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Prototyping: Deliver Better Products
Faster with Simulation

Gaining Insight with Simulation


Every physical prototype you produce can cost thousands – or even millions – of pounds. Physical
prototypes can cost even more in time, with building and testing of prototypes consuming valuable
resources and slowing time to market. The market demands innovation and quality, so it’s critical that
you understand and improve product performance. That can often mean several rounds of physical
prototypes, but the pressure to cut costs and accelerate product development cycles makes excessive
reliance on physical prototypes impractical.

In response to competitive pressures, many manufacturers have decreased their reliance on physical
prototypes by using a viable alternative: Digital Prototyping. Digital Prototyping enables you to design,
visualise and simulate a complete product. Simulation is a critical part of a Digital Prototyping workflow,
giving you the understanding typically associated with time-consuming and expensive physical testing.

With simulation technology, you gain deeper insight into how a product will perform in the real world
before you build it. Simulation helps you to understand the implications of design choices as you make
them. It’s easier to investigate product behaviour, test innovative concepts and optimise designs from
the earliest stages of the design process. You can even explore design alternatives such as the impact
of different materials on overall product weight, strength and cost.

Simulation allows you to do three key things: validate, predict and optimise. Using a virtual testing
environment, simulation helps you to:

• Validate designs as you design them. The effects of material choices and part interactions reveal
themselves early in the design process, making it easier to improve designs and avoid costly mistakes.
• Predict how a product will perform in a variety of real-world scenarios. Run virtual performance tests
that deliver comprehensive insight into how products will respond with ordinary and extreme use.
Use this insight to help ensure that the product will perform as needed and to reduce the risk of failure.
• Optimise designs to lower production costs without compromising safety or performance.
Prevent expensive over-engineering and reduce the use of raw materials.

The Autodesk® solution for Digital Prototyping provides a wide range of simulation capabilities that
can expand along with your simulation needs, enabling you to study your products earlier, more often
and in greater detail.

This paper introduces the integrated and powerful simulation capabilities within the Autodesk solution
for Digital Prototyping, highlighting how you can use digital prototypes to gain insight into critical
product characteristics, which will help to reduce costs and save time throughout your design and
manufacturing processes.
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Validate, Predict and Optimise with Autodesk Simulation Software


The Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping supports the entire product development workflow,
enhancing and accelerating virtually every aspect of the design process. Digital Prototyping helps you
to experience a product before it’s built.

The tightly integrated simulation tools within Autodesk® Inventor® software help you to design faster
and smarter. Autodesk® Algor® Simulation software expands your simulation toolkit with comprehensive
mechanical simulation tools that make it easy to predict product performance and to troubleshoot
design flaws. Autodesk® Moldflow® products bring a similar level of insight to plastic part and injection
mould designs.

Embed simulation in your design process with Autodesk Inventor software


As you design and visualise products in Autodesk Inventor software, embedded simulation tools allow
you to validate, predict and optimise product performance as you work. The tools within Inventor put
the most commonly used simulation capabilities at your fingertips, so you can use them when they
provide the most benefit.

The simulation capabilities in Autodesk Inventor software include:

• Dynamic simulation: Study motion and related structural stress within Autodesk Inventor software.
The motion simulation features in Inventor use the assembly constraints of your 3D model to identify
rigid bodies, generate joints and predict dynamic behaviour. As you explore how a design moves, you
gain a better understanding of the position, velocity and acceleration of its parts. Use this insight to
improve assembly movement and avoid mechanical performance issues such as part interference.
• Linear static stress and modal analysis: Predict stress and deflection with easy-to-use simulation
tools. By examining deformation of parts and assemblies under static loads, you can help to make sure
that your designs are safe. Study oscillating modes to explore the natural frequencies of your design.
Then, apply this insight to your digital prototype to help prevent unwanted vibrations.
• Parametric design optimisation: Create parametric studies to understand the impact of different
design parameters and the effect of changes to your designs. As you evaluate and validate design
alternatives, you focus more quickly on optimal design configurations and resolve potential issues
earlier in the design process.
• Injection moulding simulation: Automate key aspects of the design of injection moulds for plastic
parts. Guiding you through the mould design process, Autodesk Inventor software helps you to
determine material flow rates, select gate locations, assess shrinkage and establish process parameters.
You save time and reduce costs by detecting and resolving manufacturability issues earlier.

When manufacturers turn to the simulation capabilities of Autodesk Inventor software, they save time
and money while enhancing product quality. For example, Viking Yacht Company (Viking), a leading
producer of high-performance sport and cruising yachts, has successfully incorporated the simulation
capabilities of Autodesk Inventor into its Digital Prototyping workflow to deliver better products faster.
According to Kurt Bender of Viking, “Now that we’re using Inventor to simulate real-world conditions,
we don’t need full-scale physical prototypes. It’s saving us substantial time and money on each
boat design.”

