3dsAirMedicine1 smallIt took an entire day, but Dassault Systèmes (DS) finally got its point across during the last session of day one at the SIMULIA Customer Conference 2014: the 3DExperience platform may be new, but is comprised of the same Abaqus CAE, iSIGHT, Tosca and other products users rely on, with important other technologies that connected simulation apps to one another and to the broader DS ecosystem. Why? To make analysis more visible in the enterprise and grow its importance in the eyes of decision-makers everywhere. If only DS had started that way …

DS has been pushing the 3DExperience concept for several years as a way of unifying its brands and moving beyond being known as the “CATIA people”. CEO Bernard Charlès told SCC14 attendees that DS has invested $2 billion and 5 years building the platform. Yes, there’s more data than ever before that CEOs must consider before making a decision. Yes, team members may be dispersed around the globe and need to connect to one another and coordinate their work products. Yes, social media, tablets and other new technologies are changing how we all work. It’s a compelling message to people with an enterprise view, but the simulation gurus around me were mystified: what does this have to do with me? How does this huge investment improve what I do? Is the solver faster or not? Are there new contact mechanics?

SIMULIA answered these questions and more in the General Lecture that closed the first day of the conference. A SIMULIA team worked through how to modify a quadcopter to carry a payload in hazardous territory to deliver medicine and other supplies to areas cut off by a natural disaster. The team used the 3DExperience platform to coordinate their work, manage alternatives and spawn simulation processes — all without ever leaving the unified user interface while still using the SIMULIA core workhorses of Abaqus, iSight, fe-safe and more. I could see the lightbulbs going on: “Ohhhh, now I understand. I use Abaqus (or Tosca or …) just as I normally would, but perhaps with a new user interface, and a better way of analyzing my results and presenting them to others. This may be worth looking into!” [That’s the quadcopter against the DS logo, above.]

After that, it was smooth sailing. SIMULIA unveiled a host of enhancements in coming releases, customers presented amazing use cases, and DS made a couple of announcements that tied nicely to the simulation community. I can’t recap three whole days, so these are my highlights. I believe SIMULIA will post proceedings in due time, and I urge you to check them out.

a chorus line

Adidas makes some of the most innovative sports equipment and apparel on the market today, engineered and analyzed to recover energy and feed it back into the athlete’s musculoskeletal system. Faster/higher/longer with less joint pain and a sexier look — what’s not to love? As you can see, Scott Berkey (CEO of SIMULIA), Bernard Charlès (President and CEO of Dassault Systèmes) and Sumanth Kumar (VP of SIMULIA Portfolio Experience) joined Adidas’ Dan Price (second from right) in admiring their new Adidas Blades. These are engineering marvels, whose design combines advanced materials and biomechanics to make a shoe that’s mass-produced yet feels custom-fit.

Perhaps unknowingly, Mr. Price teed up one of DS’ major announcements the week of SCC14: the creation of the BIOVIA brand. BIOVIA combines Accelrys’ life sciences and material sciences applications with DS’ own activities in biological modeling. Mr. Price spoke about how Adidas wants to ramp up its activities in material simulation, something Accelrys has been helping customers do for years. I’ve spoke with others also want to experiment with this — after all, why limit the design options to materials on the market today, when and Adidas, Boeing, P&G or VW can gain significant competitive advantage by debuting a proprietary new material with very specific properties?

DS’ other big announcement at SCC14 was its participation in The Living Heart Project, a showcase that ties together technology, research, commercial enterprises and regulators to model the human heart. The goal is to create a product that can customize a model of the heart for each patient, to allow doctors to simulate procedures, select and place devices like stents, and communicate more clearly with patients. Right now, the project models a generic heart — but what a model it is! Powered by the 3DExperience platform, the 3D heart model captures the electrical and mechanical behavior of a beating heart. Mr. Berkey said that DS is still figuring out the business model for the project (will it be a software product, a service for medical device makers and doctors, or something else?) but it’s clear that this is the first of many possible projects along these lines that have the potential to change the way doctors diagnose and treat patients.

On the enhancement front, expect a number of additions to 6.14 including new creep models and an integrated composite crush solution for crumpling; parallelization of the discrete element method solver; improved hyperelastic performance and anisotropic materials support for Eulerian Lagrangian CEL; edge-to-edge contacts for shell/solids within Abaqus/Standard and proper treatment of shell offsets at shell junctions in Abaqus/Explicit (can’t read my notes to see why they were not proper before). There was a lot more; reach out to your SIMULIA contact for details.

I also attended the optimization symposium that was part of the event and will save that for another post. It was fascinating to hear the questions asked after the presentations — even among the experts that attend an event like SCC, optimization is relatively under-penetrated. SIMULIA is out to change that by making it easier and more affordable. More soon.

Bottom line: DS’ 3DExperience platform may be new, but it hosts the same Abaqus, fe-safe, iSIGHT, and Tosca users rely on today. You don’t have to use the 3DExperience platform, but odds are you eventually will since it connects simulation apps to one another and serves results out to collaborators. But all of the talk about Experiences doesn’t mean SIMULIA has taken its eye off the ball: this is world-class simulation at work.

Top image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes. Bottom image by Kathleen Maher of Jon Peddie Research

Note: DS graciously covered some of the expenses associated with my participation at the event but did not in any way influence the content of this post.