Exploring the behavior of systems using simulation has traditionally been the domain of simulation engineers or analysts. Complexity in simulation interfaces, or in simulation techniques and procedures, created the need for highly specialized users. A lack of standards for model exchange and interoperability compounded these issues.
In the field of systems dynamics simulation, MBD analysts have been the gatekeepers of simulation models. However, as engineering simulation takes a central role in design and development, there is a growing need to democratize access to simulation models and modeled information. To this end, the simulation software providers have endeavored to capture the knowledge and skill of the analyst within their models. This encapsulation makes it easier for other engineers to leverage valuable work to explore how the modelled system integrates with other systems, and to investigate the design trade-offs and optimizations that matter to them.
There are several ways to improve access to MBD models. One approach is to institute tool-independent standards that enable a “plug and play” approach to utilize highly advanced models via more streamlined interfaces. The Functional Mockup Interface (FMI) is a tool-independent standard for CAE model exchange and co-simulation. FMI makes it possible to import models into other tools that conform to the standard by representing MBD models as a Functional Mockup Unit (FMU). This approach allows simulation engineers that are not MBD specialists to use an MBD model, but without the need to understand the inner complexity of the model or how to interface with the simulation software that created it.
Simplifying the user experience is another approach to help organizations improve access and derive value from MBD models. For example, MSC Software created Adams Explore in an effort to make high-end simulation models available to engineers that are not simulation specialists. The MBD simulation engineer can export an Excel spreadsheet that represents the MBD model using the Explore plug-in. This simple Excel spreadsheet is then be used by the Design engineer to change their parameters of interest, run the MBD model, and review the results to study the effect of their design changes on the system.
To learn more about myths associated with Multibody Dynamics simulations, read the whitepaper, Debunking the Five Myths of Multibody Dynamics Simulations.