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From the concept, a specification for the electric motor and the electric generator can be deduced. The electric motor is designed in FEM/BEM

This simulation includes detailed power electronics models, losses/ cooling in the power electronics, machine models based on FEM/BEM simulation results and control including field weakening

Tony Christian, director at Cambashi W

hen we look at the historical evolution of soſtware as applied to industrial processes, we see that IT solutions

have grown to revolutionise practices across the entire product lifecycle, from the initial development through to manufacture and maintenance in the field. Computer-aided draſting in 2D, for example, meant that drawings could be produced faster than previously possible. Te business benefit of this was that the work could be done with fewer draſtsmen – costs were saved while the specification and process remained the same. When 3D CAD came along, drawings

suddenly became a by-product of the 3D modelling as people could focus on the actual design of the product in 3D and then simply press a button to produce the drawing. Te industry adapted to a new way of doing things and that trend has continued with the analysis and simulation programs that can now be plugged into the 3D designs. By enabling designers to share the same geometry base, the soſtware enables multiple things to happen at once rather than doing things in a strictly linear way. It’s essentially reinventing the process. Process design typically has three

dimensions: the process itself that is going to be laid out, the technology available to enable it and the structure of the organisation that will carry it out. Reinventing processes within organisations that already have set ways of doing things can, of course, cause significant issues. Te technology that organisations have at their disposal can oſten be ahead of their ability to exploit it properly, presenting definite barriers to improving efficiency and time to market. Companies are also grappling with the fact that advances in the technology mean


that significant chunks of what was formerly specialist work, such as FEA, can now be integrated into general designers’ workflows. Although a specialist will at some point be required to check that everything has been done correctly, this can leave them needing to broaden their own skillsets. Te integration of design and manufacturing

technologies has certainly had a significant impact. Manufacturers can get hold of the geometry early, run simulations of the manufacturing processes and send that information back to the designers, creating a constant feedback loop during the evolution of the designs. Tis cuts down on what was previously a long, drawn-out process that involved numerous reworkings. Te systems that design and run the

manufacturing processes today are capable of picking up the product design data and using it to design the manufacturing facility in such a way that the workflow is optimised. Tis even extends to the layout of the facility itself. Traditionally, where a facility has been

designed in stages, there has been a considerable amount of rework when it comes to the architecture because if something is not quite right in one area, the manufacturing workflow will be compromised. Process design soſtware enables top-to-bottom integration of the building design with production layout, down to a single process for a specific element such as the timing for constructing a car bonnet. Te entire hierarchy fits together within the model so that it can be verified before building of the factory begins. Beyond that, comes the aſter-sales lifecycle.

Engineering data is being managed in a holistic way across the entire life of the product, which

means that companies can be far more efficient and innovative in how they run their operations aſter the product has been released. One classic example is the now- famous Rolls Royce aircraſt engine ‘power by the hour’ model. Here, extremely sophisticated technology is supplied on a ‘per use’ basis, supported by product management technology that includes sensors within engines that feed data regarding condition and performance back to the company’s engineering system. Not only does this mean that the products don’t need to be stripped down for evaluation and maintenance so oſten, but the operational data can be used to enhance the design and performance of the next generation. Of course, as a result of this lifecycle

integration, applications are producing immense quantities of data that’s hard to organise and mine in an effective way. We’re seeing organisations worry a lot more about how to manage that mushrooming volume of information and ensure it is available for use down the line. High-performance cloud-based environments, such as Autodesk’s new PLM solution, will have a key role to play, especially for engineering firms, providing that businesses can come to terms with the security of it. Many large organisations insist on keeping their proprietary data internally and while a huge amount of effort is going into convincing the industry that cloud is secure, it’s difficult to determine what exactly will make people comfortable with the idea in the future.

Images courtesy of Integrated Engineering Software

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