Illustrative Example – Ad-hoc Design Study

The following illustrative example shows a typical scenario of managing an ad-hoc study between two internal domain teams using different platforms (e.g. Architects using Dassault Systèmes’ 3D Experience platform and Simulation Specialists using MSC Software’s SimManager platform) and an external supplier (e.g. using Siemens’ TeamCenter platform) (see Figure 4). It is recognized that this does not cover the entire range of scenarios, and is only one of many use-cases which will be elaborated as part of the Application Activity Model.

The use-case has the following steps: Initiate - Prepare - Perform - Review - Initiate

 Example use-case for collaboration between internal teams and external supplier


Initiate design investigation study

During the concept phase of a new product family, an OEM Architect looks at the physical characteristics and performance simulation results for the current product and notices that:

  • Recent advances in materials technology have provided significant weight benefits on another product family which may be transferable to the new family.
    • Architect [Team A], views simulation models from the structures experts [Team B] finding results for the new product that used properties for traditional materials, and also results for other family that used the new material. It was seen that new material simulation results were provided by the material specialist [Supplier])
  • The early simulations were conservative when compared to the physical testing resulting in an over engineered product. Therefore improvements in the simulation should be investigated.
    • Architect [Team A], viewing simulation models from simulation experts [Team B], physical test results from [Team C not shown])

The OEM Architect decides launch a top level “weight reduction” study controlling two parallel studies, “materials technology” and “simulation improvement”, to investigate these ideas. This is illustrated in Figure 5. Note: only the “materials technology” study will be elaborated in this illustrative example.

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Initiation phase



Using the architect’s software platform, the OEM Architect creates a “materials technology” study  with the following:

  • Context: managed by the “Weight reduction” study
  • Justification: results from using this new material technology on other product families have shown significant improvements.
  • Concepts: New material technology
  • Objectives:
    1. Calculate the weight of the product with the goal of a 10% reduction from the baseline, this target justified by achievements seen in other families.
    2. Weight calculation results are to be within a 95% confidence level (i.e. accurate)
    3. Calculate the impact on the manufacturing cost (time and materials) within a 80% confidence level (i.e. rough estimate)
  • Constraints: Product outer shape remains fixed, though the internal structure can change
  • Inputs (as links to models on simulation expert’s platform):
    1. Geometry models for the outer shape
    2. Weight simulation results from baseline
    3. Manufacturing models from baseline

The OEM Architect then sets up a review with the OEM Simulation Experts in “Team B” with the result that the following high level tasks are identified for the study.

  • Tasks (ad-hoc because methods unknown):
    1. Generate new structural model that is suitable for new material
    2. Generate structural simulation results from structural model [delegated to Supplier]
    3. Compute weight with associated confidence level
    4. Verify weight and confidence are within specified limits
    5. Compute manufacturing time and materials with associated confidence level

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The OEM Architect changes the study status to “launched”, this sends a notification to the OEM Simulation Experts, and their specialist’s software platform pulls the details from the architect’s software platform using MoSSEC web services (see Figure 7 below).

 The OEM Simulation Experts review the request and, in discussion with the Supplier, adapts to include several intermediate steps needed to achieve the expected results. Figure 8 shows the expected results (for the “weight” part of the study) with connections to the inputs, and elaborated with additional steps for; simplifying the structural model; creating a mesh; and modelling the uncertainty from the structural simulation. This adapt step could occur at any point and any number of times during the lifecycle of the study, for example, if an initial set of results have too low confidence an alternative simulation could be included in the study.

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 The OEM Simulation Experts start work generating the expected results. Where the inputs are provided as links, the specialist’s software platform downloads the technical data from the linked platform. When each result is available the specialist’s software platform updates the architect’s software platform with links to the results and an updated status, as shown in the adjacent image where change in status is indicated by green border.

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 When all the inputs are available that are needed for the step that has been delegated to the Supplier, a notification is sent to the Supplier. At the same time the associated inputs are posted to a collaboration hub (e.g. Eurostep’s Share-A-space) that is outside both the OEM’s and Supplier’s firewalls though controlled by the OEM. For this example the collaboration data is posted using MoSSEC web services, and the technical data is posted using file exchange e.g. in STEP AP242 Part28 format. Unlike the exchange between the OEM teams where links to the technical data were used, supplier does not have permission to follow the links through the firewall so the technical data must also be exchanged. Both the collaboration data and the technical data can include associated information rights and security classifications.

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Exchange with supplier through firewalls via collaboration hub In a similar way, the supplier generates the expected results and post updates of the collaboration data (e.g. status updates and weight KPI values) and technical data (e.g. results files) and any other pertinent information (e.g. assumptions made during simulation – see Figure 11) back to the collaboration hub. These are retrieved by the Simulation Specialist platform and exchanged with the architect’s platform

When all the results data and KPI have been computed, the simulation specialist assesses if the objectives have been met, and updates the verification status accordingly. At the conclusion of the perform phase the data is sent from the specialist’s platform to the architect’s platform with the result

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At any point in the lifecycle of the study the OEM Architect can review the progress and any available results. In this illustration it is assumed that all the results have been published and the OEM reviews the following (see Figure 12):

  1. Weight value, sees that it is significantly improved from the baseline and wants to review how this was achieved
  2. Notices that the weight is computed from the Structural Simulation results, so looks to see what simulation method was used to generate these results. Next chooses to look at the technical results in detail so clicks on the link to the results in the specialist’s software platform. This opens a window in the architect’s software platform with a viewer for the results. Checks that these are of the expected quality.
  3. Notices that the supplier has added an assumption about the operating temperature range, opens the details of that assumption, decides that it is valid, and adds an approval to the assumption (perhaps also adding a justification to explain that is valid because this baseline is within this range)
  4. Notices that the verification of the objectives has been set to “passed”, so signs off the approval for that verification.

As the results from the other parts of the study become available the OEM architect discovers that although the weight is improved by using the new material technology, the manufacturing cost has significantly increased. By looking at the costs in more detail it becomes apparent that one part of the structure has more impact on these costs than the rest.

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Initiate follow-up study

The OEM Architect decides to launch a follow-up study where the part of the structure that had highest impact on the manufacturing cost uses conventional materials and the rest of the structure uses the new material. A review of the traceability from the different studies shows that the results from some of the intermediate steps can be reused (e.g. the simplified model and the mesh model) and other steps can use the same models to generate results from the updated inputs. Therefore a new study is launched that includes results from the previous studies and adds new tasks to rerun the results computation for the updated inputs.