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Simulation Best Practice & State of the Art

SimBest: Simulation Best Practice and State of the Art

Innovate UK funded this project to gather and disseminate best practice in the use of simulation and modelling tools for engineering design. The objective of the SimBest project, carried out in conjunction with NAFEMS, GE Power (previously Alstom Power) and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), was to facilitate both new and experienced simulation users in their continual quest to achieve more efficiency savings and competitive advantages in their design and manufacturing activities.


The project had two separate focus areas:

  • Industrial Best Practice (BP) – coordinated by NAFEMS
  • Academic State of the Art (SoA) – coordinated by the KTN

from which the project tried to discover:

  • BP areas where new users can learn from experienced ones,
  • Potential learning areas across the sectors,
  • and, from academic-industrial gap analysis, areas requiring further development in order to maintain the continual progress of experienced users.

The project had a very wide application but the scope was reduced to examine the following sectors:

  • energy,
  • automotive,
  • built environment (geotechnics, building physics, analysis for large/complex projects),
  • health (implants and orthopaedics, consumer products interacting with the body),
  • aerospace,
  • process (oil & gas, petrochemicals, food & drink, pharmaceutical/healthcare),
  • electronics.

And would only focus on a few technical topics such as

  • material technologies
  • coupled/multi-phase simulations,
  • multi-scale modelling,
  • optimization (automatic),

including important issues such as

  • High Performance Computing (HPC),
  • Verification and Validation (V&V),
  • Uncertainty Quantification (UQ),
  • Simulation Process and Data Management (SPDM).

The Best Practice evaluation involved personally interviewing 79 companies considered to be good simulation users. This appears to be a first survey using this approach since most evaluations of this type are done either by a small expert group or a distributed questionnaire. NAFEMS worked with expert consultants for each of the energy, automotive, built environment, health, aerospace, process and electronics sectors by evaluating how companies use simulation and how they maximise the benefits gained from the use of these software tools.

Information for the parallel State of the Art review was obtained via workshops organised by EPSRC–InnovateUK (Birmingham, 16 July 2015) and TGM (Cambridge, 01-04 December 2015) were some 97 inputs were obtained, augmented by a number of interviews carried out with academia.

The project results were presented to 130 industrial and academic attendees at the SimBest Event held in Manchester on 25 February 2016 where attendees had the opportunity of discussing the findings during breakout sessions. Presentations have also been made at the NAFEMS France, Germany, Nordic and UK regional conferences.

The project results are included in various deliverables:

  • various presentations and reports on Best Practice,State of the Art gap analysis, etc. that can be found in the accompanying project webpage,

  • a “Why do engineering simulation?” training course for managers and engineers to encourage the use of simulation (please contact us if you are interested)

  • conference presentations have also been made at the NAFEMS France, Germany, Nordic and UK regional conferences.The project has generated much interest and therefore these presentations continue. We will be happy to present at any meeting or conference, please contact us.

  • an article in the NAFEMS Benchmark magazine July 2016,

  • a SimBest book providing complete project details (to be publicised by NAFEMS),

  • the on-line sample Questionnaire enabling companies to benchmark themselves by comparing their answers with the sector and overall SimBest findings. Companies that are interested can request a full benchmark interview.

Project website:

Contact: Dr. Gino Duffett,



Project Partners