How to choose the right simulation software
The chief criteria for selecting the appropriate simulation software
Many industrial processes and production sequences can be configured much more efficiently today through the use of simulation software. This is also the case when it comes to the manufacture of molds and plastic parts. People who employ simulations for their development work attain their target much faster and ultimately save themselves money and stress. The rapid calculation of 3D models from design data, such as CAD files, replaces the elaborate compilation of prototypes and draws attention to potential weak points at the development stage already.
Anyone wishing to employ simulation software is understandably aiming for the initial investment to pay off as rapidly as possible. Consideration needs to be given to a number of aspects if the strategically correct decision is to be taken in this respect. General criteria for the selection of software naturally apply for the selection of simulation software too. In addition to that, a number of special aspects have to be taken into account. Here are the five most important criteria:
Ease of operation and rapidity
First of all, consideration must be given to the speed at which a simulation project can be set up and how intuitively and simply the software can be handled. Precisely in the case of simulation software, the speed of the calculation is important. If the results of the calculations are obtained promptly, the follow-on processes can also be launched more rapidly. This factor thus influences the entire development cycle and has a decisive influence on the success of a project as a whole.
Presentation and evaluation options
The presentation options and functions of the software and also the accuracy of its results are also decisive. Don’t accept any compromises on these points! If the functions of the simulation software make it easier to attain the targets in the development process and fulfill all the internal requirements, then introduction of the software also makes sense.
What is often forgotten: in addition to the clear effects in terms of efficiency, a step of this type also ultimately influences employee satisfaction. A future employer who deploys state-of-the art technology and software will be able to find qualified employees more readily and also retain their loyalty over the long term.
The options for customizing the software play a key role. Only if the software can be flexibly tailored to a company’s requirements and core areas – such as through a modular structure – can it be smoothly incorporated in the production process in a cost-efficient manner.
- How far can the simulation software be adapted to a company’s individual requirements at the implementation stage already?
- Is the software scalable and can the range of functions be extended (including retrospectively, if production processes undergo changes)?
- Does the software have the necessary interfaces for importing and exporting data from other software (e.g. the company’s own CAD software package)?
Updates und support
When it comes to sustainability, regular updates from the software manufacturer should be a matter of course. It is nonetheless important to follow up this aspect and check how frequently and to what extent you can expect new versions. One indication of high-quality software updates can be the developer’s participation in research projects.
And, in addition to this, good support is worth its weight in gold. To ensure that you don’t feel abandoned once you have purchased the software, you should take a close look beforehand at who is providing customer support at the other end. The bandwidth here is enormous and extends from mere call-center employees through to 100% experts.
Be sure to check:
- What is the availability of support like?
- What training do employees in Support have?
- What criteria guarantee the expert knowledge of the employees in Support?
- What arrangements are in place for employees’ further education and training?
One point that always features in a comparison is the price. But it’s impossible to draw up a reasonable comparison on the basis of the purchase price alone. The points mentioned all play a role when it comes to evaluating the costs. Rapid calculations and good presentation and evaluation options can clearly speed up the development process, for example. And those who save time also save costs in the end.
This makes it important to clarify:
- What precisely is contained in the purchase price and what follow-up costs will there be?
- Are employee training, regular updates and support included?
- Is there perhaps a free-of-charge test phase?
- Is it possible to make savings if not all the modules are required?
A tip: a number of suppliers offer rented models which guarantee greater flexibility and scalability for smaller companies.