Why simulation?

Don't lean on bad solutions in product development – lean on simulations

This time our topic is high-end simulations: simulations in product development that explore real-life circumstances. Simulations reveal how a product, machine or device behaves in real-life situation. Study product's motion, speed or explosion, for example, or different circumstances like on the ground, in the air or in human's hand. We recommend to simulate the product many times during product development process to get the best out of simulations.

In product development following can be simulated: mechanics, electromagnetics, electromagnetic compatibility, fluids, flows, temperatures, physics and structure. Simulations improve the product and are an essential part of product development. RAND Software offers tools for all before mentioned simulations: SIMULIA Simpack, SIMULIA CST Studio Suite, SIMULIA PowerFLOW and SIMULIA Abaqus as well as 3DEXPERIENCE Platform simulation roles.


1: Improve your understanding of how the product works in real life 

Many people understand the main features of how, for example, a train, a car or a wind turbine works. But how well do we know why the car's drivability suffers with a full load, or how a train slows down on a bridge, or a wind turbine makes a hissing sound? When the reason is a sum of many factors, our understanding is often fragile. 

Using the traditional structural analysis has made it possible to design products that can withstand the defined loads, but often these loads have been guesses rather than knowledge. To replace the guesses with reliable information, it is necessary to know what exactly causes the load of the device. So it's time to simulate. 

When you want to understand the behavior of your product in realistic conditions, it's time to open our simulation tool SIMULIA Simpack, which defines loads on different parts, analyzes vibrations, and tests the product virtually long before the creation of any prototype. In addition, the products behaviour can be analyzed in situations where physical measuring devices cannot be accessed or virtual tests performed, because it would be too expensive or simply impossible. 

If your goal is to increase your understanding of how your device works in different conditions, to find out the root cause of certain behavior or to have an effective virtual testing environment, with SIMULIA Simpack we can find the answer. 

Remember this: SIMULIA Simpack, multibody simulation 


2: Impact test

Abaqus is the base stone of the Dassault Systemes SIMULIA portfolio. It is essentially a structural analysis tool, but combines also e.g. thermal and acoustic phenomena to traditional structural analysis.

The range of applications is very broad: Abaqus scales from simple static stress calculation to dynamic investigation of very complex systems. It can simulate the microstructural changes in material or the movement of moist ground soil.

Abaqus software consists of three main components:

1. Abaqus/CAE; Pre and post-processing of the model
2. Abaqus/Standard solver; Static and relatively slow dynamic phenomena
3. Abaqus/Explicit solver; Very fast and sudden phenomena

When needed, a result from one solver can be used as a starting point for the other solver.
Abaqus software always includes all the features mentioned above.

Watch an impact test and its results executed using SIMULIA Abaqus on YouTube.

Remember this: SIMULIA Abaqus


3: Clarity to the EMC world

For more than a decade the main tool for antenna designer has been electromagnetic simulation and today antennas face growing connectivity demands. The optimization of antenna performance and compatibility among other antennas and other electrical functions would be practically impossible without simulations within today's project schedules. Electrical devices' electromagnetic behavior become more complex therefore challenging also EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) design. Electromagnetic simulation is extremely powerful tool also for EMC designer.

All electrical devices entering the market need to pass tests in an accredited measurement laboratory making EMC design a very important part of design process of electrical device. It is important to consider EMC already in the beginning of the project. If postponed, the needed changes due to a possible EMC issues will become expensive. Good news is that with EM simulation we can significantly clarify the mystery of EMC world very early as there is no need to build a physical prototype.

Realistic EMC simulation covers two essential methods of EM simulations:

1) Circuit simulation is fast but requires a lot of manual work. It deals very well component models such as SPICE and IBIS models. To model coupling path is challenging. In order to get it accurate and corresponding with reality the designer needs to have a lot of experience and knowledge for example the parasitic values. If there is new kind of coupling mechanism which designer has not done earlier they won't be able to take it into account. Especially problematic is radiative coupling.

2) 3D full-wave simulation is accurate, with solving time longer than with circuit simulation. 3D model can include only passive and linear components. Coupling mechanisms can be solved. Non-ideal ground plane and radiative effects are all considered.

