Nearly a third of thermal engineers compromising on simulation accuracy due to hardware limitations

As the increasing complexity of electronic device design continues to put ever-higher demands on thermal simulation tools, 29 per cent of thermal engineers admit that they are having to compromise the accuracy of their simulations due to hardware limitations. That’s according to The State of Thermal, a survey of over 170 thermal engineers conducted by simulation software vendor 6SigmaET.

Thermal simulation is integral to the design process for electronics devices – and yet a quarter (24 per cent) of thermal engineers also claim that their organisations are unable to keep up with the hardware requirements needed to run accurate, reliable and fast thermal simulations.

A key bottleneck is the process of “solving” – the crucial phase of calculating the equations needed to simulate heat transfer and air flow – as this is highly computationally intensive, often taking days to complete. To combat this challenge, the most advanced thermal simulation packages have in recent years given engineers the ability to solve in the cloud, drastically cutting down on the need for expensive on-premise hardware.

However, even though 36 per cent of respondents believe their organisations would benefit from being able to solve in the cloud, rather than investing in hardware, according to 6SigmaET’s research only two per cent of thermal engineers are taking advantage of cloud solving. Solving on the cloud is significantly cheaper than running hardware in-house as you only pay for the time you are solving

Commenting on these findings, Tom Gregory, product manager, 6SigmaET said: “Cloud computing enables engineers to always have access the latest computer hardware. Allowing engineers to get simulation results faster enabling innovation and reducing time to market.  Given this fact, it’s surprising to see so many engineers still relying on older hardware.

“One of the most common findings from our cross-industry analysis was that engineers can be quite reluctant to trial new technologies or to switch to an alternative solution. 60 per cent of those surveyed had not switched simulation software provider for over three years, while almost half have never used an alternative simulation package.

“While it’s understandable that engineers want to stick to the technologies they know, by failing to adopt more modern alternatives, they are costing their organisations both time and money, potentially resulting in the development of less reliable electronic devices. This is not only bad news for businesses, it’s bad news for end users as well.”

To download a copy of 6SigmaET’s State of Thermal report visit

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