Virtual prototyping, often known as VP, is a software-based engineering discipline which involves modelling a system, simulating and visualising its behaviour under real-world operating conditions, and refining its design through an iterative process.
VP is increasingly used as a substitute for rapid prototyping. VP does not produce a physical object for testing and evaluation but, as its name suggests, carries out these tasks within a computer.
Industries using VP include automotive, yellow goods, shipbuilding, aerospace, oil & gas, transport and defence.
VP allows engineering teams to build and test virtual prototypes and realistically simulate them on their computers, both visually and mathematically. The full-motion behaviour of complex mechanical systems can be analysed before building an actual hardware prototype. Users can quickly explore multiple design variations, testing and refining until system performance is optimised. This can help reduce the time and cost of new product development, whilst significantly improving the quality of overall system designs.
VP technology works towards the CAE (computer aided engineering) goals of minimising time and cost, and maximising quality and efficiency. The technology doesn't require hardware to physically make a prototype, as in rapid prototyping, and consequently involves less cost.
VP can be used to test anything from component parts to entire machines - without building relatively expensive physical prototypes.
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Companies selling in VP technology include:
MSC Software Corp
Centric Software Inc