If you think simulations have little value when it comes to real-world applications, you’ve probably forgotten your driver’s education course. When learning to drive, many courses require participants to watch a video of someone driving while each student practices making turns and parking at their own desk in concert with the video.
The idea is to become familiar with the look and feel of driving before ever getting behind the wheel of motorized vehicle capable of causing collisions, property damage, and injury to fellow citizens. This isn’t the only instance of simulators being used for preparation – flight schools also use them, for example, and they can be used for non-training purposes, as well.
In fact, simulators can be used in a variety of business settings for a variety of purposes. They can mathematically predict outcomes, aid in risk management, and improve products and processes through simulated modeling, testing, and so on.
In terms of equipment fabrication, there are many ways in which design simulation can be used to improve outcomes.
Test New Designs
The testing process is essential when creating new products. It helps to ensure that products function as they’re supposed to and that they meet applicable safety standards.
Testing also gives you insight into potential problems and ways to improve product function and design. This allows you to give customers the best possible value and build a solid reputation as an industry leader.
However, fabricating parts, creating prototypes, and running tests can be a lengthy (and expensive) process. Using design simulation software can significantly reduce the amount of work you do and make the testing process more efficient.
Naturally, there will be some level of human involvement, but with proper input and management, computing power will do most of the work for you. The burdens associated with “going back to the drawing board” when something doesn’t work are greatly reduced when you’re running simulations as opposed to creating and testing tangible products.
Hone Production Processes
Planning production may seem like a point-A-to-point-B process, but this is rarely the case. The end game will no doubt feature specific steps in a specific sequence, but arriving at this pass requires a lot of abstraction first.
Computers are great for abstraction. The human mind works based on knowledge and experience, which are used to extrapolate ideas. In other words, we’re limited. Not so with computer software designed for simulation.
Simulation programs allow designers to approach products and manufacturing processes from angles they may never have considered. Whereas the human mind would be boggled by the endless complexities and possibilities in the design process, computers have no problem with top-down design.
This allows designers the best opportunity to test theories and figure out the ideal way to design and manufacture equipment.
Spot Potential Problem Areas
Even if a product design is perfect in theory, real-world applications could produce problems designers never anticipated. Suppose customers use a product in ways it is not intended to be used. What will happen? You need to know so that you can create functional, durable, and safe products.
Design simulators can be used to help you pinpoint, understand, and account for potential problems with your products and the manufacturing process. Virtually solving problems is bound to be a lot less difficult and time consuming than making and breaking endless parts until you get it right.
Manufacturing new products can be an expensive undertaking, especially when you consider the initial cost of making prototypes for testing purposes, before you even begin mass production or make any sales. It’s an investment, of course, that you hope will pay off, but there are no guarantees.
Design simulations can do more than just help you to make better, safer products through virtual testing; they can also save you a ton of money on developing products that simply aren’t viable for one reason or another. Why play a game of expensive, real-world trial and error when you can get the same results at a fraction of the cost with simulated tests?
You’ll not only save money on both materials and labor, but you stand to see increased revenue as a result of making better products from the get-go. Earning a reputation for product reliability can also increase recognition, patronage, and profit.