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Keeping a Large Enterprise Engaged in the Journey from "Test Centered" to a "Simulation-Led" Product/Process Development

Keeping a Large Enterprise Engaged in the Journey from "Test Centered" to "Simulation-Led" Product/Process Development


Date: Wednesday, October 6th, 2021
11:00am EDT (New York) / 4:00pm BST




Hosted By:

NAFEMS Americas


Access the recording | Access the slides

For over 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. had delivered successful products to our customers, primarily utilizing test-centric product development processes utilizing physical prototypes.

Although Caterpillar had significant simulation capability and had steadily become more dependent upon it, we had fully not leveraged simulation to the extent possible. As a result, Caterpillar developed its Enterprise Simulation Strategy in 2012 and launched it in 2013. One of the significant goals of this strategy was to transition Caterpillar from a “physical prototype-centered” product validation culture to a “simulation-led” product development culture in order to secure the following benefits: increased engineering efficiency, decreased time to market, expanded understanding of our products, and the ability to fully explore design alternatives.

This presentation will have 5 basic agenda items:

  1. An Overview of Caterpillar Inc.
  2. A Brief Caterpillar Product & Product Development History
  3. A View of Caterpillar’s Industry Leading Simulation Capability
  4. The Launch of Caterpillar’s Enterprise Simulation Strategy and Key Actions Taken
  5. Caterpillar Confidently Using Simulation to Make High-Risk Design Decisions



  • Welcome & Introduction
    Andrew Wood, NAFEMS
  • Keeping a Large Enterprise Engaged in the Journey from "Test Centered" to "Simulation-Led" Product/Process Development
    Darrel Meffert, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Discussion and Q&A


About our speaker

Mr. Darrel Meffert
Enterprise Simulation Strategy Mgr.,
Caterpillar Inc.

Darrel Deffert

Darrel has been employed with Caterpillar for 24 years this month (2021 will be his 9th year leading Caterpillar’s Enterprise Simulation Strategy). He has 15 years developing and leading Project Management offices within the company, and also leads a “center-of-expertise” providing the following simulation services to the Caterpillar product organizations: 1. immersive visualization 2. computational fluid dynamics 3. in-cylinder combustion analysis 4. torsional vibration analysis for drivetrain systems 5. Real-time performance & controls simulation for the interaction of major machine systems and 6. statistical tolerance analysis. He also has 15 years of Physical Testing Expertise: Diesel fuel-injection systems, Diesel engine and aftertreatment system validation, and full machine validation (track type tractors, hydraulic excavators, Motor Graders, Wheel Tractor Scrapers, and Large Wheel Loaders). For 5 years, Darrel was accountable for allocating research funding for the development of new physics-based simulation processes.

Darrel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indiana Institute of Technology, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Eller College of Business, University of Arizona.