Caterpillar has an extensive history of using simulation to support the development of outstanding products, and traditionally the use of these simulation tools has been the domain of the CAE expert. However, as the pace of product development has quickened and Caterpillar products have become more complex, it has become necessary to shift this paradigm – simulation tool usage has expanded to include more and more design engineers. Providing design engineers with simulation tools allows for fast design iterations in the early concept phase. This, in turn, enables better, more optimized designs to move forward into the product development process. Additionally, easy-to-use simulation tools enable transfer of engineering knowledge to non-technical teams in other functional areas. At Caterpillar, as well as across the broader industry, spreadsheet tools are used extensively by design engineers and CAE experts alike. A recent NAFEMS paper indicates that this usage is growing, and that the engineering capability embedded within spreadsheets is becoming more powerful as well. This is likely to drive further proliferation. Spreadsheet tools are easy-to-use, accessible, and relatively inexpensive, but they have several areas of weakness including version control, IP control, and access control. Caterpillar has addressed all these issues by using a modern deployment platform for spreadsheet tools. Many of Caterpillar’s important and widely used engineering spreadsheets have now been converted to web apps via this deployment platform. This presentation will describe that journey and the benefits that are being derived as a result.
|16th May 2023