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Thermal Engineers Wasting Time with Legacy Simulation Tools

24 October, 2017


71% of thermal engineers are not completely satisfied with their simulation software according to our latest report, the State of Thermal. There are many factors behind this dissatisfaction, but one of the biggest frustrations we uncovered with many simulation tools is that key processes such as importing CAD, building models and solving are simply too time consuming.

That is not to say that accurate simulation doesn’t require a certain amount of time. However, the reality is that many engineers are spending much longer than necessary as a result of slow or poorly designed thermal simulation software packages.

Our data shows that there are significant differences in usability and solve time offered by different thermal simulation packages. These discrepancies are clear for a range of the key steps in the simulation process:

  • 30% of thermal engineers have to spend over a day building their models, while 37% spend less than an hour
  • 41% also say that they will typically spend over an hour gridding their design while 10% will spend more than a day
  • 66% of thermal engineers spend up to a day or more solving their simulations – and yet 32% say they can complete  this step in under an hour

Taking a long time at each step quickly adds up, resulting a slow time-to-solution. But it needn’t be so. Our data showed that with 6SigmaET, many key simulation functions could be completed in under an hour. 56% of 6SigmaET users said they could import CAD data in under an hour (compared to 37% of FloTherm users). 36% said they could build a model within an hour (compared to 21% of FloTherm users). And 60% said they could finalise their gridding in under an hour (compared to only 42% of FloTherm users).

This is backed up by a recent study conducted by Rohde & Schwarz which highlighted that, in a side-by-side evaluation, 6SigmaET was found to deliver a 35% increase in project efficiency compared to other, market leading, thermal simulation solutions.

Clearly, engineers don’t need to be wasting so much time with inefficient, legacy, simulation tools. Our research makes it plain that there are tools available that would enable engineers to realise major time and efficiency savings.

Despite this, 40% of the thermal engineers we surveyed have never switched tools, while a further 18% last switched more than 3 years ago. So why do so few engineers switch simulation tools? Is it perhaps an unwillingness to disrupt work flow in the short term while adapting to a new tool?

Of course, in the short term disrupting workflows can be problematic. But given the time – and therefore cost – savings that can be made with more modern and innovative simulation packages, organisations really need to be giving serious consideration to whether legacy simulation tools can deliver the performance they need.