Sports Cars and Chin-Up Bars: Accelerating Designs with SOLIDWORKS Simulation
Michael Alba posted on July 14, 2020 |
How Giaffone Racing and Brudden Equipment are benefiting from simulation-driven design.
Dassault Systèmes has sponsored this post.
(Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)
(Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

Your whole life is a simulation. You’re living in the Matrix. Sorry you had to find out this way.

Okay, that may or may not be true. But what is true is that your life could be better with a little more simulation, especially if you are involved in product design.

Why? By incorporating simulation earlier and more often in the development cycle, you have the potential to reduce the time and cost of development while outputting better products. This is a notion called simulation-driven design, and it seeks to empower design engineers—not just analysts—with accessible simulation software. recently published a research report, Simulation-Driven Design for SOLIDWORKS Users, that explores this topic in much greater detail.

In this article, we’ll take a look at two companies, both users of SOLIDWORKS CAD, that have embraced the path of simulation-driven design. Giaffone Racing specializes in racing cars and engines and uses SOLIDWORKS Simulation to refine its designs. Brudden Equipment develops fitness equipment and agricultural machinery, and with SOLIDWORKS CAD and Simulation the company has reduced development costs and time-to-market.

Intro to SOLIDWORKS Simulation

SOLIDWORKS users have had access to simulation for many years. Some may not realize that all seats of the CAD program come with a package called SimulationXpress, which provides basic finite element analysis (FEA) capabilities. For most users, SimulationXpress is limited to single-part linear analysis. For users of SOLIDWORKS Premium, the built-in simulation tool adds the option to run studies on assemblies as well.

Screenshot of a thermal analysis in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. (Image courtesy of Javelin Technologies.)
Screenshot of a thermal analysis in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. (Image courtesy of Javelin Technologies.)

SOLIDWORKS users can access more advanced simulation through an add-on called SOLIDWORKS Simulation, which can be licensed alongside the CAD program. Like SimulationXpress, SOLIDWORKS Simulation lives directly inside the SOLIDWORKS environment, offering users the same interface and commands as the CAD program itself. This integration and intuitiveness is one of the key enablers of simulation-driven design—that design engineers don’t have to learn an FEA program from the ground up to make use of simulation.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation offers a variety of analysis types from basic to advanced, including linear static, linear dynamic, thermal, frequency, buckling, fatigue, non-linear, topology optimization and more. In addition to SOLIDWORKS Simulation, SOLIDWORKS users can also conduct computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies with a SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, as well as plastic injection molding analysis with SOLIDWORKS Plastics.

Giaffone Racing Lightweights Parts with Topology Optimization

Giaffone Racing got its start in 1990 manufacturing competition go-karts. Since then, the company has expanded into the broader world of motorsports, and now develops vehicles and components for races throughout its native Brazil.

(Image courtesy of Giaffone Racing.)
(Image courtesy of Giaffone Racing.)

In 2006, Giaffone Racing—then known as JL Racing Products—standardized its engineering team on SOLIDWORKS CAD, PLM and simulation solutions. The shift correlated with the company’s plan to offer more motorsport products, a plan which needed a firm foundation, according to engineer Adriano Schommer.

“In developing components and products for this new market, we also evaluated whether we would be able to tap new technologies, such as additive manufacturing, which is how we discovered the topology study capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional software,” he said.

Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation topology optimization, Giaffone Racing reduced the weight of this suspension upright by 60 percent. (Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation topology optimization, Giaffone Racing reduced the weight of this suspension upright by 60 percent. (Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional and Premium offer a type of study called topology optimization, which takes a geometry and determines which parts of it are not contributing to its structural requirements. In this way, the geometry can be whittled down to the most essential version of itself, leaving designers with a part that is lighter yet strong enough for a given load.

In racing, lighter means faster, and Giaffone Racing has used topology optimization to significantly reduce the weight of certain components. For example, the company reduced the weight of a suspension upright by 60 percent without compromising its strength.

“The topology optimization tools in SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional software are helping us to create lighter, stronger and stiffer parts more quickly, without having to engage in trial-and-error design iterations," said Schommer. “On the upright, we first optimized for weight but found out that the design was not stiff enough. We then worked with the topology optimization profile to modify the design for strength and stiffness. With SOLIDWORKS topology optimization, we were able to get to the final design in a single iteration instead of many."

Brudden Equipment Gets to Market Quicker with Integrated Analysis

Brudden Equipment provides a diverse range of products throughout Latin America, from the Brudden brand of agricultural machinery to the Movement brand of fitness equipment. Movement is one of the most popular fitness brands in Brazil, with nearly half of all gyms in the country sporting at least one piece of Movement equipment.

(Image courtesy of Brudden Equipment.)
(Image courtesy of Brudden Equipment.)

In 2007, Brudden Equipment was looking to establish a more robust development workflow to accommodate its ever-expanding product range. After evaluating a number of CAD solutions, including Autodesk Inventor and PTC Pro/ENGINEER (now Creo), Brudden decided to standardize on SOLIDWORKS solutions for CAD, simulation and technical documentation.

“We chose SOLIDWORKS because it had the shortest learning curve, was competitively priced, and provided access to integrated engineering tools,” said Victor E. F. Xavier, engineering manager at Brudden Equipment.

One of those integrated engineering tools was SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium, which gave Brudden access to a wide range of simulation capabilities within their design environment. This increased the use of simulation internally and eliminated the need for external analysis.

“Before we implemented SOLIDWORKS, most finite element analysis was outsourced to a consultant, primarily for validation at the end of development.” Xavier continued. “Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium and the analysis capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Premium, we now run analyses more frequently and as part of initial design. Instead of needing four or five physical prototypes during development, we now require only two or three,” Xavier said.

A Brudden Equipment component is analyzed in SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium. (Image courtesy of Brudden Equipment.)
A Brudden Equipment component is analyzed in SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium. (Image courtesy of Brudden Equipment.)

Brudden’s switch to SOLIDWORKS paid off. The company managed to decrease its time-to-market by up to 30 percent, and went from developing five new products per year to nearly twenty. As for SOLIDWORKS Simulation, the use of simulation-driven design cut Brudden’s prototyping costs significantly.

“We not only have enjoyed a 40 percent reduction in prototyping costs as a result, we also have improved product quality, expanded our knowledge of design performance and increased our confidence in our products,” Xavier said.

Simulation That Scales

As we’ve seen with Giaffone Racing and Brudden Equipment, SOLIDWORKS Simulation can unlock simulation-driven design and lead to better products, lower costs and shorter development times.

SOLIDWORKS users who need even more advanced simulation capabilities can stay in the family with 3DEXPERIENCE WORKS, a suite of cloud-based applications designed for SOLIDWORKS users and hosted on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The simulation tools available on 3DEXPERIENCE WORKS are built on the Abaqus FEA solver, which enables advanced non-linear analysis to users who need to go beyond the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Simulation.

To learn more about how SOLIDWORKS users can take advantage of simulation-driven design, read our recent research report: Simulation-Driven Design for SOLIDWORKS Users.

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