What to Look for in a Virtual Prototyping Solution30 Apr, 2003 By: Don LaCourse
Keep this checklist in mind when evaluating virtual prototyping systems:
Integration. You should be able to work within your familiar CAD environment to model mechanical systems and perform simple motion studies. You should also be able to easily transfer geometry between your CAD system and your virtual prototypes, transfer loads from virtual prototyping to FEA, and bring component flexibility (stiffnesses) from FEA back into virtual prototyping.
Customization. You can build standard models and custom templates that allow untrained designers or engineers to try out design variations. You can also perform standard "virtual tests" on each design alternative to identify the optimal design.
Parameterization. You should find it easy to build parametric models of mechanical systems and then make changes that update the entire model.
Optimization. You can perform DOE (design-of-experiments) studies to thoroughly understand design sensitivities and trade-offs. The system should automatically find an optimal system configuration.
Visualization. You can quickly visualize the effects of virtual prototype changes through the use of fast rendering, real-time animation playback, and sophisticated visualization techniques such as multiple cameras and light sources, translucency, texture mapping, and intuitive VCR-like controls. These capabilities are important both for engineering interpretation and design reviews.
(Courtesy of MSC Software.)