Computer simulation: why invest in this solution?
Have you ever wondered how much time and money your company spends on developing prototypes? Or, how much time do your engineers devote daily to developing projects? Now imagine how much you could profit by reducing these expenses. Computational simulation is an alternative that more and more companies are choosing to achieve these goals. Through it, you can dramatically reduce development time and costs, and optimize your product.
Vale, for example, optimized existing plants and saved $100 million in just one year through the use of simulation. In addition, it reduced the time spent by the engineering team on project development by 70%. According to Ueld Jose de Nobrega, an engineer in Vale’s Maintenance Engineering and Improvement Management, simulation is essential, since it allows us to test different possibilities without spending millions on developing prototypes. “With simulation we are able to make the case for changes and equipment upgrades, because we know that all the money invested will return,” he explains.
Higra, a manufacturer of hydraulic pumps, applied computer simulation in a line of pumps and increased the efficiency of the product by 11%. With the novelty, one of Higra’s customers bet on the new product and replaced the equipment from another manufacturer, which provided a 35% reduction in engine power, generating savings of R$ 30,000 per month on the customer’s energy bill. Satisfied with the result, the customer purchased four more pumps to complete the system and, in just one year, was able to save about R$1.8 million in electricity bills.
It is because of results like these that large, medium, and small companies are investing in computational simulation in order to become even more competitive in the marketplace.
Is your company best-in-class or laggard?
The Aberdeen Group, specialized in research and analysis of information technology companies and products, conducted a survey on the best practices employed by the companies. To do so, it classified the companies into three levels – best-in-class, average, and laggards – according to the practices used.
The survey asked the participating companies to highlight and point out the main challenges they have encountered in product development. The result: the top four problems reported could be avoided by using simulation.
According to Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) expert Bruno Contessi, the proper use of computer simulation tools can help solve almost 100% of these problems. “Simulation helps to better understand the physics that occurs in a product or process, and this is very useful to support decision making. When CAE technology is applied in the conceptual phase of the project, greater value can be achieved, because it considerably reduces the need to create experiments and prototypes, which demand high costs with tooling and human resources,” he explains.
Computational Simulation as a competitive advantage
Aberdeen’s research also focused on how companies are using computer simulation daily to add value to the product. The two charts below show how companies are using simulation tools in the production process to get better results against their competitors. With the help of simulation solutions, these companies are able to meet the product launch date, leading the market longer, increasing revenues, and other benefits.
The graph below shows the production phases of a product – from design development to final production – and presents the relationship between the time spent at each stage (x-axis) and the number of problems (y-axis) that can be solved at each stage using different methods.
We see that, by using computer simulation from the conceptual phase of the project, it is possible to explore several scenarios at a low modification cost and identify the largest number of failures, correct them, reduce the total time employed in the development of the product, and minimize the costs involved. When using other methods, it is possible to identify that when the error/failure is identified and corrected at later stages of the production process, the greater the financial expenses employed with the changes in the design and development time are.
Another important fact is that, with the help of computer simulation, leading companies are able to extend the life of the product and achieve higher production volume, longer time in the market, higher average sales price, low cost of goods sold, and launch successful products in less time compared to the competition.