What is Simulation?

People use simulation for many different reasons; NASA may use heat transfer simulation to study the thermodynamic data to create heat shields for a space shuttle while pilot might log flight time on a flight simulator and a recreational user may use a racecar sim to practice track driving using different cars in a multitude of different road and weather conditions.

According to Wikipedia, "Simulation is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. The act of simulating something first requires that a model be developed; this model represents the key characteristics or behaviors/functions of the selected physical or abstract system or process."

T-SIM Solutions has spent more than 10 years and 20,000 man hours developing our software as a flexible model for simulating exactly how specific tooling and dies will function within any servo, mechanical or hydraulic press using any available automation tooling on the market today. Along with the simulation, our T-SIM ULTIMATE 4.0 also provides realistic, achievable SPM upfront backed by proven data.

To better understand what simulation is and how T-Sim Solution's transfer simulation software fits in, let's first take a look at the different simulation terms, how they are defined and a few different industry vernacular terms that are commonly used.

Simulation: Noun

  1. Imitation or enactment, as of something anticipated or in testing.
  2. The act or process of pretending; feigning.
  3. An assumption or imitation of a particular appearance or form; counterfeit; sham.
  4. The representation of the behavior or characteristics of one system through the use of another system, especially a computer program designed for the purpose.
  5. The imitative representation of the functioning of one system or process by means of the functioning of another (computer simulation of an industrial process)
  6. Examination of a problem often not subject to direct experimentation by means of a simulating device

Simulator: Noun

  1. A machine with a similar set of controls designed to provide a realistic imitation of the operation of a vehicle, aircraft, or other complex system, used for training purposes.
  2. A program enabling a computer to execute programs written for a different operating system.
  3. A person or thing that simulates.

Simulate: Verb

  1. Imitate the appearance or character of.
  2. To create a simulation, likeness, or model of (a situation, system, or the like) - to simulate crisis conditions.
  3. To assume or have the appearance or characteristics of (He simulated the manners of the rich.)
  4. To give or assume the appearance or effect of often with the intent to deceive
  5. To make a simulation of (as a physical system)

Sim: Noun

  1. A smart card inside a cellular phone, carrying an identification number unique to the owner, storing personal data, and preventing operation if removed.
  2. A video game that simulates an activity such as flying an aircraft or playing a sport.

Now that we have a better idea of what the broad terms of simulation mean, let's look at some of the other terms associated with simulation and what they are used for.

Press Simulation

Press simulation is also called press line simulation which is the simulation of a manufacturing press. T-SIM Software allows a die designer to validate tooling to ensure that press setup will be as smooth as possible without crashes or clearance issues. T-SIM software also provides upfront SPM with optimized ram motion and production rates so the manufacturer will know exactly how fast a press can produce parts based on the tooling design, press specifications and automation hardware.

Die Simulation

Die simulation can be used within the metal forming process along with tri-axis transfers of tooling within production. Our T-SIM 4.0 allows a die to be validated and optimized before any raw materials are cut. It eliminates the need for time consuming trial and error.

Transfer Simulation

Transfer Simulation is a broad term that is used across multiple industries, including scientific engineering and chemical engineering (See Other Types of Transfer Simulation Below). The way T-Sim software explains transfer simulation is; "Transfer Simulation is the specific means of virtually simulating the transfer of parts and tooling through the production line in relation to the dies, press strokes and automation hardware.

Forming Simulation

Similar to transfer simulation, forming simulation focuses on optimizing the stamping process for accuracy and efficiency, but at another stage in the process. Press tool simulation, including forming, has become the industry standard across many manufacturing applications including automotive. Simulation in tool & die and presses takes the uncertainty out of the design process in order to maximize efficiency upfront. Forming simulation tells you that a part can be made, and then optimizes it, but without transfer simulation, the bottleneck has simply been moved down the line. Transfer simulation is designed to work with forming simulation, there's no sense in doing one without the other.

