Tech Topics

Optimization in Engineering

With continuous advancement of technologies and inventions of smarter products, the engineering processes are also getting more complex and sophisticated that need constant optimizations.

As seeing in automotive industry, the rapid transition to electric vehicles (EVs) in recent years has driven many technological developments with new challenges. Optimizations are essential through all engineering stages of development from design to production process and manufacturing systems.

However, the methods of optimizations are also advancing with developments of new technologies.

The traditional method of optimization is known for trial-and-error tests by human experts. Engineers take very long time to gain experiences and learn the skills to become experts. A big pity is that the expertise achieved by human learning is stored in human brains. It is difficult to transfer to other engineers.

With developments of computer technologies, the optimizations are gradually made more and more by computers and decisions made by more contributions of computer systems.

As illustrated in the graph, we can divide the development of optimization methods in manufacturing industry into 5 stages based on the contributions of computer technologies.

  • Human expert
    – This is the old way of working by human experts conducting all optimizations. The decision making is by human experts only.
  • CAD – computer aided design
    – In this stage, computer systems are used for engineering design and design optimizations. It is already state of the art with CAD systems widely applied in all industries.
  • CAE – computer aided engineering
    – In this stage, computer systems are used for production process optimizations to achieve optimal and reliable manufacturing processes.
  • CAM – computer aided manufacturing
    – In the stage, computer systems are adopted for production control optimizations to realize the manufacturing of products with good and consistent quality.
  • AI – artificial intelligence and digital factory
    – In this stage, computer systems will be able to make autonomous decisions for optimizations of designs, production processes and manufacturing systems with automatic control to produce the best quality products.

Some industries have already achieved higher levels of CAM integrated with CAD, such as additive manufacturing. This is mainly because the CAM systems for 3D printing can be linked directly with CAD.

However, for welding, there is a big gap between CAD and CAM due to complexity of the welding processes. This gap need to be filled by optimizations of the welding processes. There are still very much work for optimizations done by human experts but with increasing applications of computer technologies.

SORPAS is used as a CAE tool in automotive industry and electrical industry for optimizations of the resistance welding processes.

We hope the welding optimizations will be conducted with more and more contributions by computer systems with CAE and machine learning to gradually integrate CAD with CAM towards artificial intelligence (AI) and digital factories.

Posted on
Categories Tech Topics

Welding Simulation & Digital Twins

The world is going digital. This is leading the way in changing every aspect of our life, from digital documentations and communications, to online banking and shopping, then digitized libraries and museums. The same is happening to the industry, first by digital methods for designing with CAD, and now by Digital Twins for manufacturing processes with simulation and related computer technologies.

Digital Twin is a virtual representation of a physical object, system or process by using simulation and other computerized digital technologies. It can be used to analyze and simulate a system or process in real world conditions to adapt to changes, increase flexibility, optimize operations, improve quality, save time, reduce costs and add value.

The concept has been around since early 2000s. It has then got greater attention and stronger momentum to thrive in the last few years, especially since it was named one of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for consecutively three years 2017, 2018, 2019.

There have been many publications, presentations and demonstrations on the creation of digital twins by using numerical simulation with finite element modeling, but most have focused on product or system designing. It is far more challenging, with still much work to be done, to create digital twins for the dynamic manufacturing processes, such as welding and joining processes. However, this is essential for the complete digitalization of the welding industry.

For the manufacturing industry, the Digital Twin isn’t, and shouldn’t be, just for Designing.

In case of welding, the it shall be created for the complete welding lifecycle from Designing, Optimizing, Planning, to Producing and Evaluating the welds. This requires simulations with virtual models to be highly accurate and consistent with capabilities to make reliable predictions and optimizations.

SORPAS® is now ready to take the challenge of creating the first Welding Digital Twins for the complete lifecycle of resistance spot welding processes.

Digital Twins

Five functionalities of the digital twins for resistance welding will be available:

Further details about how the digital twins are created with SORPAS simulations and the interactions with artificial intelligence (AI) are presented in the special page of welding solutions on Digital Twins and AI.

Posted on
Categories Tech Topics

Tech Topics

In this section you find technical articles all related to welding and joining.

The author is our CEO, Dr. Wenqi Zhang.

Each article presents a commonly interested topic relevant to the industrial applications of welding and joining processes.

We continue publishing more articles regularly, on the one hand to share our knowledge of welding with the professional world, on the other hand to keep close technical connections with our customers.

The recently published articles are listed in the column to the right.


Posted on
Categories Tech Topics