Reducing Analysis Cycle Time from 8 Weeks to 24 Hours

Challenges, such as rapidly condensing design cycles, increasing product complexity and lower profit margins are driving the product development of electronic mobile devices. In order to design new products in less than 10 months, which is the goal at Motorola, the traditional “build and test” approach has been widely replaced by a simulation led approach. Reduction in simulation cycle time is therefore critical to shorten time to market. Finite-element model creation, analysis and results interpretation took more than two months in 2000. Motorola needed a new development process to help shorten its new product design time.

Cell phone models typically consist of hundreds of components in a very small space. If CAD or finite-element modeling is not accurate, undesirable physical interferences between parts can occur. Using the traditional process, an analyst needed up to three days to manually find and correct the interferences in the virtual model. By working closely with Altair ProductDesign, Motorola’s engineers created an automated process template to find and correct these issues. The jointly developed “interference matrix” automatically shows modeling errors in a graphical format, allowing Motorola's analysts to quickly identify and resolve any design issues.

Altair ProductDesign and Motorola engineers then created an automatic reporting system for their drop simulation results. The automation creates graphical, top-level overviews about potential failures from high-impact forces for every part of the cell phone. As a result, analysts and designers can quickly review the structural integrity and eliminate the risk of “missed results” that result from the complexity of the simulation models.

The overall analysis cycle time was successfully reduced from eight weeks to just 24 hours with up to 90 percent time reduction achieved for model interference checking. In addition, simulation results could be easily interpreted through automated report generation, reducing the workload for Motorola's engineering team.

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