Role of Simulation in Product Design and Development

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

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

How Simulation helps during Product Design and Development? 

Simulation studies predict the behavior of a system. Without actually building it. As a result number of design iterations and design risks are reduced. Therefore new products are delivered fast and at low cost. 


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.

    Few risks in design are very difficult to identify using manual calculations. Simulation studies helps in finding those grey or week area in design. Without simulation, these risks come up during verification and validation phase. 

    e.g Thermal and structural simulation can help in identifying following risks. 

    1. Product behavior during drop test.
    2. Highly stress points.
    3. Product thermal performance. etc.

    Step-2 : Eliminate / Reduce Design and Development Risks.

    Risk are eliminated by various design iterations using simulation. It ensures defect free prototype manufacturing. Below flow-diagram shows design process with and without simulation. 

    Design Workflow With and Without Simulation

    Approach 1 (Using Simulation) 

    Approach 2 (without Simulation)

    Approach-1 (Using Simulation)

    Simulation eliminates design risks during 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. Simulation results are not 100% correct.  

    Other Alternatives to Simulation?

    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 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.

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