Role of Simulation in Product Design and Development

Simulations are computer models used to check the performance of a system in defined boundary conditions. It plays a very important role in all stages of product design and development. Simulation helps in product verification without actually building it. Read this article to know advantages and disadvantages of simulation.

In this article we will discuss the role of simulation in product design and development with example. And we will also discuss alternatives of simulation. 

Simulation studies helps in predicting a system behavior without actually building it. Therefore number of design iterations and design risks are reduced. Therefore new products are delivered quickly and at low cost.

Example of Simulation in Product Design

Lets discuss design and development process of a networking router. Simulation studies reduces design risks in three steps.

Step-1 : Identify Design, manufacturing and development risks.

Step-2 :  Eliminate or reduce design and development risks using simulation studies

Step-3 : Verify and validate simulation results.

Step-1: Identify Product Design, Manufacturing and Development Risks.

Complex design risks are very difficult to identify by using manual calculations. Simulation helps in finding those grey or weak area’s in design. Without simulation, these risks come up during the verification and validation phase. 

For example, Thermal and structural simulation can help in identifying following risks. 

  1. Product behavior during drop test.
  2. Highly stressed area’s.
  3. Product thermal performance. etc.
Step-2 : Eliminate / Reduce Design and Development Risks

Product Risks are eliminated by various design iterations using simulation. It ensures defect free prototype manufacturing.

Following flow-diagram compares the product design process with and without simulation. 

Product Design Process Workflow With and Without Simulation

Approach 1 (With Simulation) 

Approach 2 (without Simulation)

Approach-1 (Using Simulation)

Simulation eliminates design risks during the initial design phase. Therefore products are manufactured with no or minimal defects.

Approach-2 (Without Simulation)

Without simulation risk of failure is not eliminated completely. Therefore product may fail during verification and validation testing. And product delivery can get affected.

Step-3 : Verify and validate simulation Results

Simulation results are verified and validated on actual prototypes. This is very important step. Because simulation results are not 100% correct.  

Other Alternatives

Manual calculation can be a good alternative to simulation. But they are not as reliable as simulation.  

To sum up, Simulation helps in eliminating design and manufacturing risks during the initial design stage. Manual calculations are an alternative to simulation. But they are not as effective and reliable as simulation studies. You can check in detail about this here.

I will keep adding more information on role of simulation in product design. Please add your comments or questions on the role of simulation in product design in the comment box.

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