Industrial product designing is a complex landscape. From research and development to initial prototype development to final launch and scaling, a lot of work goes into building a winning product. There is so much investment of resources, both time and money. What if a particular process goes wrong? Wouldn’t you be risking a lot? 

You need a solution that is flexible, scalable, and precise. Enter industrial tools. 

In this post, we bring you the top industrial tools to effectively optimize your resources while making processes efficient at each stage. No matter what your current stage is, whether you are prototyping, or simulating, or in the manufacturing stage, there is a host of tools that you can utilize to stay on track. Let’s dive in. 

6 Advanced Tools for Industrial Engineers in 2021

Industrial engineers’ work landscape is filled with complex processes at every point. This means for any tool to integrate into their systems successfully needs to simplify processes before anything else. Generic tools that every industry can utilize don’t support their specific needs. 

No matter what the area is, be it prototyping, manufacturing, or simulation, each tool needs to solve one core problem. Following are the top 6 design tools to ensure high precision at each stage of your product development. 

  1. Topology optimization tools

Topology optimization is one of the critical tasks of any industrial engineer. But, optimizing a design space is often complex. This is precisely where the topology optimization tool comes in. This cutting-edge tool aims to create lightweight, smart composite structures that can significantly reduce construction costs. 

It achieves so by focusing on reducing space weight taking material properties and fixed sets of loads into account. More so, this tool enables you to create printed prototypes, CAD models, and imported files. Here are a few top tools for your consideration.

  1. nTopology: nTopology is one of the best software for topology optimization in the industrial engineering sector that takes the partial least square path modeling approach to trace optimum design space. It offers end-to-end generative processes, starting from concept to manufacturing and helps in accelerating every phase of the product development. With this software, you can achieve greater performance by combining the unbreakable optimization modeling capabilities with smoothening. 

Utilizing a GUI (graphical user interface) for developing a variance-based structural equation model, this tool helps designers understand relationships between relationships closely. This tool helps you to create powerful customizations in your model while tracking all your projects under one dashboard. You can develop data groups to run multi-group analyses seamlessly. 

Structural simulation tools

Design decisions can make or break industrial products. This makes structural simulation software so crucial for an industrial engineer. With the right tool, you can make faster and accurate design decisions, solving complex engineering problems. This directly results in optimizing prototype costs and wastage while streamlining the development of the final product faster, saving both resources: time and money. 

A structural simulation tool utilizes engineering analysis on a 3D virtual structure landscape against applied loads. This tool allows you to perform linear, non-linear, and 3D analyses of architecture all under one roof. 

  1. Creo Simulate: Structural analysis is the backbone of your product development. Doing it right moves you ahead in your journey exponentially, while wrong assessment can keep you moving in closed circles. Creo Simulate is a thermal, structural analysis software that can just set you on track. 

Having capabilities of a comprehensive set of finite element analysis enables you to validate the performance of your 3D virtual prototypes. This simulation process is completely integrated into the Creo CAD environment, enabling fast and hassle-free parametric design and optimization goals in no time. You can also use it as a standalone FEA package or link to solutions like 3D MCAD in a multi-CAD environment. ANSYS is a strong competitor of CREO Simulate. 

Thermal simulation tools

Industrial product development often involves monitoring thermal conditions. A thermal simulator helps to reach optimum performance levels for the product prototype with a deeper understanding of the thermal characteristics of your product. 

This tool utilizes a thermal analysis model to forecast temperature and heat distribution, heat and airflow systems, and heat fluxes in specific parts giving a clearer picture of the states of convection, conduction, and radiation of your product. Here are a few top tools that you can consider.

  1. 6SigmaET: If there is one tool that can take care of your thermal simulation end-to-end, it is 6SigmaET. This computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulator brings advanced cooling design and technology using high-precision electronic equipment models specializing in catering to the electronics industry.  But, its versatility ensures that it is the common favorite of the aerospace and automotive industries too. 

This tool brings its user a lot of comforts when it comes to design productivity. From user-friendliness to a gentle learning curve to integration capabilities with tools like CAD and PCB, it does it all. Furthermore, it brings automation and a smart model creation process to meet thermal design requirements. 

