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System simulation

Master complexity from the early design stages. Evaluate and balance performance attributes from the early development stages to final performance validation and control calibration.

What is system simulation?

System simulation is the process of experimenting with and studying how changes to characteristics of a complex system (or sub-system) impact the system as a whole.

Advanced simulation software uses mathematical algorithms to predict and illustrate the impact of proposed system changes. System simulation can be used while designing a new system, to uncover the root cause of problems in an existing system, or to test system adjustments to achieve different results.

System simulation enables engineering teams to optimize multiphysics systems earlier by assessing the interactions between mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, thermal, electric and electronic components before the first physical prototype becomes available. In the context of more automated and electrified products, system simulation helps design engineers predict complex multi-physic systems' behavior, find configurations that meet performance requirements and accelerate engineering decisions.

Related products: Simcenter Amesim | Simcenter Flomaster | Simcenter System Analyst | Simcenter HEEDS

An engineer using the Simcenter systems simulation software on the desktop.

Uncover the benefits

System simulation is a powerful tool for designing and analyzing complex systems. It combines multi-domain system simulation with controls to help engineers create concept designs, understand transient and steady-state behavior and make informed engineering decisions along the development process.

Increase performance

System simulation allows you to optimize complex multi-domain systems, controlled or not, from the concept phase, even before detailed CAD is available.

Time reduction

System simulation allows engineers to quickly assess the performance of different design options and predict the behavior of the systems under different conditions.

Cost reduction

System simulation model is very versatile and adaptable to questions it needs to answer. It can help to save costly prototypes during development, quickly find the best architecture, or optimize the product's real-time operation.

Steps in the system simulation process

Simcenter electrical simulation hardware unit.

Electrical system simulation

Simulate and integrate electrical and electromechanical systems from concept design to control validation. Simcenter helps optimize the dynamic performance of mechatronic systems, analyze power consumption and design and validate control laws for electrical devices in multiple industries.

Oil poured on gears representing mechanical system simulation.

Mechanical system simulation

Manage the increasing engineering complexity of integrated mechanical systems. Simcenter Systems offers state-of-the-art modeling techniques for multi-dimensional (1D, 2D and 3D) dynamic simulations.

Several pneumatic and hydraulic components.

Fluid system simulation

Optimize the dynamic behavior of hydraulic and pneumatic components while limiting physical prototyping to what's strictly necessary. With a wide choice of components, features and application-oriented tools, Simcenter allows you to model fluid systems for a wide range of applications.

The temperature gauge on a speedometer.

Thermal system simulation

Simcenter Systems helps maximize thermal performance for HVAC and cabin comfort, vehicle thermal management, environmental control systems or other thermal systems.

A couple of engineers talking and pointing to the laptop screen.

Control integration

Simcenter systems offers the integration of different simulation tools throughout the lifecycle of your system, from early design to the operation phase. This allows you to address the digital continuity challenge and increase the efficiency of your workflows.

Multiphysics system simulation

Using powerful platform capabilities, you can rapidly optimize the interactions between mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, thermal, electric and electronic systems before the first physical prototype becomes available.

Simcenter Systems offers the integration of different simulation tools throughout the lifecycle of your system, from early design to the operation phase. This allows you to address the digital continuity challenge and increase the efficiency of your workflows and the collaboration between different departments.

Simcenter Systems supports connections to a product lifecycle management (PLM) system and geometrical data, co-simulations between 1D and 3D CAE tools, design space exploration, model-based controls development and interactions among different systems using the functional mockup interface (FMI).

Get a free software trial

A visual from the Simcenter Amesim system simulation software.

Simcenter Amesim software trial

Boost system simulation productivity with Simcenter Amesim: the integrated, scalable mechatronic system simulation platform that allows design engineers to assess and optimize system performance virtually.

Simcenter Flomaster software user interface (UI).

Simcenter Flomaster trial

Simcenter Flomaster offers a comprehensive simulation toolset for designing, commissioning and operating thermo-fluid systems. It can connect to PLM, CAD, simulation and industrial IoT to embrace digital transformation.

Frequently asked questions

System simulation can be used for any application that involves energy transfers between physical domains, including mechanics, hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics and thermal. This can be extended with control algorithms in the loop, defined as model (MiL), as software code (SiL) and as physical hardware controller (HiL). In practice, system simulation is often used in automotive, aerospace, marine, heavy equipment, energy and utility and industrial machinery applications, for example, when new hybrid or electrical powertrains or propulsion systems are developed.

System simulation adds value to any phase in the product lifecycle, not only in product development but also in the operational phase of the product. In the early design stages, system simulation helps to make the right choices regarding target setting, early concepts, and architecture. In the more detailed engineering phases, system simulation helps to size, configure and optimize system performance. In the operational phase, system simulation models can act as real-time virtual representations of the physical product, unlocking numerous applications, including operator training, virtual sensing, system monitoring and optimization.

System simulation is a simulation approach that is scalable in complexity. In early design stages, there's often limited information available, but still, system simulation delivers valuable insights that help make the right decisions on system concepts and architectures. Further in the development cycle, when more parameters and information become known, the accuracy and level of detail in system simulation increases up to levels where a system simulation model can be used to calibrate and validate control algorithms or to operate in real-time operations and extend its use also to the operational part of the systems lifecycle.

As with any engineering tool system, simulation has a learning curve, so training is highly recommended. Simcenter system simulation tools are considered very user-friendly, with extensive libraries of validated components, a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI), built-in apps for ease of use and a large help section including documentation and demo models.

The required hardware specifications for system simulation are relatively limited compared to other computer-aided engineering (CAE) applications where 3D geometries are needed. For example, Simcenter Amesim version 2310 runs on any modern 64-bit system, requiring a minimum of 4 GB RAM and 25 GB disk space. For improved performance and parallel processing systems with multiple cores are recommended.

A system simulation model can be seen as a digital twin of a multiphysics system and can be connected to control logic. This makes it an excellent base for further developments towards an xDT. To qualify for an xDT, the system simulation model should be able to run in (near) real-time and be executed on any certified device without the need for the simulation software itself.

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