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Modelon Impact: Lowering Barriers and Bridging Gaps

Johan Windahl August 11, 2020

A new age of engineering is upon us, where research and testing happen simultaneously. The engineering of future physical systems is especially complex, demanding advanced modeling capabilities. Until now, gaps in the physical modeling toolchain and high barriers to entry have prevented far too many organizations from fully enjoying the benefits of simulation.


For example, teams working within a single organization, on a single project, typically must improvise different toolchains (either by preference, or because they have no other options). Most members of an organization—those without an engineering background—cannot directly access the simulation or contribute at all. This inherently stifles collaboration, hinders innovation, and excludes many individuals and organizations from harnessing the power of simulation and system engineering.

Barriers Hide Costs

When everyone is working in a silo, it is almost certain that changes in one sub-system will create new problems elsewhere. Even when teams do not directly get in each other’s way, parallel development of adjacent systems might easily continue along incompatible paths. Without a comprehensive system-level model, no one can grasp the problem until a great deal of time has been invested in an unworkable solution. Then further resources must be wasted, patching together hurried last-minute fixes.

To prevent these worst-case scenarios, time is regularly lost to busy-work: multiple departments all individually must make sure they are looking at the same version of the same model, that their software and libraries are up-to-date, that their licenses are current. This is time wasted on tasks that bring no one any closer to finding better solutions to challenging engineering problems.

But the most troubling cost is also an invisible cost: All of the people who could benefit from access to physical modeling, but are locked out because they are not simulation engineers. We often talk ‘democratization,’ but is it truly democratic to offer one more tool that is only accessible to a highly trained modeling engineer?

Bridging the Gaps with Modelon Impact

In 2017 we looked at these inequities, and realized we needed to close the gaps. We brought together the greatest team of modeling and simulation experts in any single organization, and began working on what would become Modelon Impact.

Modelon Impact is an open, cloud-ready, collaboration-friendly multi-domain modeling platform. It is built on the open standards of Modelica, and unified under a single user interface that teams can use across an entire organization.

Every effort has been taken to keep the barrier to entry as low as possible: users can access models through a visual “drag-and-drop” interface that allows for intuitive insights into the underlying system behavior. Because the models are equation-based and object-oriented, the same model can be used for multiple analysis—dynamic and steady-state simulation, optimization, and so on—without the tedious work of new model implementation.

Working in Modelon Impact, teams can immediately draw on the full suite of Modelon Libraries without worrying about updates and licensing. Every department across an entire organization can collaborate and co-develop from the start, implicitly relying on the same “single-source of truth,” and thus reducing miscommunication, last-minute-fixes, and busy work.

Most importantly, Modelon Impact supports the development of custom web apps, accessible to anyone, regardless of training and experience. Consultants and sales teams in the field, or even clients, will be able to access complex multi-systems simulations as easily as they punch numbers into a calculator or spreadsheet.

What the world needed was an integrated multi-domain physical modeling tool, one which offers an accessible modern user experience. We are proud to offer it! This is simply the beginning—we’re just getting started.

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