Interactive Simulation

Many simulation software platforms, including transfer simulation, enlist interactive features in order to aid the user in solving unique problems. From computational fluid dynamic software systems, which may allow tweaks to shapes and automatically optimize aerodynamic surfaces, to press line simulation software that automatically optimizes your transfer dies, interactive features are key to maximizing the effectiveness of simulation.

Virtual Simulation

While simulation has existed since ancient times, including simulating battle tactics in areas of peace, virtual simulation is a relatively recent advancement with the advent and proliferation of computers. Virtual simulation employs advanced numerical modelling to quickly and automatically compute and display information that would otherwise be impossible to know. Rather than real world testing, which takes time and money, virtual simulation also allows users to simulate processes in a virtual environment using real world data before any actual processes are implemented. Virtual simulation is also a prevalent function of several Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems, while other software systems act as simulation complements to CAD (like T-SIM 4.0 and CATIA).

Simulation modeling

Simulation modeling is utilizing prototypes of designs in a digital environment in order to predict and analyze what its performance will be in the real world. Engineers and designers use simulation modeling in every industry in order to understand how their designs will behave under real world conditions, as well as to determine how to produce them. By utilizing simulation modeling, engineers and designers in a wide variety of fields can optimize designs and processes in order to maximize productivity and efficiency. This type of modeling employs both 2D and 3D CAD tools like CATIA or SOLIDWORKS, as well as finite element analysis (loads, constraints, materials, etc.) and what type of analysis is being performed (thermal, structural, fluid, etc.).

Other Types of Transfer Simulation

There are many different types of transfer simulation including heat transfer, fluid dynamic, and biological and chemical simulations. Engineers of all varieties use transfer simulation to test scientific theories, virtually model various systems, and maximize efficiency while optimizing processes and reducing energy expenditure.

Heat Transfer Simulation & Heat Transfer Modeling

According to the book Heat Transfer Studies and Applications, "heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the generation, use, conversion, and exchange of thermal energy and/or heat between physical systems." Numerical modeling and simulation techniques are crucial to the customizing, operating, testing, evaluating, and optimizing of experimental systems before they are implemented in real world engineering applications. The utilization of heat transfer simulation has been extensively studied in engineering problems related to energy, oil and gas, metallurgy, chemical, process, and reaction engineering, fuel cell technologies, manufacturing technologies, nanotechnology, and aerospace. The end goal of most forms of transfer simulation is to minimize energy expended, thereby improving efficiency by reducing effort and time. This can be said for both heat transfer simulation and transfer press simulation.

Heat Transfer Simulation software comes in a variety of formats and is typically used for the general modeling of heat transfer in solids and fluids. In recent years there have been leaps and bounds in the world of transfer modeling and simulation. Various virtual finite element analysis techniques are now widely used by engineers to solve real world problems with heat transfer.

Transfer simulation is also utilized in virtual studies of biological systems. Molecular dynamic simulations are utilized to model the physical movement of atoms and molecules (motion in this case being synonymous with "heat"). Several software systems exist for modelling molecular heat transfer and simulating other aspects of biological systems.

Fluid Dynamic Simulation

Fluid dynamic simulation, or computational fluid dynamics, utilizes numerical analysis and algorithms to simulate the movement of fluids. Fluid dynamic simulation is widely used in the aerospace industry in aerodynamic studies in order to optimize the shapes of aircraft components for maximum aerodynamic efficiency and performance. This type of simulation in aerodynamic studies provides real world numbers before an aircraft ever leaves the ground.

Press transfer 3-D modeling

Press transfer 3-D modeling refers to the creation of digital prototypes of the transfer systems used manufacturing stamps and presses to model the various movements performed by the transfers. Stampers utilize automation systems to transfer parts down the press line, and designers can utilize CAD 3-D modeling and simulation to test these processes prior to actual production. By testing the transfer in a digital environment, the transfer process can be optimized for maximum speed and efficiency, while simultaneously rectifying any potential clashes.

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