How did you first become involved with engineering simulation in your career?
Working on my doctorate in experimental fluid mechanics in the early ’90s, employing techniques such as Laser Doppler Velocimetry, I started using what was then Flow-3D, later to become CFX which is now part of ANSYS. I found the use of CFD simulation, while not yet able to replace experimentation, could dramatically improve the quality of experiments performed and reduce the number of experiments required. I was immediately hooked on working in the CFD field!
Why is EASA participating in the Revolution in Simulation (Rev-Sim)?
Since our origins as part of the CFX group, we saw how frequently companies wanted to be able to eliminate the need for all users to be a CFD expert in order to safely run a fluid flow simulation model. The development of EASA was a natural response. The mission of Rev-Sim to educate, advocate, innovate, and collaborate for democratization simulation is completely aligned with our rationale for creating EASA in the first place.
Why is expanding the use of simulation technologies through the democratization of simulation important to your customers?
There will always remain many simulation models that can only safely be used by the expert modelers who built them. However, most companies who perform simulation have some models where the value from enabling safe and reliable use by non-experts can exceed that of the entire modeling and simulation effort by the specialists.
What do you see as the most important benefits?
It really depends on the use-case. As mentioned above, we have seen situations where the return on investment of democratizing just a few critical models has completely exceeded the value of all the conventional modeling (i.e. expert only) at a given company. Sometimes it’s simply acceleration of the process; sometimes it’s removing the need for experts to perform routine simulations, thus enabling them to do what only they can do which then increases the value of modeling experts. Often, it’s about putting simulation safely into the hands of groups who have no knowledge of simulation – for example, sales staff who need to run simulations before they can generate a proposal for a customer.
Can you share with us an example of a benefit?
I think the example above, regarding deployment of modeling tools as part of the sales process, for companies whose products or services are highly configurable, is the use-case where we see the strongest case for the democratization of simulation. We have more examples in these case studies.
What are some of the challenges that you have also witnessed?
Technology maturity (e.g. automatic meshing) is one, but the biggest challenge is that we engineers, although we like to think of ourselves as forward-thinking, really aren’t! The old ways of doing things are very hard to change. Having said that, we see customers like GE, ZF, Caterpillar, P&G, HP, GKN and many others who have taken the step, and have seen very compelling results.
What can we expect to see from EASA in the future to help industry overcome these hurdles?
We continue to make our software easier to use. In almost every case we have found that if a customer has the time to evaluate our software and try a proof of concept, the result is success. We just need to reduce the time it takes for a new user to generate the first few apps.
Where can Rev-Sim followers go to learn more?
Thank you, Seb!