During the past decade there has been a significant growth in industrial applications of engineering analysis and simulation for single and multidisciplinary domains. Capabilities of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software have increased considerably; however, a majority of industry-specific processes require external linking of the COTS with analyses performed by other competitive COTS or by proprietary tools. In addition to the complexity of the processes themselves, analysts and designers need to account for an ever-increasing number of requirements to produce realistic industrial designs that are competitive.
From an enterprise perspective it is often advantageous to utilize COTS as opposed to proprietary process integration and design optimization (PIDO) tools: PIDO tools, by their nature, typically require additional features to be added to the tools, along with additional requirements and sub-processes for using the tools in support of the overall desired processes. Thus, the designers and analysts are required to master the challenges arising from the complexity of these new enhancements and extra processes. This approach can be contrasted with using COTS, which typically result in final processes that are simpler and should be easier to maintain.
The possibility of exploiting COTS tools more extensively in the industrial design processes is real; however, this opportunity must address certain consumer requirements. Of particular significance are the next-generation engineering computing architectures currently being developed by the CAE vendors. It is obvious that the new architectures should be based on the capabilities and robustness of the current advanced COTS, but with new improved enhancements for usability, integration of cross-functional engineering domains, management of the simulation data, across-organization/company collaboration, and with embedded decision-making algorithms through predictive analytics. Such attributes being inherent to the new COTS would provide opportunities for gaining more industrial support and a faster increase in the community of engineers across multiple industries using engineering modeling, analysis and simulation more effectively.