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Simulation driven development is revolutionizing manufacturing
In the age of digital transformation and the Industry 4.0 bonanza, simulation driven development seems to be the strategic tool for building a competitive manufacturing company fit for the digital economy. Something that world leading pump manufacturer Grundfos can testify to.
Simulation technology is not new, but it is now so evolved that it can serve as a tool for developing products smarter, faster and more cost efficiently by optimizing key processes in manufacturing: engineering, design, production and operations. Making it gradually evident that the technology has the potential to disrupt manufacturing as we know it.
Grundfos use simulation technology in a transformational way
A great example on how companies can use simulations technology in a profitable and transformational way, is the world leading Danish pump manufacturer, Grundfos.
They have used simulation technology for more than 30 years now, dating back to the late 1980’s. For the past six years however, simulation has moved from a secondary element to a technology that simply drive their development, especially within mechanics.
Today, their Simulation Driven Development journey (SDD), has made simulation technology a core part of their manufacturing operations. They have worked on implementing the technology in various ways within the company, making it available for engineers, designers and even non-engineers by embedding tools and workflows in simulation apps.
When asked what the driving forces are for Grundfos, Jakob Vernersen, senior R&D-manager and Head of Mechanics and Materials at Grundfos, explains that for them simulation capabilities are all about competitiveness.
First of all, simulations enable better designs: not only do simulations optimize the design process, but they also enable Grundfos to study designs that are not feasible to test. This way, Grundfos can optimize their performance, quality and eventually also the level of innovation.
Secondly, product development becomes that much faster as they reduce time consuming and expensive physical testing. Today, they have reduced the whole trouble shooting process to practically nothing, as the need for iterations, where tests fail, is no longer needed. Today, they get it right the first time.
Finally, they can reduce costs in both product development and the products themselves, in terms of lower material and energy consumption. And as sustainability is the DNA of Grundfos, the goal is to continually work on reducing the energy consumption of pumps, that today use 10 percent of the world’s electrical energy consumption.
The forever journey
Grundfos have worked closely with EDRMedeso for a long time in a joint effort to continuously increase Grundfos’ simulation capabilities. Their collaboration has enabled Grundfos to simulate on things that they couldn’t simulate on before and together they have developed specific tools that automate a number of the processes involved.
Grundfos has already taken simulation into areas such as electronics, controls, electromagnetics, acoustics, and across the whole range of that.
But it is a journey, that Jakob Vernersen don’t see ending at all.
There is a continuous development in things one can simulate and there are many things that they would like to simulate on but cannot yet. Ultimately the intention is to have a complete virtual pump that you can subject to any simulation imaginable.
Knowing this, suddenly it’s no wonder that Grundfos is one of the world’s leading pump suppliers and front-runners when it comes to the use of digital prototyping, making up for a bright future for Grundfos.
So how do you succeed with Simulation Driven Development?
As Grundfos has proved, simulation driven development, must be considered as a journey – an ongoing journey that most probably will never stop. In order to succeed, manufacturing companies must get the basics of simulation technology right first, while simultaneously working on making the technology available across the value chain and manufacturing operations.
This requires working on breaking down siloes within the company and creating a collaborative-mindset.
Furthermore, it is crucial that companies take measures to ensure each process in the chain is at the right simulation readiness level and use this as a guide for advancing modelling and simulation capabilities, just like Grundfos has done it with tools and workflows in simulation apps.
To draw on the benefits of simulation driven development today and, in the future, companies must do the work regarding the use and development of simulation tools. They must be front-runners. not laggards.
Change is never easy, but in the digitized world, the ones who are willing to evolve, will win.