Ed Miller: Leverage engineering simulation across the enterprise

Manufacturers across a range of industries would be hard pressed to design products without simulation tools such as structural analysis, multi-body simulation, and computational fluid dynamics. Yet despite their importance, manufacturers typically do a poor job of managing analysis results and related work processes.

03/01/2008


Manufacturers across a range of industries would be hard pressed to design products without simulation tools such as structural analysis, multi-body simulation, and computational fluid dynamics. Yet despite their importance, manufacturers typically do a poor job of managing analysis results and related work processes.

Companies generally have no formal system in place for properly archiving and managing analysis results and information relating to how problems were set up, which analysis software was used, which analyses were executed, what decisions were made, who made approvals, and when changes were made. This information often is discarded, buried in disorganized filing systems, or stored only in the recollections of a few individuals.

Such information loss forces engineers and analysts to recreate data over and over. Problems are magnified when people in different locations work on the same simulation projects with no system for exchanging analysis data or standardizing and integrating work processes.

Recognizing the drawback here, leading-edge manufacturers are implementing programs to get their simulation data under control, and better manage their simulation process knowledge. This includes managing simulation data as part of their product life-cycle management (PLM) strategies as they have previously done with CAD files, technical specifications, change orders, and other data related to design engineering. Via a central repository of simulation-related data, people across the enterprise can collaborate and access the information they need, when they need it.

By following this approach, simulation can be transformed from a domain exclusively for specialists into a visible and accessible component of the product development process across the full product life cycle and throughout the extended enterprise. Simulation capabilities thus become available much more broadly throughout a company, from purchasing to sales, to make more informed and confident decisions. This can lead to faster responses to customer requests while improving design variation predictability, and leading to more accurate quotations and higher profitability.

Moreover, with engineering simulation and manufacturing operations tied more closely together, production quality and throughput undoubtedly benefit.

With simulation processes integrated with PLM as part of a company's business strategy, engineers can better utilize simulation tools in developing products to fit in with corporate goals. Time is saved, errors reduced, and collaboration facilitated because information is readily accessed, ideas shared, correct revisions used, and results archived.

Estimated measurable cost savings are stunning for companies implementing enterprise simulation management: 90-percent cost reductions in executing simulations through greater efficiencies and process management, 60-percent savings through increased analysis model reuse, 40-percent less expense for building and testing physical prototypes, and 40-percent savings in simulation technology budgets through consolidation of analysis tools and methods.

Companies committed to moving toward enterprise simulation management will have a significant competitive advantage in the coming years as the role of engineering analysis continues to grow in scope and importance within manufacturing companies.


Author Information

Ed Miller is president of CIMdata Inc. (




No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
click me