asking a key question: do these companies employ best practices to capture, manage and re-use simulation data exist? To achieve a sustained level of business success in today’s market, simulation data management best practices are a must. Effective management of simulation data is increasingly important as simulation becomes a core business process and organizations rely on simulation results as the basis for business decisions. This blog post follows my investigation into identifying best simulation data management practices that every business should follow.
I started this project by researching how data management was done about 50 years ago with the Apollo spacecraft. The image below shows the amount of documentation that had to be managed which in turn contributed to reliability, safety, and success. If one batch of one alloy in one part was found to be faulty, for example, a search could show if the bad material had found its way into other spacecraft.
It may have put a man on the moon, but it won’t fly today. Relying on traditional manual systems for Simulation Data Management is no longer a valid strategy. It used to be necessary in the absence of appropriate Information Technology. Companies now recognize that simulation information is valuable intellectual property that needs to be captured, shared, and leveraged throughout the design process. And this can be done through effective Data Management tools, such as in SOLIDWORKS EPDM.
Manage Simulation Data in SOLIDWORKS EPDM
The good news is that there is a lot of intellectual analysis data being created somewhere on every user’s machine (see image below). It just needs to be organized and searchable for repeatability, scalability and consistency!
SOLIDWORKS EPDM integrates SOLIDWORKS Simulation data into a single environment where simulation files can be managed for different model and analysis versions. SOLIDWORKS customers using these tools have implemented workflows that tie into the main engineering workflow.
The combination of SOLIDWORKS EPDM and SOLIDWORKS Simulation tools provides a powerful platform that can be easily leveraged to integrate five key data management best practices in your organization’s design workflow:
- Provide a more collaborative environment
This helps ensure that information handled by multiple teams remains current and up to date. By creating visibility among different levels of users, your teams avoid redundant efforts and improve communication between departments working on the same project simultaneously.
- Improve traceability of design validation
This addresses the 5W’s of the workflow: Who did the simulation, what simulation was done, when was the simulation done, where did the simulation data originate and why was the simulation done.
- Increase Data Security
Any information coming in or going out of the simulation workflow is monitored and controlled. Such an environment ensures proprietary and intellectual simulation data is organized and secure.
- Eliminate barriers between various groups / departments
Simulation workflows and methods can be shared across cross functional departments. Any user anywhere can access simulation data anytime.
- Enabling improved assessment of risks and informed decisions
Companies today rely on simulation results as the basis for business decisions. Managed simulation data can be a competitive advantage but unmanaged data can become a huge liability.
Simulation data management best practices do exist and they start with these five guidelines. By implementing these items into your business, you can ensure that teams will be more efficient and products will hit the streets fast than ever before.
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