In a previous post titled “Autodesk Manufacturing Tech Day – Digital Simulation” I spoke about simulation as we all know it. So what on earth is this thing called Visual Simulation? Actually I found this rather interesting. Autodesk is leveraging its Showcase rendering technology to help customers design products that fit the aesthetic specifications.
Here is a console rendered in Autodesk Showcase. Click the image for a larger view.
When manufacturing plastic parts, you need to take into account shrink marks. Here is the result of a simulation done in Autodesk MoldFlow Advisor. Notice the small areas highlighted in light blue towards the end of the console grips. This is where the places where MoldFlow has figured that the plastic will shrink while cooling giving rise to shrink marks.
When the MoldFlow model is rendered in Showcase, the designer can see how the manufactured part will look like giving him the chance to tweak his model so that it comes out perfect.
Another interesting option is to play with different colors and textures and see if the visual defects caused by the shrink marks can be reduced to acceptable levels.
Note that all this happens before anything is actually built which goes to explain the “3D is not enough” mantra that Autodesk was chanting at the event. Arriving at a 3D model (which Autodesk prefers to call a digital prototype) is just the starting point. What follows is subjecting that digital prototype to various tests and analyzing it under different conditions so that when the time comes to actually make the tooling to manufacture the part, you are able to find yourself pretty close to the target.