PTC Creo Simulate gives design engineers early insight into product behavior to significantly improve product quality, decrease rework, and save money with fewer iterations in the design process.

Virnig Manufacturing needed to maintain a high level of quality in their skid steer loader attachments and was looking to increase operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Darin Virnig and his team use PTC Creo Simulate to reduce costs, decrease weight, and eliminate reliance on physical prototypes – ultimately reducing design time by twenty-five percent.

Check out how Virnig Manufacturing uses PTC Creo Simulate to change the way they innovate in early design stages.

Business Initiatives

When it comes to skid steer attachments, it doesn’t get better than Virnig. Located in the heart of Central Minnesota, Virnig Manufacturing has been designing and producing skid steer loader attachments for over 27 years.

However massive they may seem now, Virnig wasn’t always the manufacturer we know today. When Dean and Lois Virnig got their start in 1989, the business operated out of a two-stall garage repairing farm and construction equipment. After five short years, the company discovered its niche – creating skid loader attachments.

Today, all steps of the manufacturing process are completed in-house. From engineering and cutting raw materials, to machining, welding, and painting the finished product, every attachment is designed and produced at Virnig’s facility.

Virnig now carries over 40,000 attachment parts and offers more than 80 unique skid loader attachments. Headquartered in Rice, MN, Virnig’s 67 employees have over 400 years of combined industry experience. The family owned and operated business has grown into a premium skid steer attachment manufacturer supplying North America and beyond.

Business Challenges

Virnig has been challenged more than ever to produce high quality, lightweight attachments in order to outperform the competition.

Darin Virnig, Manager of Production and Engineering explained, “We try as a company to get repeat business and to demonstrate to our customers that we have a solution for their problems. As our products continued to get more complex, they became heavy and overbuilt compared to our competitors. We knew we needed to lighten the machinery parts to reduce cost. As a company, we had to look to practices that gave us confidence in our processes before jumping into prototyping.”

Darin knew his team needed to maintain a high level of quality and also saw an opportunity to increase operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. To deliver on this goal, Virnig needed to provide employees across the organization with an in-depth view of how designs performed in real-world conditions.

This understanding would help Virnig reduce or eliminate product related issues in the field, lighten machinery parts, and reduce costly prototyping. By virtually testing real-world conditions, Virnig could maintain high-quality standards while optimizing and adjusting to their product lines.

Solutions – PTC Creo Simulate

Eager to reduce costs, decrease weight, and eliminate reliance on physical prototypes, Darin and his team turned to a PTC product called Creo Simulate. Because the engineers had used PTC Creo (formerly known as Pro/ENGINEER) as their primary CAD tool for several years, they felt it was only logical to turn to PTC’s Creo Simulate.

Creo Simulate is designed to provide users with accurate design simulation capabilities right within their CAD platform. By using the software’s simulation tools to create virtual prototypes, users are able to visualize and test a product’s structural performance before cutting any steel. This saves Virnig’s engineers time, energy, and money as they are designing new products.

Prior to implementing simulation software, Virnig tested product designs using trial and error or the build-and-break method. As products became more complex, the team realized the importance of accurate structural analysis. Virnig’s engineers found PTC’s integrated simulation tool easy to design, analyze and optimize the attachment lines.

Improving engineering design standards with early simulation

Virnig used Creo Simulate to innovate their most popular product, the Pick-up Broom. Traditionally the product consisted of a top with hydraulically driven bristles engineered to propel dirt into the bucket located on the bottom. With the Pick-up Broom, in particular, Virnig faced challenges as they attempted to lighten the machinery parts. To effectively analyze the deflection and strength of the product components, Virnig needed to test several design variations.

Using Creo Simulate, the team was able to virtually test multiple product designs in real-world conditions. At the touch of a finger, Virnig identified overbuilt areas on the Pick-up Broom. Their findings directly translated into lowered manufacturing costs, and lighter weight products that adhered to quality and manufacturing standards.

With the help of Creo Simulate, Virnig was able to reduce the Pick-up Broom cost by 5% without compromising quality. Creo Simulate also allowed Virnig to save 10% on labor and assembly time throughout the product development process by eliminating most of the expensive and time-consuming prototype manufacturing.

Darin explained, “We were able to resolve the problems we had with field issues as we got more comfortable with the software. We saw it replicate places that had problems showing us the high-stress areas and factors.”

Virnig Pick-Up Broom | PTC Creo Simulate
Virnig Manufacturing Pick-up Broom Attachment pictured above.

The benefits didn’t just stop there. This PTC simulation software allowed Virnig to use analysis early and often to verify and optimize the attachment product’s design integrity, function, performance, and cost. On average the company saved 25% on design time.

Darin stated, “We were able to finish the product faster, especially the structural parts that we manufacture by cutting and molding. Simulate on average has provided us a time savings of at least 25% because we don’t have to do as much trial and error on testing and prototyping.” Today, Virnig saves an average of 5 hours on every product they manufacture.

