Design through analysis: simulation-driven product development pays business dividends in transition to smart manufacturing

Written by: SOLIDWORKS | Published: 10/20

Manufacturing companies in today’s competitive global business climate face a seemingly insurmountable dichotomy: the need to develop, produce, and launch more innovative products of increasing complexity in less time and at lower cost while maintaining consistently high levels of quality.

This challenge is driving the businesses towards an automated product development and smart manufacturing process, because traditional product development and manufacturing approaches are inadequate for handling increasingly complex products in less time and at lower cost without making trade-offs that negatively impact quality. Best-in-class manufacturers are embracing higher levels of innovation, automation, data exchange, and throughput in transitioning to smart manufacturing by leveraging integrated virtual prototyping and simulation technologies. Instead of engaging in repeated rounds of physical testing, manufacturers are leveraging simulation-driven product development because it provides a host of business benefits as part of the transition to smart manufacturing. What manufacturers need to secure these advantages and meet emerging business challenges are integrated, easy-to-use, and automated design simulation and analysis tools—tailored to meet the needs of specific functions—such as those developed by Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS Corp.


Product development and manufacturing methods have always been dynamic, evolving from the use of water and steam-powered industrialization more than a century ago to the heavy reliance on computer-driven technologies today. The current trend—often referred to as “Smart Manufacturing,” the “Smart Factory,” or “the 4th Industrial Revolution”—goes beyond the use

of computer technology to complete separate functions more efficiently and involves greater levels of automation, integration, collaboration, and data-sharing among design, engineering, and manufacturing technologies and personnel—as well as other related functions—so that products are developed, validated, and produced concurrently instead of sequentially.

In the traditional design-to-manufacturing process, designers design products and create 3D CAD models and/or 2D drawings; engineers and analysts use those models and/or drawings to validate product performance and manufacturability through hand calculations, prototyping, physical testing, and/or virtual analysis; and manufacturing professionals use these modified, validated models and/or drawings to produce and assemble products through separate, serial, non-integrated processes. While this approach has succeeded in the past, growing market demands for product innovation, safety, reliability, smart features, improved quality, ergonomics, and aesthetics are gradually making the traditional, sequential approach to product development and manufacturing obsolete. To differentiate their products, manufacturers need to imbue increasingly complex products, such as those based on the internet of things (IoT), with all of these characteristics, which is directly at odds with the shorter development cycles, reduced development costs, higher product

quality, and faster times to market that manufacturers need to remain competitive.

This paper explores the business challenges facing today’s manufacturing companies and how integrated SOLIDWORKS® Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium, and SIMULIA®

Structural Simulation Engineer (SSE) virtual prototyping software solutions can help manufacturers transition to a concurrent, smart approach to product

development and manufacturing.

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