One-on-One with Arvind Krishnan

 

In this Rev-Sim interview we’re talking with Arvind Krishnan of Lifecycle Insights. Arvind is the company’s senior industry analyst covering product design and simulation programs for research and publications. His expertise spans mechanical, electrical, and electronics domains, offering powerful insights to companies transitioning to smart, connected products and adopting simulation-driven product development. His twenty-year career has concentrated on advocating for technologies that make a tangible impact on organizational performance.

Thank you for joining us, Arvind. Can you tell us a little about your background and what led you to where you are today?

Thank you for having me. I am a mechanical engineer and a business graduate. I started my career as a product manager for SolidWorks (now part of Dassault Systèmes). There I was responsible for their simulation initiatives. Our goal was to bring simulation to design engineers. That endeavor involved making simulation easy to use while not compromising the solution’s accuracy. Before joining Lifecycle Insights, I worked at EMWORKS (an electro-magnetic simulation solution provider) where I was responsible for product management, go-to-market strategy, and technical marketing initiatives. Since April 2021, I have been an industry analyst for Lifecycle Insights.

You probably didn’t always aspire to be an industry analyst. What other career options did you have in mind?

No, I didn’t plan on becoming one. But while talking to Chad Jackson, CEO of Lifecycle Insights, about a potential role, I realized that my experience in Product Management and Marketing with CAD/CAE solution providers would be valuable. The role is exciting and aligns well with my interest in keeping abreast of the latest advancements in product development. It gives me the freedom to learn and connect technology to business objectives.

What other options did I have in mind? As a mechanical engineer with experience in tools that aid in product development, I did think about working for an engineering product company in the design department. Technology reporting also sounds exciting.

Tell us a little about Lifecycle Insights.

Technology-led engineering initiatives offer great promise, empowering design teams to develop better products on shorter schedules with fewer resources. Yet, if done incorrectly, such efforts can be disruptive. Learning curves, new processes, and cultural pushback can undermine productivity.

Lifecycle Insights is a trusted research, advisory, and publishing firm providing data-driven insights and industry-proven guidance on engineering transformation. We empower better people, process, and technology decisions for tech-led engineering initiatives, driving the development of better products in less time. Armed with these insights, executives make better investment and adoption decisions. It allows the organization to reap more value from technology-led engineering initiatives in less time, with more surety and less disruption.

Our team has over 75 years of cumulative industry experience in various industries, including aerospace, aviation, defense, mobility, automotive, transportation, high-tech and electronics, consumer electronics, industrial equipment, off-road machinery, oil and gas, medical devices, and equipment, and more.

The simulation industry has come a long way in recent years. What do you consider to be some of the more noteworthy advancements?

There are several that come to mind. For starters, simulation has reached design engineers. I mean, it is no longer exclusive to analysts and Ph.D. holders. I feel that the efforts made by solution providers (both CAD and simulation) are the main reason. So, kudos to the players in this industry.

Cloud computing is another area I want to mention. This has revolutionized the problems that can be solved today. Now, engineers can simulate entire systems accurately – something theoretically possible only in dreams, even a decade ago.

GPU acceleration is a recent advancement that accelerates the solution time. This is crucial for engineers looking at simulation to make design decisions.

Finally, multi-physics is significant as products are becoming increasingly complex. The ability to simulate multi-physics reduces the amount of testing and drastically improves product quality. Today’s products are complex systems.

A common theme is that simulation is getting faster and easier for engineers to adopt successfully. Also, one can simulate complex systems – typical of today’s products.

Did you ever imagine that simulation would be democratized to the extent that it is today?

Absolutely. Again, it is an unfair question for me because remember, I began my career in a company that set out to do just this. Simulation is now an indispensable part of any serious product development.

What are the implications? Engineering curriculums have changed. Any undergrad student in engineering will learn simulation in school. Alternate resources are also available. Some solution providers have extended free resources for engineers to learn simulation. ANSYS comes to my mind, but I am sure there are others.

Where do you see the industry in the next 5-10 years? Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Additive Manufacturing… can you talk a little about these and how they relate to simulation?

I see more and more SMBs and companies in the developing world exploit simulation and other engineering transformation digital solutions shortly. We will see world-class products from Vietnam, India, and other developing economies soon. And a big driver will be accessibility to simulation tools.

As far as simulation technologies, I can’t fathom what will be possible. ChatGPT equivalent of product design (using simulation engines) is not far off, in my opinion. Generative design and topology optimization are the harbingers. Definitely, NLP and other AI/ML techniques will aid in bringing simulation to a new level.

Additive is not new anymore, but how it relates to simulation is interesting. I think it will play a significant role in optimization engines. The engine can generate parts that can only be produced by AM. This makes lightweighting easier. Many transformative industries – mobility, space, and aviation will benefit immensely.

What’s the best way for someone to learn more about Lifecycle Insights and your services?

Our website (lifecycleinsights.com) is a great start. We have revamped it and hope visitors will benefit from our resources. Our analysts are knowledgeable and fun to talk to. If you have something in engineering transformation, we would love to hear it. Finally, you can contact our relationship manager, Cody Barnette, to schedule briefings or learn more about our research/publication offerings.

Thank you for your time today, Arvind. Enough about work… tell us a little about yourself.  What do you enjoy doing in your spare time, any interesting hobbies, brush with greatness, and so on? Any books, shows that you want to talk about?

During my spare time, I enjoy reading. I enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction. I must admit that I am reading less fiction than I like. Two of my recent books are The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka and The Song of the Cell by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I also enjoy reading about biology.

I am a runner. I used to run marathons in earlier days. Today, I run to keep my sanity. Nothing serious, maybe 3 or 4 times a week for about 5 miles each time. Running helps me to think clearly.

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