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“Simulation gives competitive advantage to SMEs”



Regulations such as Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), new emission norms, etc are forcing auto makers in India to accelerate research and capability improvement activities. Simulation is helping automotive OEMs and suppliers to enhance the speed of technology development to meet these norms, says Rafiq Somani, Area VP, South Asia Pacific and Middle East, ANSYS - a leading global player that provides engineering simulation software. He says there is a rise in usage of engineering simulation among SMEs in India as product development and manufacturing is shifting to SMEs with OEMs becoming more like system integrators. In conversation with Rakesh Rao, Rafiq Somani stresses on the importance of simulation and its impact on emerging trends such as electro-mobility, autonomous vehicles, additive manufacturing, etc.
 
How important are simulation and testing in the development of products? 
In today’s competitive world, innovative products are not enough. Companies need to provide transformational products and solutions to their customers. They need to out-compete and accelerate their innovation. With simulation, the product development time is shortened with increased cost awareness and high demand for quality and innovation. 
 
ANSYS’ mission is to empower our customers to design and deliver transformational products using ANSYS Simulation solutions. Using simulation, companies can verify the product behaviour against customer requirements during the concept stage itself, even before CAD is made. They can optimise the product performance and robustness during the design stage, use digital twin of the real asset to perform conditioned based maintenance, estimate the remaining useful life etc. during operation stage. Thus, simulation has become pervasive across product life cycle.  
 
How is the demand for engineering simulation software? Which end-user industries are driving the market? 
The engineering simulation demand is growing and is excellent. There is and will continue to be consumption of more of the classic simulation as we know it today, along with the release of new solutions that will enable every engineer to use simulation. Simulation will also expand from its traditional realm of product design into manufacturing and operations. Simulation software itself will also become easier to use in the near future. 
 
Perhaps, the most successful simplification of simulation to date is ANSYS Discovery Live. With our release of ANSYS Discovery Live’s near real-time simulation software earlier this year, we have also seen the rise of the demand among the end users who are not big companies. This tool will be perfect for designers who are wondering how their geometry decisions affect a product’s overall performance trends.  
ANSYS is the world leader in providing engineering simulation software and the drivers of the market are automotive, aerospace defence, hi-tech/semiconductor (that are driven by initiatives such as electrification, autonomy, IoT etc.)
 
With regulations like Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) norms, BS-VI norms, etc kicking in, how can simulation software help OEMs to overcome the challenge?
The CAFE and BS-VI norms are accelerating research and capability improvement activities in India. To acquire technology is a very costly affair. Automotive companies in India are developing in-house capabilities to develop products that will meet regulations such as CAFE and 
BS-VI norms. 
 
Simulation is helping automotive OEMs and suppliers to enhance the speed of development of technologies to meet CAFE and BS-VI norms. How ANSYS helps through simulation is with the aerodynamic design of cars, optimising the thermal management of the engine room, predicting emissions during in-cylinder combustion, estimating the efficiency of after-treatment devices such as DPF (Diesel particulate filter), SCR (selective catalytic reduction) etc. and the overall optimising parameters for designing efficient powertrain. 
 
India is a signatory of Paris Climate Change Agreement and has set ambitious targets for non-fossil fuel emissions. India’s commitment to advancing emission norms – from BS IV to BS VI norms by 2020 – will push OEMs to invest more in e-mobility, meaning electrical/hybrid powertrains, including batteries, as well as in lightweight and aerodynamic drag-reducing technologies.
 
How does simulation software contribute to the development of autonomous vehicles?
Research has shown that for a self-driving car (autonomous vehicles), it would take between 8 billion to 11 billion miles of road testing. At the current rate of progress, road testing would take centuries to complete. So as you can see there are significant technology challenges for us as engineering professionals. Because physical testing is not a practical solution, autonomous vehicle makers are turning to “simulated miles driven, flown or maneuvered” as an alternative means of performing the required testing in a reasonable timeframe. ANSYS has been developing a holistic solution to enable autonomous vehicle makers to perform such simulated miles virtually using physics based simulation.
To elaborate, engineering simulation is the answer, as it enables autonomous vehicles to be tested and verified in a risk-free, low-cost, time-efficient virtual environment. There is the Closed-Loop Simulation, Reliable Sensors for Real-World Perception. ANSYS also enables the simulation of the semiconductor components that underlie radar systems and support signal processing. ANSYS offers a number of specialised solutions, including ANSYS RedHawk 3DIC and PowerArtist that can optimise the design of integrated circuits. And instead of subjecting hardware prototypes to physical tests, engineers can apply a range of ANSYS tools - including Icepak, SIwave and Mechanical - to analyse packages, boards, enclosures and systems in a virtual design space. Simulations via ANSYS can reveal essential performance aspects such as power integrity, energy consumption, electrostatic discharge, electromagnetic interference and compatibility, thermal performance, and structural robustness.
 
Electrification is gaining traction. How will it affect the design and development of automobile parts and vehicles? 
Technology is improving and the cost is coming down profusely. All major car manufacturers and a number of start-ups are developing electric models, with better and better range. Simulation plays a big part in helping engineers meet the challenges of this new electrification revolution. Game-changing technologies demand game-changing solutions. ANSYS is redefining simulation to enable our customers to meet these challenges head on. 
 
