It’s been more than a week now since I have returned from the Develop3D Live—one of the leading conferences and exhibitions for designers, engineers and manufacturers.
I found Develop3D Live very inspirational. I learned more about the innovations in the design technology, heard David Heiny share his ideas on how SimScale can make simulation a standard tool in every engineer’s software stack and, most importantly, had a chance to meet face-to-face with some of the SimScale users!
Now that the dust has settled, I finally had some time to reflect on my key takeaways from the conference:
1. You Don’t Need to Be an Engineer to Make a New Product
When you go to a conference like Develop3D Live, you might initially think that this is an event dedicated to only engineers and designers. As a non-engineer, I was positively surprised to see that it’s not the case. Although the majority of the attendees are engineering companies, there were also many families with kids and students visiting the conference. One dad approached me to ask about the best way for his two teenage sons to learn about the engineering simulation basics. I was really happy to meet all these young people representing the next generation of innovators and refer them to our free F1 aerodynamics and drone workshops, which I think are a great way to get started with CAE and SimScale.
But wasn’t just the attendees, it was also the companies exhibiting at Develop3D Live that made me realize how widespread 3D technology has become in recent years. A great example is writer and artist Philip Norman from Ross Robotics who, without any formal background in engineering, decided to learn Solid Edge CAD. He created his Ross Robotic company that is now developing a flexible, modular and cost-effective robot system.
With more accessible and easy-to-use CAD tools like Onshape, CAE tools like SimScale, and desktop manufacturing devices like Formbox from Mayku, a completely new group of creative people are gaining access to technologies that were previously reserved for engineering experts. And this is just the beginning. With the 3D printing technology becoming increasingly accessible to a broader audience, in five to ten years from now, it will probably be standard to have a 3D printer at home. In the future, we will all be makers!
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2. Collaboration Brings You Further than Competition
Being at the conference reminded me once again about the importance of collaboration. As Bill Gates once said, “innovation requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs”. There were many opportunities for that at Develop3D Live. The conference is smaller than others I have attended in the past, and it has a very unique “relaxed” atmosphere, which makes it easier to connect with people and share ideas. I was really inspired by the know-how exchange we had with other companies and all the possibilities that collaboration and partnership opens.
It is great to see that more and more companies are acknowledging the importance of supporting collaboration among users through cloud integration with other platforms through apps, and the connection of the whole product development process and multiple tools in one platform.
This is also the reason why we, at SimScale, launched our Community in December. We want to empower engineers, students and designers to collaborate with each other and exchange ideas. Having access to a constant feedback loop facilitates innovations, creativity and the design of better products.
3. CAE in the Cloud is the Next Big Thing
It was interesting to see how much more accessible and “mainstream” CAD technology has become in the past few years. Several CAD companies presented their updated offering and new features during Develop3D Live, and many were highlighting the importance of the cloud for the future of product design.
And what about CAE? I enjoyed listening to David Heiny, SimScale’s CEO and one of the company’s founders, who explained what it will take to make simulation a standard tool in every engineer’s software stack. David highlighted the difference in order of magnitude between the number of CAD and CAE users. Currently, only 1 in 10 engineers who could take advantage of simulation in their product design actually uses simulation. The reasons for this are the 3 barriers that come with the deployment of a traditional simulation software: budget, access, and know-how. From David’s perspective, the cloud, which has proven to be so important for the future of CAD, will also help to democratize the simulation technology. The main values that David thinks the cloud can bring are: accessibility, cost-efficiency, and know-how sharing through the community. These are all aspects that SimScale is focusing on.
The power of the cloud was definitely proven when David showed the audience his example of a butterfly valve. He was able to run all five simulations for different opening angles of the butterfly valve—each of them requires 32 cores to be computed effectively—at the same time. The simulation runs took him just 15 minutes—and he did them while waiting for his turn to present using nothing more than the regular conference WiFi!