What Did You Consume Today?

By Tim
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Have you ever stopped to count the number of store-bought packages you open in a day; in a week; or even a full year? Think about everything you consume and the list of products will get pretty long, pretty quick:

  • Drink bottles
  • Food containers
  • Snack bags
  • Boxes of cereal
  • Toys
  • Toothpaste
  • Electronics
  • Candy
  • Medicine
  • . . . and the list goes on and on.

These products and more are part of the multi-trillion dollar Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry which includes food and beverages, tobacco, cleaning products, as well as hygiene and beauty products. The packaging for these product have to be designed strong enough to make it from the factory to your home without being damaged – yet provide a pleasant, convenient experience that makes you rush back to the store and buy more week after week.

Have you ever stopped to wonder how product manufacturing companies came up with the package that you’re ripping into? Too often, opening a package is hard and clumsy, and it makes you go ‘grrrr’. I am sure we can all relate to some of the videos and photos at the “Wrap Rage” gallery at Amazon.com.

In the past few years, many CPG companies have been putting significant effort into developing extremely innovative and easy-to-open packages. Some of the development is being driven by environmental concern, but many advancements are being driven by the need to improve the safety and ease-of-opening for an aging consumer population. The Swedish Rheumatism Association has recently commended Scan AB for several of its different easy-to-open food packs. One of these packs is the Amcor Push Pop, an innovative new packaging design, which Scan has used for their delicatessen meatballs called Delikatesskottbullar.

You’d be amazed at the level of sophisticated research, engineering, design, and manufacturing that goes into the design of product packaging, let alone the actual product inside. Things we take for granted are thoroughly researched. When it comes to product packaging, designers and engineers have to determine if the package can be manufactured. They seek answers to a wide range of questions, like:

  • Can it survive the manufacturing process?
  • Will the container break or leak during transportation?
  • Will it be easy to open yet reseal effectively?

Silgan Containers recently announced that they are using Abaqus FEA software to predict “real-life” performance of its cans with a high degree of accuracy before a single container is manufactured. Alvin Widitora, director of new product development, Silgan Containers explains,

We have validated our modeling and simulation process up to a 97% level of accuracy that the actual container will perform as predicted. That means that we can take a lot of the guesswork out before we get to the tooling stage.

Check out the complete Silgan press release here.

It’s pretty amazing that CPG companies are using the same realistic simulation technology that is used to evaluate the performance of airplanes, cars, nuclear power plants, and medical devices. And their simulations are very sophisticated and include; virtual drop testing, top loading analysis, manufacturing line simulation, squeezing pressure, fluid-structure interaction, as well as adhesive and forming simulations.

It’s not surprising that with so many simulations being performed, that consumer packaged goods companies are looking for ways to capture their valuable simulation processes and data. A couple of weeks ago, SIMULIA announced that Proctor & Gamble had selected their simulation lifecycle management solution. According to Tom Lange, Director, Corporate R&D Modeling and Simulation, Procter & Gamble,

SIMULIA SLM will help our global teams accelerate innovation by providing access to simulation tools, validated processes and corporate knowledge bases throughout the product lifecycle.

You can read the SIMULIA press release on P&G here:

So, when you’re opening your next hundred packages or enjoying some conveniently packed Swedish meatballs, I hope you’ll have a little better appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes to get those convenient products into your hands.

Best,

Tim

Yes, We Can Simulate This !

By Michael
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What happens to your 3D design – your product – when exposed to its environment and realistic physical conditions?

Like in a virtual laboratory you can observe its behavior under changing conditions. How does the integrity of my design change if I apply forces at various positions, modify materials and add stability support? How is my 3D design interacting with other objects, solids, liquids, gases, static or dynamic? How does it withstand … strong wind?

Don’t be afraid if this sounds to you like the 80’s one-hit wonder “She blinded me with science” (I have embedded the flash back clip below for the ones who missed this). I’m not an inside expert myself, but wanted to use today’s post to introduce you to the possibilities proposed by this PLM domain called Realistic Simulation. You are invited to find out what this is about and what a realistic simulation can do for you eventually.

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Here are typical questions addressed by Realistic Simulation within a PLM environment:

  • Does this phone withstand a drop test from 2 m height onto the concrete floor ?
  • Does this tire profile keep the car on wet roads ?
  • Do these restraint and airbag systems ensure car passengers’ safety ?
  • Is this car seat comfortable, yet safe?
  • Does this new heart pump keeps blood flowing to the patient’s heart ?

Take a look at different simulation scenarios that are being performed across industries to improve understanding of physical performance of products – such as a car in a virtual crash test and even exercising the human body.

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There are more examples you can surf on 3D Perspectives’ YouTube channel.

As a designer you might say: “That’s great, but I leave testing and simulation to my specialized department of engineers. I will focus on the design”.

Traditionally this used to be the way how it worked: Designers gave their designs to Simulation Experts, they did the calculations and filed back a report which told the designer if the product was good to go … or not.