How do you view India both as a market for ANSYS and reservoir of intellectual manpower for developing new ANSYS products?
As a market, the scope in India is huge for simulation. However, it is still at its nascent stage. Initially, India came on as a big strength for fluid software. However, since Indian developers are so good, we are now playing a role in all the physics. When we acquired Apache and Esteral, the development centres were already here in India. The country is involved in all the major application modules, and that is not just testing of the software. A lot of software development of ANSYS happens in India, with most of it in Pune and partially in Bangalore and Noida. ANSYS has realised the importance of India as a market and as a human resource base. India is evolving as a specialised hub for not only ANSYS but also for all the major companies worldwide. ANSYS is sure of its continued expansion in India. The country is the biggest growth centre in terms of the extra head count coming in as well.
 
In Aug 2017, Ansys announced partnership with IIT Bombay. Will this tie up also focus on commercially viable projects?
ANSYS believes that research is the key to innovation and engineering students are the stepping stones to that. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IIT Bombay last year as it has made efforts to align its R&D focus towards technological innovation that is in line with the vision for Make in India.
 
With IIT Bombay, ANSYS will accelerate R&D to improve the safety, performance and security of autonomous vehicles, next-generation products and smart devices. Students will be able to access and use new industry trends such as simulation, digital twin technology, additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping etc. 
 
We want to create a strong industry-academia relationship so that it can be mutually beneficial to each other over the long term. The students have been equipped with research tools to innovate & revolutionise applications across sectors from advanced driver assistance systems to green energy to digital security. This will definitely lead to commercially viable products as well. 
 
Additive manufacturing is leading to drastic change in the way the products are designed and produced. How is simulation software aiding the development of 3D printing technology?
ANSYS offers a complete simulation workflow for additive manufacturing (AM) that allows to transition R&D efforts for metal AM into a successful manufacturing operation. We use simulations to provide solutions for customers to get into additive manufacturing from the 
conventional system. 
 
In the AM process, a digital data file is transmitted to a production machine, which ultimately translates an engineering design into a 3D-printed part. Initially, AM was utilised as a rapid prototyping method - an accelerated method to create (mostly plastic) parts before manufacturing by well-accepted methodologies, such as injection moulding, casting, forming, joining, etc. 
 
Metal-based AM processes were developed in the 1990s and then several companies launched laser sintering systems that could 3D print metal parts directly, thus providing an alternative to direct, multi-stage manufacturing processes. Selective laser sintering (SLS) is an AM technique that uses a laser as the energy source to melt powder (metal or polymer). The laser targets points in space defined by a 3D model, and binds the powder material together to create a solid structure.
 
ANSYS helps them in the design process by estimating residual stresses and distortions that occur during the additive manufacturing process. The major role that ANSYS has played is not just in producing tools but in ensuring that our customers know how to use them effectively to their best advantage. We talk to our customers to find out what their problems are, what their needs are, and how we can help them resolve challenging issues.
 
Industry 4.0 is likely to revolutionise manufacturing landscape. Where does simulation software fit into Industry 4.0? Will it let to 
new opportunities for companies like ANSYS? 
Simulation practices are key for realising the next-generation manufacturing enterprise. The Internet of Things for industries will influence design innovation, connectivity and mobility, and Big Data analytics so that successful companies will need to find new engineering processes and tools to support product change. It will definitely lead to new opportunities for companies like ANSYS.
 
Manufacturing is becoming the key focus point for all global economies. With manufacturing’s significant contribution to a country's GDP and a rapidly expanding consumer market, policy makers around the globe realise that a strong manufacturing footprint has become a strategic necessity for growth. Because of a strong push from governments, the manufacturing industry is set to undergo a wave of transformation in the coming years, aided by the influx of commercial information and communication technologies. One of the key catalysts aiding this transformation is the Internet of Things (IoT), which is set to re-invent every entity in the manufacturing value chain.
 
The IoT for industries will empower new ways of ideation, engineering innovation, production execution and service excellence. Although the impact of the IoT is expected to pervade all elements of manufacturing, its effect in the initial phase of product conception is expected to be particularly significant. 
 
Can India emerge as a hub for engineering simulation software?
India has already emerged as a hub for engineering simulation. Several multinationals have setup their dedicated engineering simulation centres in India.
 
How important are engineering simulation software for SMEs? Are you see rise in usage of simulation software among SMEs in India?
Engineering simulation is equally important to SMEs for developing quality product at the same time confirming within the cost. Yes, we see rise in usage of engineering simulation among SMEs in India. Today, innovation on product development and manufacturing is shifting more and more to SMEs as OEMs are becoming more like system integrators. Also, if there’s any failure, the SMEs are responsible for recalls and its cost associated. SMEs are ambitious and want to be suppliers to global OEMs and not just to Indian players. This dynamic is forcing SMEs to invest in simulation, as it gives them competitive advantage. 
 
What are new opportunities that you are looking at - globally and in India?
We are seeing new opportunities driven by focus on electrification, IoT, autonomous driving, additive manufacturing, initiatives around quality, reliability and green energy solutions. 
 
What are your growth plans for ANSYS in India?
Over the next few years, ANSYS envisions maintaining and consolidating on its current leadership position in Indian market. To do this, we ensure that we are tuned into key trends -both in the current scenario as well as in the future. In addition, we constantly strive to invest in the best people, technology, partner eco-system, academics, skill development and Make in India initiatives that support these developments in the market.


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