Darin explains what he considers the real value of Creo Simulate, “We have saved material, labor, and product while being confident that our quality hasn’t been compromised. Creo Simulate is saving us money and putting us at a competitive advantage – there is no doubt about that.”

By integrating the latest product development technologies and using top-of-the-line materials, Virnig continues to be a leader in the skid steer attachment industry.

EAC’s been in the engineering and design technology world for a long time. Over the years we’ve carefully cultivated our product portfolio to meet the ever-changing needs of people and companies that design, manufacture, and service products. Our partnerships with PTC and ANSYS allow us to offer a few different design simulation and analysis solutions to our customers.
Design simulation, Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and many other terms all fall into the “simulation and analysis” bucket. These tools help engineers and designers create virtual prototypes of their products. This helps groups rapidly prove, or disprove, design ideas in a digital space – reducing the time and money spent on physical prototypes, and increasing confidence in designs.

“If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all” does not apply to simulation software. Different tools offer different benefits, accuracy, speed, and ease-of-use. Here’s a quick overview of some of the tools we offer. Contact our sales group to learn more about pricing, full capabilities, and packaging.

Option 1) PTC Creo Simulate

Simulate is a fantastic tool that’s fully integrated into PTC Creo Parametric CAD software. It offers fantastic meshing capabilities and accurate simulation results directly within a user’s familiar CAD software interface. All you need to do select the PTC Creo Simulate tab and you’re off and running. This is great for designers and engineers looking to test the stresses and loads under which a product will operate in ‘real world’ conditions. Based on your simulation and analysis results, you can either fix design flaws or forestall them. If you’re already using PTC Creo you should explore PTC Creo Simulate. Because, why would you ever manufacture a product without testing and analyzing it first? Creo Simulate comes in two flavors – Simulate and Advanced Simulate. They come with two different price points. One or the other might be the best option for your company. It really comes down to whether you need to simulate materials with linear or non-linear properties.

Option 2) ANSYS Discovery Live

ANSYS Discovery Live blows my mind. This tool was released in late 2017 and delivers functionality never seen before. Discovery Live uses ANSYS Discovery SpaceClaim to pull in IGES, STEP, and CAD models. Then the interface guides users through applying materials and some constraints – and Boom! It runs the simulation…in real-time…right in front of you. I’m talking about the ability to run wind-tunnel testing in real-time! Discovery Live is different from PTC Creo Simulate and most other simulation tools. It uses the Graphics Card (GPU) to run the simulation. This means it doesn’t occupy your core processor and RAM to while solving. You get better computer performance and instantaneous results for structural, thermal, fluid flow, wind tunnel, structural/fluid interaction, and more. Discovery Live is a great tool for engineers and designers that want to test a lot of design options quickly. The price is incredibly reasonable for a tool this powerful. You can see pricing and compare Discovery Live to AIM here.

Option 3) ANSYS Discovery AIM

Sometimes simulating real-world conditions requires more features and control than tools like PTC Creo Simulate, Solidworks Simulation, or Discovery Live might offer. ANSYS Discovery AIM is a great option when that’s the case. ANSYS Discovery AIM is a “multi-physics” simulation tool. What does that mean? Multi-Physics or Multiphysics refers to the ability to combine properties and solvers to simulate product usage. “Physics” in the simulation world refers to the kinds of simulation you are running – e.g. electromagnetic, thermal, structural, radio frequency, fluid flow, etc. AIM is a workflow driven multi-physics tool. It guides users through the steps necessary to complete a successful simulation. This is the perfect option when companies want a robust solution, but may not have experienced analysts on staff. Much like how PTC Creo Simulate maintains a familiar interface to make simulations easier; AIM uses guided workflows to make detailed upfront simulation accessible to engineers and designers.

Option 4) Dedicated ANSYS analysis software

When product simulation and analysis goes to the next level you need the ANSYS flagship products. These are sometimes known as the ANSYS Workbench products. Unlike PTC Creo Simulate or the Discovery software, each of these tools focus on one area of simulation…and deliver results you can take to the bank (or the regulatory agency). They are more complicated and come with a higher price point, but the results are unmatched. ANSYS’ comprehensive software suite spans the entire range of physics, providing access to virtually any field of engineering simulation that a design process requires. Organizations around the world trust ANSYS to deliver the best value for their engineering simulation software investment. If you need to test a specific physic – fluids, structures, electronics, semiconductors, or embedded software – this is the option for you. Contact us to learn more about a specific solution’s pricing and functionality. Also, if you’re a start-up make sure you ask us about special offers available through the start-up/entrepreneur program.

So there you have it. My layman’s take on a variety of simulation options. I hope you found this helpful. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to see a demonstration of any of these tools.