PTC and ANSYS Bring Real-time Simulation and AR to Design Engineers
Andrew Wheeler posted on March 01, 2019 |

For product design teams who are interested in the value of investing in immersive reality technologies for product design, understand that there is no industry-specific ROI calculator for weighing the cost of investing, training and wielding immersive technology for you to show your employer.  

After all, product design workflows vary greatly, and the importance of aesthetics versus functionality needs to be understood well in advance. High-quality, fully detailed renderings are important characteristics that help communicate the aesthetic value of the digital prototype. Industrial designers and visual designers will be concerned with what a customer will impute about the product from characteristics that comprise the totality of aesthetics. They will want to understand and tweak how different material properties interact with different textures and colors. So, it makes sense that they would prioritize high-quality renderings for product design in augmented reality or virtual reality.

In the modern design process, form and function have long been separated as two different processes, though that is beginning to change with powerful software, powerful desktop workstations and immersive technology. Companies are reticent to release information that could provide a concrete example of a proven ROI in a product design lifecycle. It stands to reason that companies who are serious about innovative products to market as fast as possible do not want to give their competitors the same advantages by releasing anything close to resembling a bona fide ROI. However, when companies partner to release new products, combining strengths for shared customers who need cutting edge product design tools, the ROI is implied, but not explicit. (Image courtesy of PTC.)
In the modern design process, form and function have long been separated as two different processes, though that is beginning to change with powerful software, powerful desktop workstations and immersive technology. Companies are reticent to release information that could provide a concrete example of a proven ROI in a product design lifecycle. It stands to reason that companies who are serious about innovative products to market as fast as possible do not want to give their competitors the same advantages by releasing anything close to resembling a bona fide ROI. However, when companies partner to release new products, combining strengths for shared customers who need cutting edge product design tools, the ROI is implied, but not explicit. (Image courtesy of PTC.)

PTC and ANSYS Unveil Creo Simulation Live

PTC just unveiled Creo Simulation Live, a new software that brings real-time simulation into the design environment itself, giving design engineers the new ability to see the effect of their design decisions immediately. The goal is to make product development more agile and speed the time-to-market without sacrificing quality.

In product design, the higher the quality of each product design, analysts who perform design reviews can move to higher value analyses with greater expediency. 

At PTC's LiveWorx digital conference last year, we learned that the two companies would be working together to create better products for design engineers, among other things. Creo Simulation Live is a way for the two companies to respond to feedback from design engineers who wanted faster, more robust products that didn't put a strain on traditional design processes. 

Unsurprisingly, product design teams want to navigate the process with analysis, which means incorporating simulation into the design process. A reasonable request for improving the speed and quality of design by understanding the impact of each design decision on the product helps teams understand how to make a market impact, where the sum of its parts is much greater than the whole. 

By putting simulation directly in the hands of design engineers in real-time, ANSYS and Creo are hoping to further integrate as many advantages as possible into the software experience for design engineers and every member of product design teams. Creo sees CAD data of a product design as the first layer of information that makes it a
By putting simulation directly in the hands of design engineers in real-time, ANSYS and Creo are hoping to further integrate as many advantages as possible into the software experience for design engineers and every member of product design teams. Creo sees CAD data of a product design as the first layer of information that makes it a "digital twin" of its physical form. Other layers of information include data from IIoT devices, computational fluid dynamics and topology optimization, among other things. The more digital data that can be collected, stored and used in real-time during product design, the more the product can be refined before physical testing. Once a physical prototype is created, design changes become more expensive in general.

AR for Design Review

Reviewing 3D models on a regular 2D display screen creates a necessary leap of imagination from 2D to 3D for a design reviewer. When an object is displayed in augmented reality, a user can see the object at a 1:1 scale in a real physical environment. Performing design review in AR also gives users the benefit of object recognition. This means that when a design reviewer wants to hone in on existing product geometry overlaid on a physical object, like the hood of a car, they can do so, allowing them to see it in its original context. (Image courtesy of PTC.)
Reviewing 3D models on a regular 2D display screen creates a necessary leap of imagination from 2D to 3D for a design reviewer. When an object is displayed in augmented reality, a user can see the object at a 1:1 scale in a real physical environment. Performing design review in AR also gives users the benefit of object recognition. This means that when a design reviewer wants to hone in on existing product geometry overlaid on a physical object, like the hood of a car, they can do so, allowing them to see it in its original context. (Image courtesy of PTC.)

If you are new to learning about AR for product design, remember that AR is neither a solution to every product design issue nor an unnecessary and impractical solution looking for a problem. It is a tool that allows product design team members to make decisions about virtual prototypes at a 1:1 scale that represent future manufactured versions. 

What other CAD-oriented product design tasks will PTC Creo Simulation and AR improve?

Since PTC Creo Simulation Live is a brand-new application for product design teams, how can a team leader get the approval for implementing a pilot program? You could start by pointing out that since traditional CAD applications use WIMP systems (Windows, Icon, Menu, Pointer) as user interfaces for classic desktop rendering, immersive computing technology like augmented reality will benefit your product design team, especially for large-scale products that are difficult to transport. 

You could say that the reason WIMP applications are disadvantageous is that the 3D models are displayed on a 2D display, creating a dampening effect where a viewer’s ability to imagine the CAD data in three dimensions comes into play. Since this ability varies by practice and natural inclination, a solution is needed. You could expand on this point by arguing that even the best imagination cannot readily transfer 2D CAD data into 3D when the models or assemblies reach high levels of complexity and sophistication.

AR is particularly useful to product design teams when they are experimenting and interacting with the product. The ability to submerse oneself in a design and interact with a virtual prototype at a 1:1 scale is especially useful if there are no physical prototypes available. Another benefit of virtual prototyping is the ability to simulate real-world context outside of the digital prototype. With the ability to drive product design by analysis using the real-time simulation capabilities from ANSYS that are incorporated int PTC Creo Live Simulation, more changes can be made to virtual prototypes, which are less costly to make versus physical prototypes. 

The cost of creating physical prototypes of different models can be tracked over the course of a quarter or annually and weighed against the investment capital needed to implement a virtual reality system over the same period of time. 

Rendering a virtual product design at a high frame rate is important for interactive experiences that require a lot of movement on the part of the user. Understanding that there is a catch-22 between allocating resources for geometric complexity and frame rate.

If the goal of your virtual reality system is to show your product design from one perspective without too much movement needed, then your frame rate can be regarded as less of a priority than the level of geometric detail.

When AR is used by product design teams, they generally will deal with a low-frame rate if they can interact well with the geometry to examine design bottlenecks.

Bottom Line

Creo Simulation Live Powered by ANSYS has the potential to streamline product design with real-time feedback in the modeling environment. Depending on how long it takes to understand and implement and use these real-time simulation features, time-to-market should be faster. Reducing product development costs by lessening delays, rework and prototyping could also translate to better after-market service and more expedient maintenance and repair operations as well. 

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