Making Simulation Pay

Don't forget to mark your calendars now for the virtual Digital Engineering Design & Simulation Summit that will return on Oct. 31, 2024.

Don't forget to mark your calendars now for the virtual Digital Engineering Design & Simulation Summit that will return on Oct. 31, 2024.

At the recent assess summit i attended in Georgia this spring, several presenters touched on a topic that probably doesn’t get enough attention in our pages: making the business case for simulation. ASSESS, which is part of NAFEMS, published a paper on the topic late last year (Understanding the Path to Realizable Business Benefits through Engineering Simulation), which you can download here.

The idea is that chief engineers and managers need a way to show value for simulation to decision makers, because advanced simulation is often time, resource, and cost intensive. Mark Meili of Modeling Enabled Innovation, Leadership, and Insight, gave a presentation on some of the findings.


He emphasized that there are measurable benefits in time reduction, cost reduction, increased innovation and safety. Some of these benefits are easy to see. If you do more virtual experiments and less physical testing, the time/cost savings are fairly evident. But he said that it’s important to baseline existing development costs so that you can show a real improvement, and to be aware of company politics when building this business case; one person’s cost reduction is someone else’s embarrassing budget cut.

A McKinsey presentation at the event reinforced these ideas, noting that in a (still uncompleted) automotive industry survey, simulation users experienced double-digit improvements in time to market and product performance.

This month’s issue focuses on Generative Design, which remains a topic with a lot of reader interest, even though adoption remains relatively low. Senior Editor Kenneth Wong takes a look at how natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence can augment these tools and make them easier to use. Longtime contributor Randall Newton, meanwhile, provides a look at the types of engineering workstations needed to run these tools.

We also have features on simulation software interoperability, hybrid additive/subtractive manufacturing processes (and the design challenges they present), and a look at Autodesk 2025 from David Cohn.

In other news, the virtual Digital Engineering Design & Simulation Summit will return on Oct. 31, 2024. The keynote panel this year will focus on how artificial intelligence (AI) is being integrated into simulation software and related workflows to optimize results and offer fast, simplified analysis throughout the design process. While AI is not going to replace complex simulation and analysis, it can provide easy-to-use design validation earlier in the process for non-experts, which can increase the value of more robust simulations later in the workflow. We also plan to have industry leaders on hand to provide additional insights in four additional sessions focused on engineering computing, digital twins, design and additive manufacturing. You can find out more at the Design & Simulation Summit website.

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About the Author

Brian Albright's avatar
Brian Albright

Brian Albright is the editorial director of Digital Engineering. Contact him at [email protected].

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