SIMULIA Community News
May 2016: Journey to the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform
Simulation from Nanoscale to Macro - And the Huge Shift Coming in the Way We Design Everything
The convergence of SIMULIA and BIOVIA at this year’s “Science in the Age of Experience” event in Boston reflects a deliberate decision on the part of Dassault Systèmes to highlight the profound changes that are coming in the way we all look at the relationships between simulation, design and manufacturing.
BIOVIA’s focus is on biological, chemical and materials modeling and simulation, particularly on the nano and molecular level (with tools for collaborative discovery plus laboratory and manufacturing process management as well). SIMULIA’s strengths include deep materials modeling, simulation and optimization capabilities from which product performance, quality and reliability can be predicted on a meso- to macro-scale.
The ability to create unique materials—designed at the molecular level to produce specific results in a final product—is the enticing promise of a workflow that combines the power of BIOVIA and SIMULIA under the 3DEXPERIENCE umbrella.
Why has the potential of such powerful, complementary technologies working together taken on an even deeper meaning now? Because there are events taking place outside the world of software development that are beginning to have a profound effect on how we all think inside that world.
In the words of Bruce Engelmann, Chief Technology Officer for SIMULIA, “We have arrived at a critical moment where something momentous is happening outside the software realm—in the world of manufacturing—that is affecting the way we’ll all be looking at simulation and design going forward.”
ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING CAUSES A SHIFT IN THINKING ABOUT ALL DESIGN
That “something” is the achievement of industrial additive manufacturing (AM). The technology (which is also known as 3D printing) has been around for a while. But AM is no longer just for prototyping: it can now produce finished, certified end-parts.
While AM is not expected to replace all conventional manufacturing processes, it can certainly complement some of them in ways that optimize supply chain efficiencies. It also offers a previously unheard of level of design freedom that lets engineers think outside the box in highly creative ways. You can greatly reduce part count, lightweight with internal lattice structures, print electronics inside a product, customize everything from patient-specific medical devices to personalized consumer goods—and more.
“Additive manufacturing is going to fundamentally change the way people design things,” says Engelmann. “When you design for AM, simulation and design have to be done at the same time; they can’t be sequential.”
Now as our community of users is well aware, the benefits of putting design and simulation together have been apparent for some time—no matter what your final manufacturing method is going to be. Says Engelmann, “Our customers are seeing that the whole process of product development is enhanced when you integrate simulation with design. And optimization is the pinnacle of that, where you are literally running simulations underneath as you are designing the part. As you iterate on your design and move around your parameters, you’re doing so based on results of an optimization that’s happening underneath.”
Engelmann points out that, despite the availability of advanced simulation tools, some people have up until now been able to “get by” applying them sequentially. But he sees the growing impact of what could be called “additive manufacturing thought” affecting the way everyone thinks about all design. “The design envelope is no longer considered to be a static concept,” he says. “Of course human input is still needed for surfaces, and for fixed points like bolt holes, but everything else within the design space is now available for software tools to suggest an optimal design.”
NEW CAPABILITIES IN CATIA DELIVER OPTIMIZED DESIGNS READY FOR MANUFACTURING
Not surprisingly, Dassault Systèmes has risen to meet the challenge of this new freedom-of-design mindset. We understand that, no matter what technology is used to manufacture it, a finished product still has to perform to the
final customer’s complete satisfaction. To achieve that goal, every creative, organic part shape design (perhaps created with SIMULIA’s Tosca and/or fe-safe tools) needs to be translated back into the geometry of a CAD file. Why? Because CAD data still drives everything from higher-level simulations (drop-testing, crash, etc.) to manufacturing— no matter whether you are using plastic injection molding or a metal AM machine.
Since our customers look to Dassault Systèmes to provide leadership in CAD reconstruction capabilities, our best CATIA and SIMULIA teams have spent the last year building it right into our CAD application for the designer and are in the process of making it available across multiple industry applications.
WIDENING THE DESIGN ENVELOPE
It’s important to keep in mind, as the design envelope widens in such exciting ways, that it extends in both directions: outward towards the macro, finished product but also downward into the micro level of molecules from which that product is made. At the same time that our control over the end result is enhanced, new windows are also opening into pre-design considerations of materials choice. Predicting material behavior has only become more critical as processes like additive manufacturing—which melts and combines materials in novel ways, often at very high temperatures— enter the production picture.
So here’s where BIOVIA enriches that picture.
THE BIOVIA AND SIMULIA CONVERGENCE
“We often describe our everyday experiences through a macro world lens,” says Reza Sadeghi, Chief Strategy Officer of BIOVIA. “However, there is a hidden, micro world that supports these life experiences. Scientific developments are now enabling us to harness our macro and micro worlds concurrently.”
In the past, new materials used to take decades from discovery to commercial viability—and those materials were typically found in nature. “But the demand for faster innovation and better performing products exceeded the performance envelope for available materials,” says Sadeghi. “Science responded by developing engineered materials for which quantum structure and characteristics could be synthesized to meet multifunctional performance objectives at the macro scale.”
BIOVIA enables such materials engineering by helping users design and select specific molecules, biologics and materials and refine their application with modeling, simulation and predictive analytics to produce smart coatings, lighter stronger composites, and eco-sustainable polymers. “We are fast approaching the point of using material as a variable, not a constraint,” says Sadeghi.
He notes that designing and engineering products takes the skills, talents, and brainpower of many specialists—all of whom need to communicate effectively to ensure that everyone is working from the same information towards the same goals. “The 3DEXPERIENCE platform ensures that everyone involved is working from a single version of truth,” he says. “There’s traceability for how products evolve, from concept to scientific discovery and all the way through manufacturing.”
“The convergence of the BIOVIA and SIMULIA brands, catalyzed by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, seamlessly fuses science-driven materials and engineering capabilities with virtual product engineering and performance simulation in terms of data, protocols, methods, models and knowledge. This convergence finally bridges the abyss between the macro and micro worlds, enabling the realization of atom-to-product design and optimization.”