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The Benefits of Optics Simulations when Optimizing Products and Systems

Do not underestimate the importance of a product’s aesthetics in today’s market. Engineers can design the best product in the world, but without the right tools, that design could look completely different from the physical prototype. That is why it’s important to use optical simulations to model the aesthetics of a product before physical prototyping.

A real automotive control panel (left) and its optical simulation (right)

Optical simulations aren’t just about a product’s aesthetics. They can also help engineers design new features, optimize material selections and test product safety. For example, optics simulations can help engineers ensure drivers can see the numbers on a car’s control panel in any lighting conditions.

Engineers can create these versatile optics simulations using ANSYS SPEOS and ANSYS VRXPERIENCE. With these simulations, they can optimize the lighting of anything from a cockpit, command center, computer screen or retail store.

How Optical Simulations Optimize Product Designs

Optical simulation of a watch

One of the most powerful uses of SPEOS and VRXPERIENCE are their live preview abilities. They help engineers visualize a product before physical prototyping.

The optical simulations are governed by physics. As a result, they predict how an object will look within the given lighting conditions. What shows up on the engineer’s computer screen is what you would see if you were really in a room with that product.

Engineers can use these simulations to observe and manipulate an object to see how it looks at different angles. After all, this is what everybody does before buying a product. With VRXPERIENCE, engineers can interactively experiment with lifelike 3D virtual prototypes and ensure the lighting and materials will convey the best emotions to the customer.

Optics simulations can also help engineers create lighting features for their products. For instance, does a cell phone’s back light need to be brighter to overpower the sun’s glare? Or, is there a lighting setup that will help a pilot focus during the night? ANSYS optical solutions make it possible to design and experience these features during a product’s development stages.

Optics simulations can also help engineers optimize the energy footprint of a design. For instance, when designing a building’s energy system, optics simulations can determine:

  • The heat generated from natural and artificial light
  • The artificial lighting needs based on the available natural lighting
  • The optimal positioning of solar cells

ALMECO’s Optics Simulation Success Story

ALMECO can show off its products within a virtual world.

ALMECO is a great example of a company that used SPEOS to improve a design. In this case, the design in question is ALMECO’s aluminum light reflectors.

“Because it is based on the physical laws of optics, you get ultra-realistic renderings of your future product and make early decisions on your product’s material and texture.” says Jacopo Mori, Engineering and New Projects manager at ALMECO Group.

Using SPEOS, ALMECO was able to test its reflectors within a virtual environment. This virtual environment could be used to both optimize and sell its products. In fact, ALMECO’s customers can now explore how the reflectors will affect any given environment.

Julien Duchene, business development manager at ANSYS says, “virtual reality simulations are indispensable tools to get an accurate representation of products. It also helps to design merchandising programs that truly meet the needs of customers. We are thrilled to be able to help ALMECO showcase their products and materials through ultra-realistic simulations and a virtual reality exploration for a real-life rendering.”

For more details about how ALMECO used SPEOS optics simulations to test and promote its products, read: ALMECO Group - Presenting a Smart Virtual Reality Experience for Lighting.