Brother Industries, Ltd., founded in 1908, began with sewing machine repairs and has now grown into a global business that extends to more than 40 countries and regions around the world including Europe, the United States, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. While various industries were affected by COVID-19, sales of printer multifunction devices for SOHO and household sewing machines have stayed consistent. In order to continue to grow in the highly-competitive global market, the company is working to increase growth and improve cost competitiveness. To do so, Brother Industries is moving its internal IT infrastructure to the cloud.
To begin this transition, Brother’s IT business promotion group introduced Rescale, the leader in high performance computing (HPC) built for the cloud to accelerate engineering innovation, to their printer development team. The simulation environment that requires computational resources, such as impact analysis, has been moved to the cloud to increase design mobility. ISID, a Rescale system integrator, worked hard to build an automated solution for analysis and a hybrid environment with existing in-house systems. Masahito Nakagiri, the supervisor of the IT business promotion group who directed the introduction, said, “The existence of ISID is a big factor in the smooth progress of this project. I can rest assured that I have a track record in infrastructure construction, cloud deployment, and CAE. I would like you to continue to propose new technologies that enhance development capabilities.”
On-premises or Cloud
“When weighing the benefits of either using budget to replace internal servers or moving to a cost-effective cloud environment with high processing speeds, the decision was clear,” said Nakagiri.
The in-house server is a calculation server installed in the in-house developed analysis automation system “ATLAS”, and the design engineer of the company’s printer development team used it to perform strength analysis.
However, in 2019, the maintenance contract for the hardware built into ATLAS expired, and the IT Business Promotion Group was forced to choose how to renew it.
At the same time, Brother Industries was building a business management infrastructure with the goal of increasing growth and improving cost competitiveness. With the IT infrastructure becoming cloud-based, the manufacturing department also began moving in that direction.
“The cloud also has the advantage of business continuity in the event of a disaster, and if security can be ensured, these are compelling motivations to adopt it,” said Nakagiri.
Build a Hybrid Environment
Some of the analysis tools built into ATLAS, such as LS-DYNA for shock and thermo-fluid analysis, require parallelization of high-spec CPUs, and their high IT investment has put pressure on the budget.
“It’s much more efficient to leverage a pay-as-you-go cloud service rather than to spend large portions of budget on maintaining tools that are only used during peak development times,” said Naoki Oomori, who is in charge of maintenance and operation support for ATLAS at Abeam Systems Co., Ltd., which is responsible for the IT subsidiary for Brother Industries.
To do so, it was necessary to seamlessly incorporate cloud CAE into the in-house system with the same usability as before. Building this type of hybrid environment was not an easy task and the support of a trusted partner was essential.
Brother selected ISID, a long-standing technology partner to Brother IT department, to determine the best CAE/HPC solution for their needs.
“ISID’s work has a good reputation, and when we signed a contract with Rescale, they started supporting the introduction of the platform, so it was a perfect timing,” said Nakagiri.
“It’s much more efficient to use a pay-as-you-go cloud service than to spend your budget on rarely used tools.” – Naoki Omori, Senior Specialist, Abeam Systems Co., Ltd.
Ready-to-use Cloud CAE
Rescale performs computer simulations such as collision and fluid analysis that require large amounts of machine resources on an HPC environment. With over 1000 commercial and open source applications, Rescale makes it easy to combine the best applications and hardware for your needs.
“In addition to the hybrid and user-friendly environment of ATLAS,analysis work can also be performed quickly and easily on Rescale in a browser, including hardware and software selection and pre- and post-processing analysis in just a few clicks,” said Omori. “You can run it within a browser, so you can use the latest computing resources whenever and wherever you need it, even under telework.”
“It’s a completely pay-as-you-go system with no base charge. Security is reliable and is used by U.S. government agencies. The process is as simple as uploading the job file, entering the necessary information, and clicking a button. It’s not a hassle and is welcomed by engineers, ” said Saki Asano of Abeam Systems.
“The engineers are thankful because the operation is simple and hassle-free.”- Abeam Systems Co., Ltd. Saki Asano
Give Engineers Their Job Back
The construction of the ATLAS and Rescale hybrid environment, which started in September 2019, was completed in December, and went into full operation in March of the following year.
Regarding Rescale, Nakagiri said, “The number of analysis jobs performed by the development team is steadily increasing, and it is generally favorable.”
“In printer development, there are parts with complicated structures such as combinations of resin and metal, and it takes time to analyze the strength of such parts on a normal machine. However, with Rescale, the analysis results can be obtained in a timely manner, which naturally speeds up the design.”
Nakagiri continued, “Engineers also have a lot of incidental work other than design. Moreover, the development period is getting shorter year by year. Therefore, I would like to reduce the extra burden as much as possible and concentrate on the design work. The purpose of introducing Rescale was to reduce the waiting time for calculation and create an environment where they can concentrate on their original work.”
“The existence of ISID was a big factor in the smooth progression of this project. Since they have a track record in infrastructure construction, cloud deployment, and CAE, they were able to respond quickly to questions and there were no major problems.”
“ISID has a proven track record in infrastructure construction, cloud deployment, and CAE, so you can rest assured.” – Mr. Masahito Nakagiri, IT Business Promotion Group, IT Strategy Promotion Department, Brother Industries, Ltd.