In the early phase of your project, you may still be deciding upon alternative design choices of components in your project. For example, you may need to decide between two battery choices based on specific mass, DoD, cost, and cost per kWh.
Valispace allows you to create “Alternatives” to a component to compare how different component options would affect the overall project. You can add as many alternative options as you wish. This enables you and your team to make educated design decisions throughout your project.
To create alternatives to a component:
Right-click on the component in the tree to which you want to add alternative options
Click on “Convert to Alternative Container”
(In the example above, we are trying to add alternative options to propulsion)
This will create a copy of the component and then convert the component itself into an “Alternative Container”.
The alternative container will have a stacked symbol next to it in the tree. Below you can see the symbol:
3. Click on the “+” button on the bottom left-hand side of the screen
You will then be presented with the following options:
Let’s focus on what each of these options means:
Add properties: this will allow you to add global Valis on the alternative container components. If the user wants to create a Vali only for a single alternative element, the user has to click inside the element and create a Vali inside the component.
Add an existing component as an alternative to this container: this will allow you to add an already existing component within your project as an alternative choice within the container.
Copy an existing component and add it as an alternative to this container: this will allow you to copy an existing component within your project and also add this copy as an alternative in the container. This copy will also now appear in the component tree.
Create an empty alternative and add it to this alternative container: this will allow you to create a new component and add it to the container. This empty alternative will now appear in the component tree and it will not contain any Valis.
Before converting a component into an alternative container, we advise you to create the first component with the Valis that will be common to all the alternatives. In this way, the user does not have to add the property individually later.
You can add the non-global Valis inside the component inside the alternative container.
Note that when you are referencing a Vali from an alternative container, make sure to select the correct Vali that you would like to use in your calculations. For example, if you want to use the battery efficiency in your calculation when you write the formula and type $batteryefficiency, Valispace gives you the following results:
So, in case in your calculations you would like to use the value of the alternative, you can use the Battery efficiency (1). Therefore, whenever the user changes the alternatives from NiCd to LiIon, Valispace automatically recalculates all the calculations and uses the efficiency of the Li-ion battery efficiency.
In the second scenario, if you want to calculate a parameter only with a reference to the efficiency of NiCd efficiency, the user should select the efficiency of the Battery NiCd efficiency (2) instead of the alternative container Vali (battery.efficiency).
Currently, within Valispace we do not have an alternative manager. So if the project has many alternative containers, the user has to check each container to make sure that they selected the correct alternative. In case the user wants to see the configuration of the container, the workaround would be to create a text Vali within the Valispace container shown below.
Once the text Vali is created, you can create another text Vali at the top level and refer to the alternative container Vali. Then, whenever the “current alternative” is changed, the text Vali is automatically updated.
Here’s a small gif to demonstrate how it works after configuring the above steps.