Simulation helps organisations gain better design and styling
capabilities and save on prototyping costs, says Abhinav Singh
(RC) or Visualisation Systems are gaining ground in India and are being adopted
by Indian enterprises. Businesses are making use of them to improve the design
and styling of their products and create simulated environments for research
and development (R&D).
Organisations such as ONGC, BHEL, IIT-Kanpur and the National Institute of Design
(NID) at Ahmedabad are using RCs. The NID, for example, is leveraging this technology
for its Design Vision Centre (DVC). The aim of setting up the DVC was to empower
its design professionals to visualise and achieve faster design cycles in real
life environments and to make design solutions user friendly. The DVC is a design
support facility for education, research and consultancy services with three
Dr Darlie Koshy, executive director of the National Institute
of Design says, The NID has a high-performance visualisation lab equipped
with Silicon Graphics (SGI) Onyx 350 visualisation system that has brought
in higher performance through advanced visualisation techniques. The system
provides a real-time immersive experience to viewers. It covers a large spectrum
of visualisation for products and services. Using this facility, students,
researchers and design professionals can undertake comprehensive virtual
prototyping, eliminating physical prototyping costs.
Similarly, IIT, Kanpur is using a 4 CPU SGI Onyx RC system, which is helping
it train students in areas of digital prototyping, design review, computer-aided
design (CAD) and industrial styling. The students of the aeronautical engineering
group are using IIT-Ks RC to study computer fluid dynamics. The RC would
also be used in molecular dynamics, which involves complex data analysis, integration
and design-related dynamics and for aircraft simulation. These are just some
examples of what RCs can do for organisations. Lets take a closer look
at this technology.
Improved product styling and design
RCs are helping organisations craft innovative designs and review said designs
at their centre where styling reviews are carried out. Dr Prasad Medury, managing
director, Silicon Graphics Systems (India), explains, Automotive manufacturers
use an RC to design a product in totality and make virtual prototypes at the
same time. They can also analyse the impact of certain aspects on a product
in a visual environment such as crash or impact analysis, finite element analysis
(FEA) and the like. All this helps in reducing the number of physical clay models
required during product development reducing the overall design cycle time.
RCs also help in engineering reviews where detailed engineering schematics are
reviewed from time to time.
Anurag Gupta, regional manager, South, Workstation Business, HP India, says,
Visualisation Systems (RCs) can also help in reducing the time to market
of a product through design innovation. Visualisation Systems facilitate better
co-ordination between a cross-functional team for superior designs. To
foster innovation it is necessary to bring together creative people from all
departments in a cross-functional team to guide the design process. When
people have different backgrounds, their terminologies differ, but visualisation
helps them communicate better, concludes Gupta.
The hunt for black gold
RCs provide vital geo-physical data for oil exploration.
With RCs, oil and gas companies have been able to enhance their oil-extraction
capacities from oil fields. Dr Medury says, RCs make it possible to look
beneath the earths surface at a particular oil field and have a virtual
view of it. This visualisation is based upon analogue data about a particular
oil field which is transformed into a 3-D immersive environment. Using
an RC, it is possible for oil & gas companies to know how much deeper they
should drill to get oil and the angle that will ensure the maximum yield.
Simulation and R&D
RCs can help airlines create a simulated environment for flight training. Gupta
says, Through visualisation systems, a simulated environment resembling
a real-time situation can be created. It is possible for pilot trainees to experience
an environment similar to the one they would encounter in the cockpit of a real
aircraft. RCs are also being used extensively for R&D. Many drug research
companies are executing clinical trials on drugs using RC. There are a number
of pharmaceutical companies in India that are into drug research and development
and have complex design requirements for drug discovery. An RC can ascertain
the impact of a drug on human cells.
Catching up gradually
RCs have primarily been leveraged by large enterprises in India, companies that
already have data centres in place. Now vendors such as SGI and HP are set to
popularise RCs with small and medium businesses. SGI has reduced the prices
of its RC offerings and an entry-level solution starts at Rs 60 lakh. Depending
upon the size of operations prices start upwards of Rs 10 crore for oil exploration
applications. Many organisations in India are showing an interest in low-end
RCs. When their require higher quality and more frames per second (fps), then
they will start spending more on higher-end display systems, or superior RC
platforms. Gupta says, The Indian manufacturing industry needs to change
its design processes to foster innovation by inserting design team reviews several
times in the design flow (and not just at the end of the design shift-over to
manufacturing). Visualisation helps improve the quality of these review meetings.
With India becoming a R&D hub, product companies are not left with much
choice but to innovate in order to stay competitive. RCs will play a critical
role in this process and automotive companies have taken the lead in adopting
these solutions. A good design sells and this will result in greater adoption
of RCs in India.