CGT: Has the process and technology become more critical during pandemic?
Powers: This pandemic is helping companies to see manufacturing in a different way. Companies say that they have learned more in the past months than what they have in the last five years.
Jay Timmons, president and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers, said, “We are going to be called upon to invent and develop new products and technologies, digitalization of American companies is going to explode, we are talking about creators and innovators coming up with technologies that we just can barely imagine.”
At the heart of all this innovation there is simulation, helping to speed up all of this development, using the virtual world to find new solutions for these new challenges.
CGT: How can CG manufacturers start their journey to leveraging simulation?
Powers: In order to help companies with a measured approach to the adoption of digital twins in product development, we have created a simple model with three main axes representing different areas for any company to focus on to improve core capabilities related to digital twin adoption – realism, continuity, and exploration.
- Realism: The first focus area for maturity is realism of the digital twin. To address increasingly complex systems and technologies, it is critical that companies have a realistic representation of their product and production to give confidence in their designs and ensure that design decisions are correct. Improved confidence in both simulation and test data can reduce the need for over-design, reduce end-of-cycle physical testing and reduce the number of field failures.
- Continuity: Second, to support the digital twin, it is critical that performance engineering processes are not isolated and disconnected from the rest of the organization or the PLM (product lifecycle management) process. Companies need a digital thread that connects people, projects, models and data to efficiently tackle the innovation of these very complex problems. If companies are able to reduce barriers and enable enterprise collaboration, they not only increase their process efficiency, but also get a more holistic view to make the right decisions.
- Exploration: Third, having realistic and integrated processes and models today is not enough. Companies must be able to deploy them so that they bring the necessary insight to make design decisions and do it quickly. A key value of digital performance analysis is that it allows for quick and cost-effective evaluations of design changes. To get the most benefit from simulation tools, companies must intelligently explore the design space to quickly understand design drivers and trade-offs and discover better designs.
CGT: What are some best practices for implementing this technology?
Powers: To ensure innovation in a productive manner, companies need to maximize the effective use of high-end software simulation solutions and advanced test systems. Therefore, as product complexity rises, it becomes increasingly important to simultaneously master various engineering and physics disciplines: Domain specialists can no longer work in isolated silos. On the contrary, these engineers need to be surrounded by professionals who have competencies outside their area of expertise. They need ready access to a global community of simulation engineers and the expertise must be delivered as part of individualized customer support.
CGT: Are there differences in using simulation for discrete versus process formulated products?
Powers: Current simulation practices have evolved in many ways through the combination of traditional analysis coupled with multi-physics providing more accurate modelling techniques. This allows CG companies to simulate their products (both discrete and formulated) and the manufacturing processes related to them. Simulation can also be applied to all segments of the consumer product and retail (CP&R) industries.
The type of analysis and the purpose of it differentiates what is commonly performed for discrete or formulated products.
Simulation for discrete products: This category of products where mechanical, electric, electronics and software meet are becoming more complex and sophisticated. This is the reason why CP&R companies are starting to apply design and simulation disciplines/strategies that are commonly used in aerospace, automotive or electronics industries.
Simulation for formulated products: Companies can use simulation to find the right product formula/recipe combination based on their requirements. With Simcenter HEEDS, thousands of design iterations can be performed to find the most optimized one. This includes product simulation for heating, cooking, pasteurization, packaging and ergonomics (package). CPG companies can simulate their manufacturing processes so that operations like filling, mixing and cooking can be optimized, including all equipment and production lines that must be designed.