Simulation Tools to Develop Energy Efficient Products

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Simulation Tools for Energy Efficient ProductsThe market today, is demanding more sustainable and energy efficient products. As such, companies have started realizing that the idea of developing sustainable and green products is no longer a regulatory requirement, but a new growth area to remain profitable. Research from CIM data and the International Energy Agency suggests that two-third of the global targeted green-house gas emission reductions can be achieved by making improvement in energy efficiency and investing in renewable energy. Thus, both these approaches open new product development opportunities for businesses. However, this can only be achieved if engineers leverage the product designing process through the use of simulation tools. Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools are necessary to eliminate the trial and error methods required in developing energy efficient product designs.

The Role of Simulation

Companies who are looking to develop innovative and energy efficient products are only left with two choices. Either they make products complicated by adding smart technologies or they can develop disruptive technology. Both the choices however require exploring large design space. With complex design, it is even more difficult to interact and identify design trade-offs, since you have constraints to limit design possibilities.

To address the challenges posed by large design space, engineers can make use of simulation and design optimization tools, as these help them in mapping the design space and identify possible optimized configuration of the product quickly. Engineers can rapidly explore complex design ideas as compared to physical models. Further, with system modeling and simulation, the product can be reduced to a series of 1D simulations, to consume less computational power and perform iterations faster for each different configuration. Once the system level simulations are performed, 3D detailed analysis can be performed that with fewer iterations. Thus, companies will have better idea on how the product’s design space will look like and use this information to develop optimized products.

As such, companies looking to develop energy efficient, innovative solutions, simulation has to be well integrated right from component level to system level.

Focus Areas for Developing Energy Efficient Products

There are five major areas that engineers or companies should focus during simulation to bring green and energy efficient products:

  • Fuel and mechanical efficiency
  • Thermal management
  • Aerodynamics
  • Product light weighting
  • Electrification of conventional mechanical systems
Aerospace industry is the best example of utilizing optimization through simulation to make improvements in fuel consumption. The use of composites has reduced the aircraft weight without affecting part strength. Improvement in aerodynamics has further reduced the energy consumption. Thermal management of the internal cabin and use of efficient engine has imparted to improving energy efficiency too.

However, not every product requires focusing on all the five areas. For some, focusing on one or two areas can help in achieving the expected goals. For example, in most cases light weighting is the lowest hanging fruit from where the engineers should begin optimizing the design. Light weight products not only utilize less material but consume less energy in manufacturing or during operation. However, light weighting for many designs also require transforming the conventional manufacturing techniques to more advanced techniques like additive manufacturing.

Engineering analysis service providers like Hi-Tech, are helping companies to develop energy efficient products using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Simulation vendors such as ANSYS are helping companies to improve energy efficiency with its portfolio of finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and model-based system engineering (MBSE) tools.
Mehul Patel
About the Author: Mehul Patel CFD specialist at Hi-Tech, is an expert at ANSYS FLUENT, OpenFOAM and many more. With more than 8 years of experience, Mehul has successfully planned, coordinated and executed CFD Projects for Aerodynamics, Combustion, Turbomachinery, Multi-phase flow & HVAC analysis. Mehul adept at co-ordination and QA/QC, handles a team of CFD engineers contributing to CFD projects for aviation, automotive, building design & construction, plant design and heavy engineering industries.
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