Manufacturing is a complex and increasingly more costly undertaking. Reducing this complexity and cost is a central goal of the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences. There are literally hundreds of thousands of potential factors impacting a manufactured product including the introduction of new materials, environmental concerns, and the need for timely product commercialization. It is critical that these factors be evaluated during the design phase of product development, prior to full scale production. Potential, costly flaws can be identified and corrected at this phase and it is also possible to identify innovative product configurations.
NCMS is developing services and collaboration on cross industry projects that will revolutionize product design for manufacturers. The High Performance Simulation for Product Design (HPSPD) program will enable manufacturers of all sizes to use super computer processing power to evaluate their product designs during the development stage. NCMS will bring together technology developers, providers and end users to create a set of tools that are affordable, timely, and speed the commercialization of manufactured products to the marketplace. We believe that this product development methodology will become an industry standard over the next decade. Early adopters of HPSPD will have a distinct competitive advantage over their global competitors.
NCMS has identified Decision Incite Inc. as a leading innovator in this emerging technology. The Decision Incite team has developed a process called Simulation Supported Decision Making (SSDM) which simulates millions of variables to pinpoint the top five to twenty most influential characteristics of a new design. Identifying these hypercritical characteristics help companies focus on design aspects that will have the most impact on the final product. This benefit alone would make SSDM an invaluable tool to manufacturers.
But the SSDM process also helps identify “outliers” which are potential configurations that are not normally visible to traditional experience-based product design methods. These outliers can help identify potential problems and new innovative configurations that can greatly increase profitability and utility to the end user.
The SSDM process requires access to high performance computing power which in the past was not available to most manufacturers. SSDM utilizes the relatively new availability of surplus high performance computing capacity to make design capability affordable. The SSDM tool is linked to supercomputing centers to quickly generate Insight Maps. These Insight Maps are used to focus work into the areas deemed of highest importance and impact in order to understand the cause and effect of changes made during the product design phase. The obvious benefit is that identifying potential issues early on, helps reduce costs since design improvements can be made prior to actual production.Traditionally design decisions have been made on educated guesses based on experience. This process is no longer suitable to the manufacturing of complex goods incorporating new materials, sensors, electronics and other innovations. As flaws between relationships are discovered, correction of otherwise expensive production changes and product liability issues follow.
The SSDM process begins with the creation of a simulation-generated Insight Map being applied to the results of a Monte Carlo Simulation (MCS). The data is generated by running multiple physics-based analyses of a parameterized computer model, varying parameters across their natural ranges with each run. The process accurately models reality, incorporating variability and uncertainty. Results are a cloud of points with each point being an accurate result of that specific combination of variables.
MCS is easy to use, with no special algorithms or methods required. The process is independent of the number a variables found in other testing methods, which leads to a fundamental change in engineering. That change in historic engineering is the first step of the process in which assumptions are made to be able to simplify a problem in order to solve it. Instead of making assumptions to limit the number of variables, this process promotes including as many variables as possible, enabling engineers to use Insight Maps as tools to learn from simulation which can reveal unanticipated events and reduce product risk.
Detailing an innovative product during the design phase is a natural evolution in lean manufacturing. It is vital that manufacturers prepare to integrate this capability into their design process. Moreover, as the manufacturing space becomes more competitive, companies should look to this capability as a means to reduce risk and speed commercialization of their products. NCMS will be at the ground floor of this dynamic change in the engineering process. Learn more on this project from NCMS http://www.ncms.org and Decision Incite Inc http://www.decisionincite.com at the NAFEMS NA regional summit October 29th-31st, 2008 in Hampton, VA. Visit http://www.nafems.org for more information.
The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) was founded in 1986 and is the largest cross-industry collaborative R&D consortium in North America. NCMS collaborative teams have an extensive track record of creating and commercializing innovative technologies.