20 years ago, Simufact started with developing methods and software-based techniques for the simulation of manufacturing processes and for application in projects. Our products and services focus on forming, joining and additive manufacturing processes.
The manufacturing industry has undergone a drastic change over the last two decades – driven in part by advancing globalization: global competition motivates manufacturing companies in their quest for the highest product manufacturing quality, low production costs, shorter development and delivery times, as part of the continuous improvement of development and manufacturing processes, in the targeted hunt for new product innovation.
Simufact has metal in its blood: Simulating manufacturing this is our life.
Process simulation – an established method
Process simulation has become a well established method due to the increasing precision and reliability of simulation results, shorter and more practical calculation times (due to faster hardware and more efficient software), and the improved usability of the simulation software.
Simulation is no longer simply a niche tool:
While yesterday simulation was used experimentally, the methods and solutions today have matured to the point of introducing the principle “Simulate first, then produce” in design, construction and manufacturing.
While yesterday simulation was used selectively to analyze manufacturing problems, it is now used preemptively to identify problems before they can ever occur in practice.
While yesterday the focus lay on the feasibility of individual production steps, today several production variations are calculated in parallel with the results being compared to identify the ideal approach.
What is process simulation?
Process simulation (in the sense of “simulation of manufacturing processes“) is one of the up and coming IT-supported methods that has proven itself in production and is replacing experience-based analog methods. Process simulation can be used to transfer physical experimentation into the virtual world of a computer.
The goal of process simulation is to provide an exact prediction, while comprehensively considering all relevant process parameters in the manufacturing to effectively reduce the expensive and time-consuming practical trials to a minimum.
The development of process simulation goes on:
While simulation results are viewed separately today, in the future they will be transferred from production step to production step in order to simulate entire process chains (process chain intra-production).
While today CAD-data from construction is passed onto production ideally as a fixed value, tomorrow results from the manufacturing simulation will flow back into construction (with the goal: “design as manufactured“)
Today process parameters still have to be manually adjusted in manufacturing simulation (manual optimization), in the future they will be replaced by automated process loops (automatic optimization)
Those who think “Digital Industry 4.0” would be correct: Not only the universal IT on the shop-floor of production is furthering this vision, but the CAD/CAE-based development of products and manufacturing processes is also contributing its share.
The method of process simulation is well accepted in advanced industrial countries, but it still has enormous growth potential in newly industrialized countries.
Simufact is a key player
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the leading auditing and consulting firms in Germany, did a study named “Next Generation Forging” for the European Commission. PwC identifies the use of simulation software as one of three driving forces for the development of the industry; Simufact is therefore one of the “key players” on the market.
The use of simulation tools is initially only a cost. However, the investment pays off quickly through significantly reduced production development and operational costs. The use of process simulation typically pays for itself within a couple of months.
Those who work meticulously in the early phases of process development can save a lot of money. In other words: an insufficiently robust and error-prone manufacturing process in series production (scrap, machine down times, tool wear, etc.) shrinks the profit margin and becomes an economic issue.
This chart explains the allocation of investment within manufacturing companies – split into 5 phases: 9% goes into product development, 3% into production planning, 28% into production, 38% into materials & suppliers, 22% into sales. Consequently, 2/3 of the costs come from the product realization (this includes the phases of production and material & supplier). The early development phase is key: it accounts for 70% of the costs. From this, manufacturing companies can deduce that investments in the development phase provide the highest leverage on the overall costs.