Improving the Reliability of Consumer Electronics Products through Realistic Simulation

By Neno
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Early product failures and product recalls are very costly. They result in loss of revenue, litigation, and brand devaluation among others. Hardware recalls are often costlier than software recalls as software patches can be easily downloaded and installed once flaws come to light.

Recalls and early product failures tend to happen over and over again. Why?

The answer is because engineering teams are constantly under the gun to improve product performance, reduce form factors, and reduce time to market, all while cutting costs. In order to mitigate risk, engineers need to develop a deeper understanding of the product behavior under real operating conditions and quickly evaluate design trade-offs based on overall system behavior.

Physical tests provide an excellent means to understand product behavior. However, physical testing is expensive and time-consuming. Simulation provides a cheaper and faster alternative to physical tests. It is critical to strike the right balance between physical tests and simulation during product development. In order to get the maximum bang for your buck, simulations should be deployed starting early in the design cycle when physical prototypes are not available and the design is not fully developed. The earlier you find flaws, the earlier you can fix them.

Graph: Relative cost of fixing errors in embedded systems

Since the cost of fixing flaws grows exponentially through the design cycle, identifying and fixing design flaws early in the design cycle is super critical. Not all simulation tools are created equal. You don’t need any answer. You need the right answer. For that, you need simulation tools that most closely depict reality. And you need answers fast. Hence you need product testing and validation tools with industry leading physics and solver technology. Those will make you obtain accurate solutions faster in order to help you improve product design, ensure product reliability and reduce time to market. Accurate depiction of material behavior and physics of failure are essential to obtaining realistic results. Such capabilities are critical in predicting the behavior of materials such as glass, adhesives, and polymers that have a high propensity for damage.

Consumer electronic products, especially mobile and portable devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, are subjected to a variety of operating conditions. The devices need to be designed to protect them from damage. Engineers need to ensure that “portable” doesn’t mean “breakable.” The challenge is to design a light-weight product that can withstand not just the loading cycles associated with regular usage, but also abusive loading scenarios that are encountered less frequently (According to surveys and insurance claim statistics, drop and water damage constitute the two most frequent causes of damage for mobile devices).

Simulation should be employed at the ideation, product development, and failure analysis stages in order to improve product quality and reduce time to market. Refer to the case study is this e-book to learn how a leading manufacturer of consumer electronics used simulation to improve the keystroke feel and enhance frame rigidity while reducing weight.

While drop during daily usage is a concern for mobile devices, transportation drops are the main concern for office equipment. Engineers are faced with the challenge of identifying the structural members that are most susceptible to damage and then improve their damage resistance while reducing the overall weight of the structure. Here’s how a leading manufacturer of office equipment designed a low cost printer that can withstand a series of transportation drop tests.

The examples above provide a snapshot of applications leveraging realistic simulation technology to successfully improve product durability while satisfying other constraints such as weight and cost. Learn more about how you can leverage this technology to improve your electronic product design. Read our e-Book, “Improving Product Performance and Reliability through Multiphysics Simulation.”

 

A new spin on washing machine design

By Estelle
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Do you remember the old washing machine your parents owned when you were a kid?

After mom would load up the washer with the family’s laundry she would turn the big central knob to the on position. From that point on the washer would begin to vibrate, shake, and convulse as it seemingly pulverized our clothes into a state of cleanliness again. The loud thumping of the spin cycle would echo throughout the house as the floor beneath us would vibrate. If wash time began to interrupt dinner or family movie night then I would be sent on a mission down to the basement to stop the bubbly beast mid cycle; only to be started up again when we no longer needed to speak or hear our own thoughts again.

Some of you may still experience the horror … I mean nostalgic pleasure of using a washing machine like this today. But I have since moved on to a much more quiet, efficient and smart machine.

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Consumers demand connected, intelligent, almost instinctual electronic products to enable their work and delight their senses. Imagine my new washing machine … it is smart enough to optimize its energy and detergent use. It calculates load weight and detects what kind of clothing is being washed. It runs so quiet, it can be housed anywhere. And because it’s connected, I can control its operation through a mobile device anywhere, at any time.

You may not know it, but today’s innovative washing machine designs, are in part the result of leading technology manufacturers using realistic simulation technology to analyze and improve their designs.

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By using simulation and design exploration software, white goods manufactures have been able to simulate virtual product tests while evaluating and analyzing hundreds of design options. It’s interesting to learn how the advances in simulation capabilities and computing resources are enabling washing machine producers to save time and money while optimizing the perfect washing machine design for all our needs.

Download the free infographicwashing-machine-infographic-3300x2550

You’ll learn how washing machine manufactures are using simulation to help us keep our clothes clean, save energy, and live in peace!

Simulation Ushers in the Age of Experience

By Estelle
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Gone are the days when building a best-in-class product was simply about a novel idea or a supersized set of features. According to a recent Eventbrite survey, 78% of gen y respondents said they would rather spend money on an experience than a thing, and 77% said their best memories come from an experience. So the question is how can smart organizations create high tech products with winning experiences?

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Economies progress as companies differentiate themselves by staging experiences that command premium prices. Source: “The Experience Economy” by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore.

Consider the Apple iPhone and Boeing Dreamliner 787, two defining products that exemplify the “Experience Economy”. Their designs push the envelope in user engagement by raising the bar on delivering a holistic experience that connects with customers on an emotional level. With an ever growing demand for experiences, leading high tech manufacturers have turned to simulation in order to innovate and optimize new designs, while creating more robust, more efficient, and more durable products.

Let’s consider simulation and its impact on the white goods market. Many of us cannot avoid house hold chores like doing the laundry – how can we make this a better experience? Leading washing machine manufacturers are using washing_machine_overlayrealistic simulation to innovate washers that deliver clean, colorful clothes, while saving energy and detergent at the same time. My old top load washer used to rattle the entire house while gulping down a whopping 40 gallons of water per load. My new energy efficient washer quietly washes clothes while using a meager 14 gallons of water per load. Now I can happily “experience” greater ease of use, a more peaceful home, and a heavier wallet!

As customers of all ages become more informed and empowered, they increasingly expect a more personalized product and experience, and companies that can’t adapt are in serious danger of failing or falling behind…
The results of simulation on the high tech industry are extraordinary!

To get the details, download the whitepaperMaking_the_Case_for Simulation WP:
Making the Case for Simulation in the Age of Experience” to learn how using the right simulation tools can help to better serve customers’ need for an experience, while at the same time save time and money, and improve high tech designs.



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