Holistic Engineering

Simulations supports the efficient product development process 

Holistic Engineering

Simulations are used to calculate a wide range of procedures on powerful computers. This may be, for example, the flow in a valve or the load exerted on a mechanical part.

By this means, the function of a product can already be predicted before the first prototype is made. In the meantime, most physical phenomena can be simulated. The variety of simulation methods used at Festo is correspondingly large.

Simulation at Festo

Festo has a long tradition of applying modern processes efficiently. The first steps were taken back in 1983 when computer technology was still in its infancy. In the meantime, simulation has become an integral part of practically all research and development processes. The procedures are rapidly developing and require a scientific operating method.

Simulations are often time-consuming. Efficiency in the hardware and software is therefore important. That is why big calculations are outsourced to a powerful computer cluster. Festo works with programs from reputable manufacturers on a wide range of application areas.

Component strength and deformation

Components that are exposed to loads become deformed. Sometimes more, for example rubber seals, sometimes less, such as aluminium covers on cylinders. To calculate this deformation, the Finite Element Method, or FEM for short, is used. The simulation specialists from the research department support this development in the case of:

  • mechanisms and systems
  • electronics, magnetics, piezo technology
  • software and models

Flow and heat exchange

For pneumatics and process automation, the flow in the components largely determines the function. Flow rate, pressure drop, flow forces and degree of efficiency are simulated using Computational Fluid Dynamics, CFD for short. This method is also used in aircraft and automotive construction.

When it comes to the flow simulations, there are various challenges:

  • in pneumatics, the flow often reaches supersonic speed on narrow cross sections, thereby limiting the flow rate. The simulation provides starting points for optimisation in these cases.
  • When it comes to liquid flows in process automation, cavitation, in other words the occurrence of vapour bubbles, is a challenge that must be overcome.
  • On electronic components, the flow, together with the component cooling system, plays an important role.

Injection moulding and die-cast metal

In both the plastic injection moulding and the die-cast aluminium processes, hot, liquid material is pressed into a steel mould, where it cools down and solidifies. Complicated shapes can be produced cost-effectively in this way.

The molten plastic is very viscous. The molten aluminium, on the other hand, is very runny, so that if forms a turbulent flow where air can be mixed in. This results in unwanted cavities, which reduce the stability.

By means of simulation it can be predicted whether the mould will be well filled, whether the component will lose its shape or where the trapped air will form. The component, tool and processing parameters can then be adjusted so that unwanted effects are minimised or prevented.

Software and models CAE

  • Non-linear FEM/structural mechanics: Abaqus Standard and Abaqus Explicit
  • Endurance analysis: Femfat
  • FEM for microsystem technology: Ansys Multiphysics
  • FEM for electrodynamics: Ansys Maxwell
  • CFD/flow mechanics: Ansys CFX and StarCCM+
  • CFD/electronic cooling: FloTherm
  • Injection moulding simulation: Moldex3D, Moldex eDesign
  • Die-cast simulation: Flow3D

System simulation

How fast can an object be moved from A to B using pneumatic or electrical drive technology? Which Festo components are suitable for this and which settings are necessary for this purpose? What cycle times can be achieved?

These questions can be answered with the help of the simulation of dynamic behaviour for linear and rotary drive systems as well as for mechanisms and handling systems.

In this respect, all kinematic and dynamic variables are calculated, such as positions, speeds, accelerations, pressures, forces, torques and flow rates or currents. For this purpose, Festo uses simulation software developed in-house, which contains verified models of all relevant Festo catalogue products.

By combining this with commercial multi-body simulation box software, mechanisms and handling systems can also be designed.

Besides the sizing of customer-specific applications, these tools are also used to carry out dynamic analyses for the initial or further development of Festo products and thus to help the product developers and engineers in their work.

System simulation software and models

  • MKS/multi-body dynamics: MSC Adams
  • Pneumatic mechanical and electromechanical drive systems: CACOS (Festo's own development)
  • Simulation of technically physical systems and controller development: Matlab/Simulink