Grid technologie for cooperative developement using the example of simulation and product data management

In order to structure product development efficiently, it is necessary to use highly capable computing and communication technology in addition to ensuring that knowledge, information and data is provided quickly and transparently.  In the joint project ProGRID, methods and tools are being developed that will allow grid technology to be used for cooperative product development in the use case of virtual validation. Additionally, it demonstrates the benefits in the selected example application scenarios. Virtual validation involves checking whether all requirements of a product are fulfilled by the solution developed.

Using the grid technology opens up strong potential for enhancing product development efficiency. The joint project ProGRID will make it possible to use grid technology to carry out more frequent, more realistic simulations in order to improve forecasts of effects. Thus, the effects of changes made to the product model can be predicted more accurately in the early stages of product development than was previously possible. Typical user groups in this area are ‘virtual enterprises’, consisting of manufacturers, suppliers and providers of engineering services that develop new products on a joint basis. ProGRID is based on existing grid middleware and security concepts. It adopts these from ongoing D-Grid infrastructure projects.

Three application scenarios have been envisaged for the area of virtual validation and structural optimisation. The first scenario involves improving the process for the optimisation of components in the grid environment. One of the focal points here is the development of a remote visualisation of ongoing calculations. This should allow the CAD engineer to be able to view and check ongoing calculations. In contrast, classical grid scenarios do not allow any interaction before a job has been completed. In two additional application scenarios, computationally intensive fluid mechanics optimisations and multi-disciplinary, structural optimisation of product models will be carried out.

A platform is being developed for the purpose of cross-company cooperation. It improves communication between manufacturers, variant developers, suppliers and providers of engineering services by guaranteeing the universal, consistent availability of product and process-relevant data for all development phases (design, construction, simulation) and all personnel involved. A key function of the cooperation platform is the management of simulation data. It uses a uniform data model to link product data management (PDM) with CAE in order to safeguard the consistency of the data from the development phase through to virtual validation. It also gives users uniform, transparent access to simulation projects, models and results. The cooperation platform makes it possible to use grid services for virtual validation.

At present, the initial prototypes of the components to be developed within the project are available. The data required for the virtual validation process can be compiled using simulation data management and the calculation job can be started (see diagram). The other components transfer the calculation job to the D-Grid resources where it can be executed or controlled interactively. Afterwards the results data is then rewritten to the SDM system automatically (see figure).