In this blog series we are debunking 5 myths of multi-body dynamics. In this second blog, we address the myth that Multibody Dynamic Simulation is the same as Conceptual System Analyses.
Though Multibody Dynamic (MBD) Simulations are used heavily during the conceptual design of dynamic systems, their benefits extend through all phases of the development cycle.
During engineering development, system-level targets are identified and cascaded down to the sub-system and component-level. Component, sub-system, and complete system prototypes are then developed and validated for performance using various simulation solutions based on the physics and application.
For example, in the automotive industry, higher-level targets for ride and handling characteristics are influenced by the road loads and the configuration of the suspension and chassis. MBD simulations serve as an ideal tool for conceptual investigations of mechanical systems and sub-systems to tune characteristic properties like mass and stiffness in critical locations. These conceptual models can be quickly created and explored before any detailed design information is available.
Opportunities to leverage MBD simulation also exist beyond concept design studies and can be deployed during the validation phases of the development cycle. For example, Airbus previously validated various regulatory requirements by building test rigs that deflect structural assemblies to simulate high lift configurations and ensure the operation of control surfaces. The approach had multiple disadvantages: the need to have already manufactured the wing system, the time and cost of testing, and the cost associated with fixing problems uncovered by testing. Airbus has now combined Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and MBD simulation through the design process to offset the level of physical testing required to demonstrate regulatory compliance. You can learn more in this case study.
In recent years, affordable high-performance computing and faster solvers have enabled MBD models to be used in road vehicle testbeds as part of Hardware in the Loop (HiL) and Driver in the Loop (DiL) test systems for system test, validation, and calibration. Using real and virtual sub-system definitions on a testbed makes vehicle testing cheaper and more efficient by reducing the need for physical test prototypes. A recent case study focused on the benefits that Ford Motor Company achieved from real-time Adams models.
The use of MBD simulations is no longer limited to a single phase of the product development process. From conceptual system design to physical testing, MBD simulations have a pervasive impact on the design and development of dynamic systems in leading engineering organizations.
To learn more about myths associated with Multibody Dynamics simulations, read the White Paper, Debunking the Five Myths of Multibody Dynamics Simulations.