Written by Aisling Hughes on August 14, 2019
March 8th, 2019
approx reading time
Electronics simulation is one of the manufacturers’ key weapons in this dynamic industry. Every second, hundreds of millions of people are using electronic devices at home, in the office or on the go. Billions of electronic components are embedded in objects we use every day: cars, home appliances, working tools, and utilities. The players in the electronics industry are facing a very demanding market. They have to know how to adapt to quickly changing trends, how to rapidly release new products, and how to offer cheaper and better products with fewer expenses.
One of digital economy’s engines is fueled by the boom in electronics innovation. This is disrupting the traditional ways in which we communicate, work or entertain. There are no exceptions to this trend, from computers and communication networks to smart mobiles and healthcare devices. Smart car engines are controlled by embedded chips, helping users to drive safer. Internet of things’ electronic components are controlling everything from manufacturing processes to smart homes and buildings. More than 4.4% of global manufacturing value arises from the electronic equipment market. 
In the referential research resulting in the “Simulation-Driven Design Benchmark Report”, the Aberdeen Group found that all the best-in-class manufacturers are using simulation in close relationship with the design process. These top performers are able to launch complex products to the market on average 158 days sooner than traditional manufacturers, saving $1.9 million in development costs. The report also showed that 72% of best in class manufacturers are improving product performance, 51% developed efficiency, and 70% addressed shortened time-to-market constraints. .
What is the secret of the leaders in electronics manufacturing? Herewith are five of most important performance drivers:
The rapid changes in the electronics industry are at the same time the driver and the result of innovation. All the front-end technologies such as cloud computing, big data analytics, Internet of things, and social networking are disrupting the common behavior of the consumer and traditional business models. Innovation is happening whether it is wanted or not. By using electronics simulation of product performance in the design phase, the producers of electronics devices and components can rapidly assimilate new technologies, with improved design and better materials, reducing the workflow process, especially in the laboratory testing phase. Top manufacturers use 1.6 fewer prototypes than all others .
Using simulation, best-in-class manufacturers for the simplest products get to market 21 days earlier, according to the Aberdeen Group’s research. How is this possible? What does a producer need to do in order to dramatically reduce the engineering, design, prototyping, and manufacturing time?
It is essential that all departments involved in the electronics manufacturing process should communicate and collaborate based on the same digital model. Electronics product developers can be inspired to design, develop, and deliver performance-tested, market-ready products in very short time. An electronics simulation solution based on multiple analyses can help engineers solve a wider range of problems as well as deal with more complex scenarios. Dynamic and static stress analyses can be performed for mechanical components or casing structures. Fluid flow and multi-component thermal analyses are common simulation methods for electronics components such as chips, diodes, resistors or printed circuit boards, controlling the thermal behavior of different materials, cooling effects, and environmental influences.
Developing new and improved products is a continuous demand for the consumer electronics market. Simple changing of a device case or increasing the functionalities can satisfy the consumer needs for new products. Lengthy queues at Apple stores with the launch of every new model of iPhone are a good example of this phenomenon. Any flat segment of the consumer electronics market can be revitalized with the introduction of revolutionary high-tech models. The vendors’ engineering process should be as smart as the products they develop. Tight collaboration between engineering and design teams means less risk and better development of new functionalities.
Materials quality and better performance are also a key driver for the success of new products. The behavior of electronics products is difficult to physically test. How can one be sure that all the possibilities have been considered in order to reach product integrity?
Electronics simulation allows new product developers to test different materials for the components and optimize designs. The major value of engineering simulation is not only to do today what you did yesterday with a 70% efficiency improvement but also to explore new possibilities and do your job better. The estimated power of electronics simulation can expand design limits and help break into the market with products without any competition. This is also valuable for assessing the product failure risk. Product recalls can have dramatic consequences for market positioning and innumerable damage costs.
Simulation can optimize electronics design as soon as engineers have imagined the product structure, components material, and design of electronic circuits. With CFD, FEA, or thermal simulation, you can make design iterations to obtain the best possible version, long before building the first physical prototype.
Simulation software can address a large variety of issues related to the product design, such as electronics cooling, structural integrity during normal loading and vibration or during an accidental drop. In a best practice scenario, many simulations can be harnessed together to simultaneously determine the feasibility of the whole system. All these facilities offered by electronics simulation have a direct contribution to the reduction of engineering process costs, from material and labor economy in prototyping phase to a real improvement of the manufacturing process.
Did you enjoy this article? You might also like this blog post: “Thermal Design Optimization for Better Electronics Cooling“.
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