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Extend your simulation capabilities with Autodesk Algor Simulation software


Autodesk Algor Simulation software allows you to predict product performance accurately with a
comprehensive set of mechanical simulation tools. Autodesk Algor Simulation software integrates with
Autodesk Inventor software, making it easy to incorporate detailed performance insight into your design
process. Autodesk Algor Simulation provides direct data exchange with most CAD software so you can
also benefit from a more informed design process in a multi-CAD software environment.

Autodesk Algor Simulation software goes beyond the capabilities of mainstream simulation tools,
allowing you to further minimise reliance on physical prototypes, even for your most complex products.
Increase efficiency, reduce costs and decrease the risk of errors with a deeper understanding of your
designs by using a wide range of simulation tools, including:

• Fatigue: Perform complex fatigue analysis and predict fatigue-based failure. You can design for
durability and safety more easily by subjecting a product to cyclic stresses and determining the
product’s expected design life.
• Linear and non-linear static stress and dynamics: Study stress, strain, displacement, shear and
axial forces for a wide range of materials. As you enhance designs to reduce deformation and stress,
make decisions that improve structural integrity while avoiding over- and under-engineering.
• Mechanical event simulation (MES): Simulate complex, real-world situations using multi-body
dynamics along with support for large-scale motion, large deformation and large strain with body-to-
body contact. As you study motion and impact, explore options for improving overall product
performance.
• Computational fluid dynamics (CFD): Investigate thermal characteristics of designs and better
understand the flow of fluids. Heat transfer simulation allows you to study changes in temperature.
Fluid flow simulation helps you to determine flow patterns, velocity and pressure as well as the effect
of fluids on your product.
• Electrostatics: Understand the impact of voltage, current and electric fields on product performance.
• Multiphysics: Study how multiple physical factors act simultaneously by combining results from
multiple simulations to better predict a product’s real-world performance.

Manufacturers who apply the comprehensive mechanical simulation capabilities of Autodesk Algor
Simulation software are dramatically reducing time spent on product testing and validation. Tucker
Sno-Cat Corporation, a leading manufacturer of snow vehicles, reduced product development time
from two years to six months and slashed design validation costs by nearly 60 percent by using
Autodesk Inventor combined with Autodesk Algor Simulation software.

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Enhance plastic part designs with Autodesk Moldflow software


Autodesk Moldflow injection moulding simulation software provides tools that help you to optimise
the design of plastic parts, injection moulds and the injection moulding process. Autodesk Moldflow
software works seamlessly with Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Algor Simulation software, so you can
better understand the design and structural performance of plastic parts. Autodesk Moldflow software
also supports a wide range of CAD data, allowing you to incorporate plastic injection moulding
simulation into a multi-CAD software environment.

Autodesk Moldflow software enables you to simulate:

• Plastic flow: Model the flow of melted plastic to identify potential part defects such as air traps,
sink marks and weld lines. Rework designs to avoid manufacturing problems and optimise the injection
moulding process.
• Feed systems: Explore how runner systems and gate locations impact on part quality.
Optimise runner and gating configurations to improve plastic parts and manufacturing processes.
• Mould cooling: Model cooling system components including circuits, baffles and bubblers.
Optimise systems to improve cooling efficiency, reduce part warpage and decrease
manufacturing costs.
• Thermoset flow: Study thermoset injection moulding, resin transfer moulding, RIM/SRIM and
rubber compound injection moulding to understand thermoset flow. Optimise the process to avoid
manufacturing problems including short shots, air traps and poorly placed weld lines.
• Shrinkage and warpage: Predict part shrinkage and warpage based on processing parameters and
material data. Explore ways to optimise part and mould designs, material choices and processing
parameters in order to meet necessary tolerances.

With Autodesk Moldflow software, manufacturers study a wide range of injection moulding processes
virtually, honing in on processes and parameters that deliver desired cycle times and part quality.
Pentair Water Pool and Spa® (Pentair), a pool and spa equipment manufacturer, chose Autodesk
Moldflow software to optimise its mould design process. Since turning to Autodesk Moldflow software,
Pentair has reduced material use and cycle times, resulting in significant annual cost savings.

Conclusion
By bringing the simulation capabilities within the Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping into your
design workflow, you reduce reliance on physical prototypes. This allows you to cut costs and get better
products to market faster. But most importantly, simulation allows you to validate, predict and optimise
the performance of products as you design them. You design greater innovation and superior
performance into products more quickly, so your products stand out in a competitive marketplace.

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