Wong Chee Ling, Group Leader Of Electrical And Mechanical Simulation And Verification
In the ‘Handbook of Simulation”, Jerry Banks defines simulation as the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system with the intention of drawing conclusions, pose what-if questions, and aid in the design of real systems. The ability to mimic real-world systems enable corporations to make fast decisions on product designs and processes with the benefit of it being risk-free. Industry 4.0, which focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data, demands complex product designs and integration within short development cycles. Therefore, simulation is quintessential to meet the demands of this technology-rich generation.
In your opinion, how has the Simulation landscape evolved over the years? What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution?
As technology matures and becomes more complex, so does the time it takes to simulate them. This has been the catalyst for faster simulation speeds. The advancement in semiconductor technology has helped mitigate this problem with the plethora of low-cost, readily available high-speed multi-core processors and larger memories. Solutions such as distributed computing allow multiple users to perform simultaneous simulations on common powerful workstations. Today, High-Performance Computing (HPC) Cloud-based simulation is transforming the dynamics of simulation. In addition, simulation solvers are getting more efficient and less resource-hungry through advanced numerical solutions and computer algorithms
At the foundation of the simulation are the models that mimic the actual physical system (also called the virtual twin). The past decade has seen the growth of complex models, one that accounts for nonlinearities and dynamic effects. These models require time for verification and validation and are now readily available for use in simulation tools. With these new models, simulation has migrated from the need to verify expected results to understanding unknown behaviors of the system.
The time-to-market of new products determines its commercial success and today’s simulation will only hasten and not hinder crucial datelines. Many companies have leveraged simulation to optimize testing strategies, compress the development cycle, and produce more robust products.
What according to you are some of the challenges plaguing the Simulation landscape and how can they be effectively mitigated?
While simulation is essential to companies, it does not come free and each user will incur added expense in terms of simulation tool license and advanced hardware cost. This could erode a company’s profit if not managed properly. Managing the sharing of licenses and the setting up of a commonly shared workstation is a solution.
Yu Fang Yong, Expert In Mechanical Architecture Structural Simulation Test And Analysis, Continental
In addition, discrepancies between measured and simulated results could occur if not properly performed. For example, in predicting potential sales, one would model key factors such as product branding, quality, or even market reactions. Ceteris paribus, the greater the expertise of the individuals, the greater the accuracy of the predictions. Therefore, experience is key to achieving a reasonable correlation between the measured and simulated results, even more so at the first attempt. Shorter development cycles and stringent customer requests further compound this problem. The iPhone4’s “Antennagate” scandal is an example of a technology leader failing to simulate the effect of a hand to handphone signal transmissions. Subsequent iPhone series no longer carry this problem and it was a painful but valuable experience for Apple.
The time-to-market of new products determines its commercial success and today’s simulation will only hasten and not hinder crucial datelines
Which are a few technological trends influencing Simulation today?
What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors? Tesla has revolutionized driving. Driverless cars, cars powered by batteries, artificial intelligent cars, and flying cars are the future. The automotive industry will be rich in sensors, high speed, and RF/microwave technology to enable car-to-car communication, car-to-user interaction, and car-to-traffic navigation. These technologies involve a multi-disciplinary interplay of feedback control mechanisms, RF communication, mechanical strain, and much more. EMC becomes even more challenging. Multi-physics simulation is key to interlink these multi-disciplinary technologies and allows more insights into a product’s performance, safety, and lifetime. Coupled with digital twin where real data can be incorporated to predict the system performance are two keys to the future of simulation.
Do you have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the Simulation space?
Continental is very aware that the success of multi-physics simulation depends on skilled individuals with depths in their engineering domains to be willing to partake in cross-sharing of their knowledge to others. They are empowered to openly share their knowledge and have discussions. Continental’s open culture provides an opportunity to reskill workers to keep pace with ever-changing technologies. Furthermore, engineers must embrace and continually improve their simulation methodology for better correlation to measured results with the target of achieving a first-time-right design.
Innovation makes a company’s branding unique and strengthens its positioning in the business. Simulation allows for the fast evaluation of new ideas and can accelerate innovations. Employees are empowered and given time to perform simulations and work towards achieving innovations.
Over the years, simulation has had phenomenal growth and will continue to evolve with the demands of the industry. It takes time to master simulations. However, there are far more benefits to simulations. Productivity, confidence, and speed to deliver a work right will improve. Companies have to embrace multiphysics simulation while balancing the cost of simulations with profits. Simulations can be the catalyst for fast time-to-market and drive innovations. These are not paradoxical but rather a need in order to stay ahead of the competition.