With today’s simulation software becoming more easy-to-use and integrated with the design desktop this has changed as the designer herself has the power to perform initial testing, to tweak parameters and design details in order to optimize her design. And by doing so she is preparing more detailed simulation requests which still have to be handled by the expert engineer, in order to finalize the design optimization, in a much more collaborative manner between the two.

Responding to the manufacturing industry’s simulation requests and providing the tools in a PLM context is the mission of the SIMULIA brand at Dassault Systèmes. Driven by the scientific nature and physics required to analyze realistic behavior of products , the outspoken high “brain density” at the SIMULIA team refers to the percentage of advanced science and engineering degrees. This is not only true in the development team, but also in the Sales and Support teams who are closest to the customers’ everyday engineering and simulation challenges.

Based on a strong background of mechanical and nonlinear structural analysis with the Abaqus finite element analysis (FEA) product suite, SIMULIA today offers a complete virtual environment for testing life experience by providing broad range of multiphysics capabilities. This means that SIMULIA’s realistic simulation solutions handle more and more environmental parameters to mimic real life conditions.

Our Solution Partners also play an important role in this, as they add their very specialized and sophisticated capabilities within an open platform to address customers’ simulation challenges.

Are you up for an example?

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Let’s look at one specific simulation domain which is called computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and where our partner CD-adapco has been hatching very specific know-how and experience. I am here at the CD-adapco User Conference held in London with about 250 participants of the CD-adapco ecosystem. Among them representatives from across all product manufacturing industries, who are presenting how CFD helps them in their product generation processes, e.g. optimizing the engineering of a wind park for energy generation while minimizing environmental impact, or simulating artificial cloud formation in gigantic greenhouses in Singapore. There seem to be no limits of imagination and creativity.

SIMULIA and CD-adapco have developed a close cooperation around the “fluid-structure-interaction” which allows their software codes to work in concert. For the one’s who want to dive in more here is the recommended reading.

You are still there? Congratulation for your persistence and desire to know more about this fascinating domain. Enjoy one of the many CFD examples from CD-adapco below.

Have a nice day. I’ll talk to you soon.

Michael

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More of these on 3D Perspectives’ YouTube channel.

Xplorair: A New Mobility Concept

By Richard
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Xplorair PX200

Here is one of our current Passion for Innovation projects: Xplorair.

When I was approached about it, I immediately thought, “Wow! Here is The Fifth Element taxi!” That being said, it quickly became obvious that Xplorair was a solid project, lead by an experienced aero engineer named Michel Aguilar.

The candidate projects we favor most in Passion for Innovation must bring something new and exciting to the world. There was no doubt about the excitement Xplorair generated when I read the proposal. And as for innovation, well, I’ll let you decide for yourself:

The Xplorair is a vertical take-off and landing without rotative wing vehicle based on the Coanda effect.

What is the Coanda effect? To put it briefly, it’s the ability of a fluid flow (liquid or gas) to “stick” to a convex surface and to attract it. It has been studied by the engineer Henri Coanda, therefore its name. A simple demonstration of this effect can be done by holding a sheet of paper by one of its ends, with one hand on each corner of that end. Blow on the piece of paper while aiming your breath between your hands, and you will see the free end of the paper rise up.

Congratulations! You have shown that upper surface blowing creates a bearing strength. This is what Xplorair is based on. If you blow on a wing’s upper surface, you will take off. If the wing is in fact made of two articulated parts with the jet engine blowing somewhere in the middle, it’s enough to change the angle between the two wing parts to make the transition between vertical take-off, and regular, horizontal flight.

The Coanda effect has already been used on some aircrafts to bring additional bearing strength and reduce take-off distances. However, Xplorair is definitely a breakthrough as it is the FIRST aircraft entirely relying on this effect for BOTH take-off and flight.

To spice up the project, Xplorair will treat the subject of greener mobility. The engine– a brand new kind of engine called a thermoreactor– is a second technical breakthrough in its own right. It will use second generation biofuels (i.e. non threatening for food nor biodiversity), and some cabin elements, such as the control panel and seats, will be made out of agro-materials.

Xplorair will come in several versions (1, 2 or 4 seats). For starters we’re working to develop the monoseat version, the PX200 (for Personal Xplorair, 200 km/h).

The Xplorair team is using CATIA V5 as the 3D CAD software for design, SIMULIA and CAA-partner CD-Adapco solutions to simulate the vehicle in operation.

So, is Xplorair an airplane? a flying car? a flying motorbike? No matter what you call it, it’s a new mobility concept.

And who could give this concept a shape if not DS Design Studio? I’m happy to announce that we just started the ideation phase with Anne Asensio’s enthusiastic and creative team. They were already sketching during the meeting. ;-)

Stay tuned for more info about Xplorair in future 3D Perspectives blog posts.

Keep 3D-ing!

Regards,

Rich

P.S. Unfortunately, neither Bruce Willis nor Milla Jovovich will be delivered with the final product, just in case you’re wondering . . .



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