Reduce risks related to supply chain shortages using simulation. Model your original design, analyse performance & make more informed business decisions.

What Types of projects can be affected by Supply chain issues where simulation can help

If your product is at the prototyping stage of development Supply chain delays may be causing significant delays to the refinement of your product. Having to wait for components only to discover that they are not suitable for your product can be extremely frustrating and costly.  Simulation with Xi can be a powerful tool to accelerate your prototyping. By working with Xi, you can quickly and efficiently determine which materials and components are suitable for the next iteration of your product.  Simulation can also offer insight into the potential performance and output of your product.


Due to Global Supply chain issues, manufactures are increasingly needing to consider substituting components in order to meet timelines and demand. Factories are offering alternative materials to their clients to help speed up the inevitable delays caused by these shortages.  While in some instances this can lead to cost reduction or more environmentally friendly and local solutions, it also introduces uncertainties following the final design sign-off for mass manufacture. Leaders are needing to make quick, significant decisions weighing up the risk of uncertainty introduced by new materials versus delays to market if waiting for the originally specified component.  Xi, by using simulation, can provide robust scientifically based, risk-reducing, decision-making tools for businesses to assess the suitability of alternative materials and components.

How are Supply Chain issues affecting businesses?

Companies are now having to decide whether the delays caused by waiting for components to become available are worth waiting for in order to ensure consistent quality in their products.  This can cause customer flight and cash flow pinches. Having to now assess alternative options may cause:

  • An increase in cost price (and therefore whether that needs to be passed on to the client)
  • A decrease or uncertainty in quality,
  • Compatibility and performance of alternative components create a riskier product life cycle.

, they inevitably increase risks by introducing new unknowns into your production process. Simulation can help you overcome delays and reduce risks associated with making changes late in the product lifecycle.

Material Availability

Increasingly, manufacturers are needing to consider alternative materials for their products due to limited availability. To meet these materials challenges, suppliers have started to develop and offer alternative materials. This is helping to redress some of the delays to manufacture, though it can raise other areas of concern for your product.  Often the alternative material and its properties were not part of the design process and so though, while usually passing client manufacturing tolerances; uncertainty with regard to performance, lifetime and fatigue can be introduced. By using Xi’s simulation services, you can quickly assess the suitability of alternative materials.  See how our client Greenspur has taken a novel approach to use more readily available materials to overcome some of these challenges.

What challenges can be overcome by simulation

Supply chain issues are adding risks late in the product lifecycle.  Here, lets take a look at how these supply chain challenges could affect your product:

Uncertainty in performance

When assessing alternative materials or components to replace parts held up by supply chain issues, a new performance risk can be introduced. Decision makers may need to depend solely on the specification sheets of new suppliers, as, in order to benefit from either reduced delivery times or reduced costs, there isn’t enough time in the production schedule to physically test the performance of the new part. While, of course, the new part will follow the design tolerances of your product, the true lifetime, operational performance, and quality of the new part may not have the time to be assessed.  Investigating these elements by working with Xi’s simulation team can de-risk your purchase by providing more evidence into the suitability of the alternative part.

Uncertainty in lifetime

While alternative materials and components may well fall within the design tolerances originally specified for your product, the long-term performance may be undetermined.  By working with Xi and using simulation, you can gain more insight into how these late in the design cycle changes could affect to lifetime of your product, gains and losses could then be incorporated into future plans for your product, including changes to maintenance windows, adjustments to warranties, and updates to contingency and mitigation planning.

Delays in Time to market

There is a balance to be struck between accelerating timelines with alternative components and increases in uncertainties brought on by the introduction of new and untested parts.  As decision-makers, the more informed you can be as to whether introducing a late product life cycle change, the better.  Xi can help you to feel more secure in answering the question:  “Should we opt for an alternative component that will cut our delivery times in half but reduce the lifetime of the product by a certain percentage? “ versus sticking to the original component and spending the opportunity cost of informing clients of new timelines.

Cost increase/reduction

These supply chain issues can have significant affects on costs.  An increase in cost for accelerated delivery, or price increases from your suppliers.  Cost may be a key consideration in looking at alternative materials and components.  Simulation can provide significant insight into whether alternative parts can reduce costs without significantly compromising the quality, performance and lifetime of your product.  This can be a particularly useful tool for when factories are able to offer discounts with readily available materials and cost reductions may be able to be offered as part of the manufacturing process.

Uncertainty in Technical Considerations

Changes late in the manufacturing or prototyping process can raise critical questions for the technical design team as outlined below:

Device performance – does it still do what its designed for and is there any loss in performance?

Has risk of failure under the design loads changed?

Has the risk of fatigue failure increased?

Has the new component introduced thermal issues?

Tolerances – Dynamic behaviour and changes to tolerance may introduce the risk of component collision or changes within standards and safety

Xi is able to de-risk your product by helping you to determine how changes in material properties may affect your product.  By using a Multiphysics’s approach, Xi can give you insight into the (Electromagnetics/Electrostatics, Structural Dynamics, Acoustics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Microfluidics, Optimisation, Batteries, Thermodynamics, MEMS) behaviour of the alternative material, how it might improve or reduce the design life of your product, and whether the commercial gains from using an alternative material measure up against the original design and materials.

How Xi offers exceptional decision-making tools for excellent value
Software used

Xi has been using advanced Multiphysics computer simulation since its inception. Using COMSOL we have continued pushing the boundaries of what is possible through simulation. Xi works closely with COMSOL and is one of only five certified COMSOL consultants in the UK and one of less than eighty worldwide. Further to this, Xi uses many different simulation packages such as SimScale, MATLAB, noisemap and others.

Engaging with Xi

The Xi team can offer bespoke work packages to help our clients manage costs and keep to tight timelines.  Click here to find out about the different ways Xi co-creates projects with our clients to offer cost-effective technical value.

Your One Stop Shop for Simulation Expertise

Xi is well placed to help you ease your supply chain issues through our deep understanding of the technological and commercial factors that need to be taken into consideration when making late in product lifecycle changes. We have helped clients with their manufacturing due diligence and third part design verification prior to manufacturer or investment. We have accelerated our client’s product lifecycles while providing confidence to decision makers about both design and manufacturing changes.  As we have worked across many industries, our nimble approach works with your subject matter experts, who combined with our strong mathematical and physics-based approach can provide engineering assurance at key commercial and technical decision points. Talk to one of our team members to find out how we can work together.