Record numbers attend modeFRONTIER Users Meeting 2014

May 20, 2014 (Trieste, Italy). Users Meeting 2014 (UM14), the two-day conference dedicated to modeFRONTIER, celebrated the 15th anniversary of the foundation of ESTECO with 221 participants, 48 speakers, and seven industry and methodology sessions plus keynote speeches, technology channel-partner exhibits, and thematic roundtables. UM14 also saw the official launch of the ESTECO illy Design Competition for students.

ESTECO offers numerical optimization solutions, specializing in the research and development of engineering software for all stages of the simulation-driven design process. The company employs 40 professionals and serves more than 250 international clients including BMW, Daimler, Ferrari, FIAT, Ford Motor, Honda, Mazda, and Toyota. The company’s key product, modeFRONTIER, is a multidisciplinary and multiobjective optimization platform capable of streamlining the engineering process through innovative algorithms and integration with leading simulation software.

Carlo Poloni, president of ESTECO, kicked off the first day of the International modeFRONTIER UM14 by hinting at the multifaceted scenarios characterizing the design and simulation technology industry today: complexity is stratified and embedded in the majority of products and services that all of us are in contact with daily. Turning such complexity into an advantage is the challenge of every big player aiming to excel in the innovation race.

The UM14 agenda saw the contribution of many important players at the forefront of research: A speaker from Fujitsu Labs demonstrated how modeFRONTIER is indispensable in his team’s mission to ensure high product reliability by “visualizing of un-visualized data” when performing physical and chemical analysis of hardware.

Kazuma Goto illustrated Arup’s design process as a holistic approach that “draws upon our multidisciplinary skills from planning and architecture to building design incorporating structural, civil, MEP engineering, and other specialist skills.” The example of the Taiwan Tower project illustrated how parametric modeling and optimization are crucial to filling the gap between designers expressing their creativity in architectural shapes and time, regulation, and budget constraints faced by manufacturers.

Reliability and energy efficiency are, on the other hand, the drivers of ABB’s product development strategy. Daniel Wäppling, global research manager at ABB, explained that optimization-based development will become increasingly important in the industrial automation industry in order to meet these targets.

The Automotive Roundtable provided an overview of the nature of complexity both at vehicle development level and organizational process level: Mikael Törmänen (Volvo Car Corporation), Tayeb Zeguer (Jaguar Land Rover), and Yan Fu (Ford) brought their experience of using optimization to manage articulated workflows and hit significant cost and time savings.

Technical best practices and remarkable results linked to these macro topics were further analyzed during the industry and methodology sessions that ranged from automotive to aerospace, energy, electronics, mechatronics, architecture and civil engineering, logistics, and biotechnology.

Whirlpool orchestrating system modeling, Bombardier enhancing the aerodynamics of the fastest train in Europe for Trenitalia, Atkins optimizing the cost of flooding, and Nidec enhancing an induction motor are just a few examples of the variety of applications and domains where ESTECO technology has become a strategic asset.

Fostering this role is precisely the vision driving the growth of ESTECO’s product portfolio: The CTO and product managers presented modeFRONTIER, SOMO, and mF4LV new releases and features, representing an ever evolving set of solutions that cover the concept, simulation and validation phases of the design process and supporting engineering teams by nurturing a collaborative and modular mindset.

ESTECO not only helps industrial players stay ahead of the competition, but over time, it has brought together a group of modeFRONTIER users from academia, as reflected by the talks of professors and researchers coming from 13 different universities and research centers including MIT, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, DCTA/FUNDEP Brazil, Politecnico di Milano, MTU Friedrichshafen, and the universities of Warwick, Strasbourg, Pisa, and Troyes. While these presentations focused on advanced research projects with considerable impact at an industrial level, the Academic Roundtable at UM14 was dedicated to the role of optimization theory and practice at an educational level.

The icing on the UM14 cake was the official launch of the ESTECO illy Design Competition, which will challenge students of engineering, chemistry, physics, or other scientific disciplines in the search for the most sustainable hot water pressurization system for one of the illycaffè espresso machines.

Once more, thanks to the contribution of the modeFRONTIER community, UM14 offered up a rich collection of best practices in the development of complex products and systems and laid the groundwork for the next generation of engineers to get closer to the design optimization world.

By supporting designers in the quest for the most advantageous tradeoff between model accuracy and risk of misinterpretation, ESTECO shows its commitment to provide a flexible framework for integrating and enhancing all aspects of the simulation process. As Marc Halpern, VP of research at Gartner, cleverly pointed out during one of the keynotes, understanding the different facets of complexity and defining precisely what is to be modeled and how, is critical to effective system design.

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