Three Reasons Why Simulation on the Cloud is the Future

There’s no denying it! The pressure to deliver higher-quality innovative products to market faster is growing. This is driving more and more product organizations to adopt cloud-based solutions to manage their design and product development processes. Innovation-driven organizations are discovering that the power of cloud-based platforms is that they not only enable access to their data from anywhere, at any time and on any device but they also deliver a set of interconnected tools for every stage of the product development process, from design to delivery that fosters collaboration resulting in more innovation and greater quality. Simulation is no exception to this cloud revolution, companies are looking for more agile and collaborative ways to validate designs while reducing cost and complexity.

Let’s use a recent lamp design developed by Strategic Simulation & Analysis Limited with SIMULIA Structural Professional Engineer (SPE) on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The goal was to develop a design for a lamp to be used inside and outside a building. One of the primary concerns was what effect the heat from the bulb will have on the lamp components. To achieve that, thermal and structural analysis were performed.

In this blog, I’ll discuss three reasons why we believe that cloud-based simulation is the future for innovative product design. To explore the impact of cloud simulation, let’s look at a recent design project by Strategic Simulation & Analysis Limited of a lamp for indoor or outdoor lighting.

3D CAD model of the lamp assembly in SOLIDWORKS

 

The design team was concerned with the heat of the high-energy bulb causing the lamp components to overheat. To evaluate this problem, the team decided to carry out a thermal structural analysis using cloud based tools for both the calculation and discussion of the problem.

Here are 3 reasons why cloud simulation is the future:

1. Access engineering and simulation data from anywhere

Accessing simulation results in 3D can be cumbersome for remote engineers and managers on the road. Data scattered across personal workstations adds to the challenge. Cloud platforms bring all your data together in one secure place making it easy to access, find, view and share data. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform offers web viewer apps that can let you visualize simulation results and engineering data such as material properties on your 3D model. One big advantage is that the viewer always reads the latest and greatest information so there is no duplication and no mistakes.

3DPlay is a powerful app that is the foundation of many other apps that need to view information in a graphical way. On its own 3DPlay can be used to review 3D design data (such as SOLIDWORKS sldasm, sldprt files) as well as common file types such as pdf, png, jpeg, etc. When used in the Simulation Review app, 3DPlay can display simulation results including X-Y plots, material properties, mesh quality and boundary conditions on the 3D model as well as let you add your own annotations. In the lamp project example below, I used the 3DPlay app to look at the current design and review the material properties before running a thermal-stress analysis.

Reviewing Material Properties from anywhere on any device

The Simulation Review app lets you assess the material properties of an assembly or a part in 3D from a web browser.

 

Managing and finding engineering and simulation data can be challenging. In fact, for an engineer, searching and finding the right engineering data can be a time sink. An advanced simulation tool such as SIMULIA Structural Professional Engineer, which runs on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, saves all simulation models securely in a database making them easily searchable. The search tool, the 3DSpace app, finds the desired data by text and/or using a tag-based filter called 6W tags (checking for who, when, what, where, why and how). For example, I can search all simulations created by me last week in the Collaborative Space called “Lamp project.”

Finding the Right Data

The 3DSpace app, the search tool of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, helps you to quickly find your data.

 

2. Collaborate in real time

Cloud-based platforms not only bring together your data but also offer powerful tools that connect your people and help them work together seamlessly. You can create dashboards to organize, access and share key engineering and simulation information and even enhance it with related information available on the platform. Setting up communities helps you review models and simulation results and collect feedback. Using task management tools you can create and assign tasks, manage milestones and deliverables, and track progress.

With the 3DDashboard web app, you can easily create a dashboard for use by yourself or to share with your team. Simply drag and drop, resize the content of predefined widgets the way you want. For example, for this new lamp project, I have created a 3DDashboard with three tabs. In these tabs, I have created different widgets to manage my tasks, to visualize images of my product, to search for my engineering and simulation data, to quickly view my simulation results and data and finally to keep track of my cloud computing usage.

Sharing Project Information with a Dashboard

The 3DDashboard app, the cornerstone of the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform, helps you to gather and share key information and metrics in one place, easily accessible and customizable from a web browser.

 

You wouldn’t be an engineer if you didn’t prefer solving problems over managing projects and tasks. Using the Collaborative Tasks app, in a few clicks you can create tasks, assign them to people, set an estimated finish date, and link them to a 3D model. You can simply drag the task to update its status. You can view all tasks or just the tasks assigned to you. You can add notes on the fly and upload related content. What’s even better is that you have the option to set automatic email notifications when an event occurs. For example, I have assigned a few tasks to myself to review the mesh quality of the lamp model and the thermal and stress simulation results. I can quickly see what tasks I have to do and move them to an in-progress or done status.

Managing Tasks

The Collaborative Tasks app gives you a simple way to stay on top of your to-do list and manage your own tasks or a group project.

 

Communities let you exchange with your colleagues, partners, customers, suppliers, as you would do in any social media platform. The difference with 3DSwym Communities is that this is secure and only invitees can access to it. This is also in 3D, so you can publish pictures of your 3D design or simulation. It is a great way to share ideas, pictures, and comments on your 3D model, ask questions and get quick feedback.

Easily and securely, communicate ideas in 3D with your peers with 3DSwym Communities

 

3. Extend your simulation computing power

Probably the most obvious benefit of running simulations on a cloud-based platform is the flexibility and access to additional computing resources. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides you with the option to run your simulation on your local machine or on the cloud. This way, depending on complexity, your schedule and the size of your simulation model, you have the flexibility to free up your local computer resources so you can perform other work such as modeling while simulation calculations are running in the cloud.

It’s important to track your team’s usage of applications and computing resources across the cloud. You can access and track the usage of your computing credits. Credits are tokens that you purchase to gain the flexibility to run a simulation on more processor cores either locally or on the cloud for larger models. Credits are shareable among a group of users so it is important to know how many are available, if there are being used and by whom. Manage and track usage with the Credits and Tokens app and incorporate this information on your 3DEXPERIENCE dashboards.

The Credits and Tokens app give you visibility into the number of credits available and in use.

Tracking License Usage by User

The Credits and Tokens app lets you track the license usage per user and per job during a given period.

 

Conclusion

We’ve reviewed the three reasons why we believe simulation in the cloud is the way of the future and why a growing number of design organizations are adopting it. Adopting a simulation solution on a cloud-based platform such as SIMULIA Structural Professional Engineer means having access not only to its core simulation power but also to the important data sharing, collaboration, and data management capabilities provided by the platform itself. Cloud-based platforms such as the 3DEXPERIENCE platform empower product organizations to:

⦁ Make better simulation decisions with access to engineering and simulation insights and improved collaboration from anywhere, at any time and on any device.
⦁ Accelerate simulation calculations by scaling your computing power with cloud resources.
⦁ Sustain your competitive edge by safeguarding your intellectual property and simulation data and by dramatically improving the cost effectiveness of your product development efforts with cloud technology.

What does the future of simulation look like for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Nicolas Tillet

Nicolas Tillet

Product Portfolio Manager at DS SOLIDWORKS Corp.
Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS Simulation
Nicolas Tillet