ANSYS, a leading engineering software provider, talks about the significance of simulation in the development of a product, as well as the rise of hybrid and electric vehicle battery technologies in present times. The company sees customers benefitting from simulation in areas of cost, time, better visualisation of standards, and innovation. In a recent interaction, Ashok Khondge, Lead Technology Specialist (L); Padmesh Mandloi, Manager, Support & Services (R), and Dr Kaustubh Nande, Manager – Marketing, ANSYS (C) spoke about the engineering software business in India, and the current trends in the market.
Companies are gradually replacing testing verification, conceptualisation and physical prototyping with simulation, as it reduces turnaround time and cost, while providing a detailed insight into design, said Mandloi. Additional variants of products can easily be made by modifying the original CAD models, and their working can be tested under various circumstances using simulation. Predicting the performance of a component by simulating changes is something that can be done upfront and in real-time, which is where simulators are seen gaining importance.
NEED FOR SIMULATION
Simulation technology is predominantly employed during the development of a new product or a new variant. But another important use of simulation comes in the form of easily and quickly correcting faulty design elements of a product that were missed in the initial design stage. Yet another aspect of simulation that shows its importance is in the fact that designers can visualise their products better, and thereby maintain high quality standards in design.
Physical testing has its own limit in showing the potential of a product, and this can be stretched by the use of simulation. Higher standards of quality and visualisation further lead to better innovations, and for most manufacturers, the true meaning of innovation is in exploring the design space. This is because simulation is the answer for the physical limitations that a design can be put through in the real world. “Innovation seems like a very lofty word, but simulation, in my view, really brings a tactical sense to innovation, and what it means to companies,” Nande said.
BUSINESS IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
While not mentioning specific numbers, Khondge said that a significant size, about 25 % to 30 % of Ansys India’s business, comes from the automotive industry. Within the industry, Ansys has customers across all segments, namely OEMs, suppliers, and off-highway and construction machinery manufacturers, with OEMs bringing the highest revenue.
With companies moving towards simulation, Ansys expects its share of business to grow. The main reason is that the reliance on testing of products and components is falling, as lab tests and on-road tests are expensive and not completely reliable. Government bodies are setting norms and regulation that manufacturers are required to comply with, and simulation is helping these companies achieve and adhere to these rules easily and swiftly. These norms are changing at a regular pace also because a number of global companies are releasing their products in India, and want to maintain global specifications for their products.
Another important solution provided by Ansys is in the field of embedded software, which is a critical component in the development of automotive electronics. Moving parts, like the engine, of most new vehicles are controlled by software, and Ansys provides solutions in designing this embedded software. Proper designing of the embedded software can result in better fuel efficiency, and can bring out the optimum performance of all the components. Embedded software is very important for manufacturers, as vehicles nowadays are made up of 70 % in electronics, and the rest in mechanics. The company offers a broad range of solutions when it comes to vehicle development, right from the structural aspect of the vehicle, to embedded software development.
Ansys claims to be the pioneer in applying mathematical models to battery technology for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and electric vehicles (EV), and says companies are interested in investing in these technologies. The drawback in India, however, is the lack of incentives, and response to policies that have slowed sales of these vehicles. The company is also in contact with manufacturers with regards to the thermal management of batteries. The management of heat from batteries during charging and discharging play an important role in keeping the battery safe from igniting.
Text: Naveen Arul