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HPC Helping SME Manufacturers Expand Simulation Capabilities


Bill Mannel.jpg

Guest blog written by Bill Mannel, VP & GM – HPC, Big Data & IoT Solutions, HPE Servers

It may surprise you to learn that the vast majority of U.S. manufacturing firms are considered small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are defined as having less than 500 employees. Because SME manufacturers account for such a significant portion of the industry and act as suppliers to larger firms, they are an integral part of both the nation’s industrial supply chain and the overall economy.

The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences estimates that over 95% of the 300,000 manufacturers in the United States are SMEs, with the sector supplying over twice the amount of jobs as their larger counterparts. And, because of their role as suppliers to major corporations, SME manufacturers are believed to drive up to 80% of the industry’s product design.

Despite their importance to the manufacturing value chain, SMEs tend to trail larger manufacturers when it comes to investing in new technologies which increase productivity, improve operations, and reduce costs. This is due in part to smaller management teams, stringent budgets, and greater focus on daily operations rather than planning for future growth.

Using simulation throughout the product development process has proven effects on product quality and performance, time-to-market rates, and operational efficiency. Simulation software helps manufacturers have greater confidence in their advanced analytics and modeling techniques, so they can rely less often on costly physical prototypes and drive down product development costs.

However, many SME manufacturers face significant challenges as they attempt to build the proper computing infrastructure for expanding their simulation capabilities. So often, SMEs struggle to increase scalability to better support simulation workloads, improve time-to-productivity, and extract better data-driven insight for feeding product designs.

SMEs can overcome these obstacles by investing in high performance computing solutions capable of handling the high demands of simulation-driven design. Simulation workloads can be quickly moved from individual workstations to an HPC cluster without heavy personnel involvement – perfect for SMEs that often operate with smaller IT staffs. With HPC, manufacturers can increase engineering productivity and support larger, more complex model sizes while capitalizing on technologies which are simple to deploy, configure, and operate.

As simulations grow increasingly realistic, demands on storage and memory can exceed the capacity of a single workstation or server. Centralizing compute power in the data center can reduce the cost and management involved with multiple high-end workstations, while adding clusters can increase design productivity, significantly reduce wait times, and support larger, more complex model sizes.

A recent IDC opinion piece states that while HPC can accelerate mission-critical innovation and competitiveness for companies of all sizes, the SME community remains inadequately informed about HPC’s benefits or believe it to be out of their price range. The good news is that trusted compute partners are helping to ease the transition to HPC, offering benefits for not only SMEs themselves, but for the economies in which they operate.

The success of SME manufacturers directly affects the overall health of the industry, making it particularly crucial for SMEs to invest in technologies which allow them to operate more efficiently and design products more intelligently. HPC technologies can help make the transition seamless and enable SMEs to realize IT transformation to help them improve product design, get to market faster, and drive business success.

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About the Author


I am a Senior Manager managing external content and social media for HPE Servers Awareness. Stay tuned for topics on Mission Critical Solutions, Core Enterprise and SMB Solutions, Next Gen Workload Solutions, Big Data and HPC, Cloudline and HPS Options! Follow me @RubyD_Nich