Fluid simulation tools

Thermal design management of any industrial product is incomplete without assessing the thermal conductivity of your systems. Fluid simulation tools are made to address this issue. You can easily integrate this tool with your thermal simulation system to assess your product’s pressure, flow, and thermal conductivity rates. 

Improving your product performance, this tool brings a host of benefits. From rapid assessment of design variations to creating variations in conditions, cost reduction, to comprehensive information, it does it all.  Here are the best tools you can use for this task. 

  1. Flownex SE (Simulation Environment): Flownex SE fluid simulation technology enables you with a comprehensive understanding of the behavior of the mechanisms of complex, massive systems in a real-world scenario. This makes the tool perfect for multiple tasks like design, assessment, fault analysis, and virtual testing in critical and dangerous environments where physical testing would have been otherwise impossible or expensive.

Flownex SE works to determine the overall pressure drop and heat transfer between connected components of a system in both steady-state and transient. This tool simulates the overall impact of the fluid by altering specific component properties allowing users to study every possible design variation to create an optimal system. But that’s not all. 

Flownex SE integration capabilities are too noteworthy here. You can integrate simulation data with tools like MathCAD and Matlab easily. This makes it the preferred tool in industries like power generation, oil & gas, and mining. Autodesk CFD is a strong competitor you can consider instead. 

Electronic simulation tools

Having a thorough understanding of the best arrangement of electronic circuits is critical for high-performance industrial products. But, testing each variation and design in real-time, physical world takes both time and resources. This is where an electronic simulation tool comes in handy. This tool makes the complete process of debugging and design optimization fast and hassle-free. You can now test any node of the circuit, try unavailable components. 

Simulating the behavior of a real electronic circuit, this tool utilizes a mathematical model to create circuit diagrams with high precision inputs to validate engineering designs. You can even use cloud-based simulators here. Usually, this software comes with a rich library of circuit designs that you can customize easily and import for usage.

  1. CREO Elements: CREO Elements is one of the most successful products the brand has ever launched. If you are a mechanical engineer or designer adopting the direct modeling approach to 3D CAD, this tool is the perfect solution for you. 

Creo Elements enables you with a user-friendly, fast, and agile user interface (UI), allowing you to collaborate with your team to create robust and effective designs. The software has the capabilities of both producing and editing designs via integrated 2D sketching and 3D modeling. This means you can change and update your designs at any stage of product development. 

But that’s not all. Its migration capabilities with other tools like  Catia, Inventor, and Autodesk are worth mentioning. You can use this tool to generate proposals, capture design input from end-users, or define initial design seamlessly. 

Scheduling and production planning tools

Managing manufacturing and production operations are critical for any industrial product. This means generic product management tools cannot help engineers working at the heart of product operations. You need more. Scheduling and production planning tools are precisely what you need. 

This innovative tool enables your complete team to meet market demands and expectations by integrating complex processes of workforce management, inventory time, product quality, delay time, compliance issues all under one roof. What follows is production efficiency and delivery performance. Here is our pick for this tool. 

  1. SIMATIC IT Preactor APS (advanced planning and scheduling): Siemens IT Preactor APS (advanced scheduling) brings in cutting-edge planning and scheduling solutions for every engineer’s manufacturing operations management. The complete AS suite utilizes interactive, multi-constraint systems for efficient scheduling. This gives you access to resources like tooling and materials during the scheduling process ensuring accurate development of environment models. 

The tool utilizes in-built, intelligent rules to schedule orders. Planners can manually interact with schedules to update changes based on prior experience or updated information. 

The product also caters to production planning and shop floor scheduling based on constraints which allow manufacturers to respond quickly to changes, meeting customer demands simultaneously. A strong alternative for SIMATIC IT Preactor APS is Acumatica. 

Parting Advice

Developing a product that could change the face of an entire industry takes a lot of work. While the above tools will help you optimize your engineering process, the core work still lies with you. It is your creative ideas and innovative approaches that will shift the needle at the end of the day.

The above tools are a mere way to ensure that you achieve your goals in the fastest, smoothest, and most efficient way. 

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Author bio: 

Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as a Learning Experience Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted content that is both informative and engaging. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband. In her free time, she loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at [email protected] to discuss your content marketing plans and requirements.