Manufacturing processes today span everything from aerospace to automotive, energy generation to oil & gas, and electronics to shipbuilding. Yet, all these contribute to emissions and environmental pollution as well as intensive use of our world’s precious energy and water resources. With a burgeoning human population on planet Earth, limited natural resources, and endangered species and habitat, the need for sustainability has never been more critical in the history of humanity. Both global warming and the possibility of an environmental catastrophe appear to be an existential threat to life on planet earth, or at least an irreversible consequence to mankind’s poor stewardship of our unique ecosystems in the last century.
Computer-aided engineering (CAE) and design simulation emerged from NASA in the 1960s and has risen on the back of the developments in digital computing to be a $5Bn/y industry today, fueled by advances in ‘Moore’s Law’. Since its inception, CAE has been driving efficiency, quality, and productivity in asset intensive manufacturing processes through the creation of what the industry now calls ‘digital twins’: virtual physics-correct representations of real components, products, subassemblies, and systems. However, the advent of the worldwide web, the Internet of Things, and the generation of ‘Big Data’ and AI (Artificial Intelligence) to optimize both manufactured products and processes has meant that latterly digital transformation can take product quality, manufacturing productivity, and ultimately sustainability to the next level. We have reached what is now frequently called Industry 4.0 with the next big wave in manufacturing being autonomy across factories, facilities, transportation, farming, mining, cities, and even nation states.
CAE today is proven to reduce waste at the conceptual design stage; reducing physical prototyping, delivering right-first-time customized solutions, fueling the renewables revolution. Ultimately, it brought design-for-recyclability to the fore for the highest business ROI (Return on Investment) possible in product development, and then even through to the complete product lifecycle of full recyclability in what is increasingly being called the ‘circular economy’. CAE is both a source of simulation data and a glue to the ‘digital thread’ needed to deliver manufacturing cost savings, productivity improvements, and ultimately quality products designed with the intent to meet all environmental challenges today from the starting idea.
Our new white paper assesses the extent of the sustainability challenge facing mankind and our planet today, and examines the underlying factors. It then looks at how these factors can be effectively addressed at source for the manufacturing industries we all rely on to deliver our consumer products and the quality of modern living we all expect, to illustrate what smarter-by-design really means in a world crying out for sustainable engineering solutions.