Integrative Virtual Prototyping
Towards Coherent Technology
Design and development have undergone dramatic changes in the last decades, in particular due to computerisation and automation. Especially the last years show a clear trend towards virtualisation and distributed design, testing, and production. This renders our planet into a single global factory where development is accomplished by virtual prototyping. Hence integration – physical, temporal, and conceptual – becomes of major importance in many aspects. Our vision reconciles the involved problems and solution concepts that shall drive these aspects of technology to the new age.
Integrative Virtual Prototyping – Interaction Instead of Trial and Error
The vision of a fully integrative virtual prototyping is characterized by two main aspects: integration for increased insight and efficiency, and integration for sustainability and interoperation. It unites separated development and operation phases by new environments, reaching from universal simulation infrastructure to production, operation, and recycling. Thereby, it helps bringing the virtual and physical worlds together, providing a basis for a new era.
Key ingredient 1: Integrative Environments
Heterogeneous development hinders progress
Traditional development cycles consist of isolated and subsequent design, simulation, and visualisation phases. These steps are typically conducted in heterogeneous environments, leading to further complications.
Researchers in SimTech develop effective workflow concepts and environments for integrated and interactive prototyping. Providing immediate control and feedback, they support human cognition and gain of design experience.
Key ingredient 2: Integrative Simulation
Redundancy and incompatibility
Today’s research and development suffers from incoherent and incompatible simulation technology, necessitating repeated remodelling and conversion.
Towards modular simulation technology
In SimTech, we develop distributed software infrastructure that supports multi-physics multi-scale simulation, and unifies simulation, workflow, and visualisation. This increases overall integration, efficiency, and reusability.
Key ingredient 3: Integrative Visualization
Isolated analysis obscures phenomena and interrelations
Virtual prototyping requires real-time analysis providing immediate insight in complex and large data. Traditional visualisation is conducted offline, after simulation, and offers only limited interactive analysis of isolated mechanisms.
Reveal the unseen
SimTech develops real-time visualisation techniques for complex time-dependent data. Feature extraction guides attention to relevant detail and provides a basis for further analysis.
Key ingredient 4: Integrative Production
Heterogeneous production is difficult to manage
Simulation technology in production planning has so far focused on subcomponents of machines and plants. This leads to distributed and inhomogeneous production, leading to high initial cost and difficult monitoring during operation.
Towards concurrent production
Integrating production tightly into the development cycle, SimTech aims at improvement in efficiency, cost, and environmental friendliness. This provides the basis for highly flexible production by real-time reconfiguration.
Key ingredient 5: Integrative Operation
Decoupled design and operation
Operation and recycling are typically clearly separated from design, simulation, and production. Explicit transfer of knowledge and data between these domains causes high cost and reduces efficiency.
Bringing it all together
SimTech is researching on the integration of simulations and sensor networks, melting the boundaries between virtual and physical worlds, and between development and operation. In combination with our research on intelligent materials this could lead to self-configurable and holistic technology.
Demonstrator: Integrative Prototyping of Fluid Machinery
We demonstrate integrative virtual prototyping in the field of computational fluid dynamics. Fluid flow is inherently non-linear and often highly time-dependent. It heavily affects wide parts of technology, in particular transportation. Because it additionally depends on the operating point of a machine, traditional development by successive design and experiment phases is tedious and comparably ineffective. We exemplify the utility of concurrent design, simulation, and visualisation by means of feature extraction. We show that in particular finite-time scope methods provide an intuitive and effective access to the intricacy of time-dependent flow interaction.