Upfront FEA and CFD offer explosive engineering time, quality, cost, and innovation benefits when applied properly. They offer no value at all when applied with the wrong attitude.
To get the most out of upfront CAE, you must reinforce its use for proactive design direction rather than for reactive design verification. Or, in plain English: focus on doing dozens or hundreds of comparative simulations rather than a single perfect analysis.
Newcomers to ufpront CAE often make this critical mistake. They fixate on generating perfect simulations which compare to test data with dead nuts accuracy. This kind of thinking does 2 things:
- It forces the tool to be used later in the design process. To “test” the simulation, enough production definition must first be in place to actually build a physical prototype.
- It limits the number of crazy (ie, innovative) design paths to be explored.
Imagine your team faced with 3 distinctly different design paths. Today’s lightning fast time-to-market cycles reward quick/good decisions and often punish long/perfect decisions. You can’t possibly flesh out each path to completion and expect to compete with faster, smarter rivals.
Climb aboard the apples-to-apples train! Early, comparative studies are fast. If you will focus on trends and result magnitudes for models with similar setups and assumptions, you can quickly downselect to the paths worthy of your full engineering effort. That attitude, my friends, will unleash the full power of upfront CAE.