SIMULIA CST Studio Suite combines these both and with circuit simulation we can model nonlinear and active components very accurately and with 3D simulation we can model passive geometry structure with its all coupling mechanisms.

SIMULIA CST Studio Suite has made EMC simulation considerable easier to implement by adding EMC Workflow Button in the newest version, CST2023. EMC Button covers all required EMC simulation steps: 3D model creation of DUT, test fixture, setup of probes, monitors and solver, circuit model creation, setup of circuit task and combine results and finally the evaluation of results. SIMULIA CST Studio Suite enables EMC simulation to be doable, practical and realistic and offers remarkable help for EMC designer’s day-to-day work.

Remember these: SIMULIA CST Studio Suite, EMC Button


4: Optimization for even greater product

Designers have numerous design parameters to consider. And they have to imagine the result of their choices for each of those parameters on the manufacturability, cost, weight, ergonomics, durability of the product. Under a multitude of operating conditions including both intended use and abuse. The combinations and permutations of these considerations are mind blowing.

Thus designers need to use their intuition and focus to a small subset of options and consider them under just a subset of conditions. Few are masters and do a really good job of this. But mostly the results remain on average level and fail to notice all of the great solutions.

Parametric and non-parametric optimization tools help here by bringing new ideas of best topologies and shapes for their products (Tosca) and by selecting the optimal solution of nearly infinitely many combinations of various parameters (Isight).

Watch an example how parametric and non-parametric optimization can be efficiently used during an innovative design of a motorcycle disc brake:

Remember these: SIMULIA Tosca, SIMULIA Isight


5: Accomplish the project that has never been done before

A great example of a challenging engineering task is the dimensioning of a structure for sea ice loads. Increased interest towards designing wind power plants in ice covered seas, also raises the need of simulation tools that are capable of modelling complicated phenomena such as ice as a material, ice contact with structures, ice failure, etc.   

SIMULIA Abaqus includes wide variety of high-end functionalities such as different material models, contact formulations and modelling of failure for example. And if build in Abaqus functionality is not enough, user subroutines are provided to increase the functionality of several Abaqus capabilities.

Assistant Professor Mihkel Kõrgeraar from Tallinn University of Technology has utilized Abaqus and its many capabilities while modelling of ice forces in rigid offshore wind turbine foundation exposed to drifting ice field. Read Professor's Linkedin post here.

"These runs are with Abaqus using Drucker-Prager material combined with damage softening. I was surprised by the realistic looks of the cracking process with radial and circumferential cracks due to bending. The developing flake size seem occasionally too large, but I will follow this up by investigating how material parameters affect this!"

These simulations also included contact detection, contact force calculation and the usage of user subroutines to model the hydrostatic forces. The time of the simulation using Abaqus with 20 CPUs was approximately 2.5 h. Notice that there is a small error in force plot, force is in MN, not kN.

Remember this: SIMULIA Abaqus


6: Very nonlinear analysis

The Abaqus/Explicit solver has been traditionally used to study fast and dynamic phenomena. Typical applications are car crashes, drop tests, and explosion loads.

The video shows an example of a very nonlinear analysis with large displacements, numerous contacts and impact loads.

  • The cards are modelled using elastic shell elements
  • The surface of the table and the ball are rigid bodies
  • Applied loads are gravity and initial velocity of the ball
  • Contacts between parts are modelled using General Contact functionality and the coefficient of friction is 0.3

In addition to the mentioned dynamic applications, Abaqus/Explicit is also very effective in studying slower quasistatic nonlinear events. Especially complicated contact interactions require a lot of experience and different kinds of ""tricks"" from the user to get the solution to converge, when using a traditional implicit solver. In cases like this the explicit solver can be superior both from the ease of use and solver speed aspects.

Did you know that Abaqus/Explicit is always included in the license, so using it does not create any additional expenses to our existing Abaqus users? If you encounter any problematic contact cases, it is worth a try. We will be happy to guide you forward!

Remember this: Abaqus/Explicit