Skip to main content
Skip table of contents

Fan Tutorial 2 - Design System - Part 1

In this tutorial, we will go through the typical use case of designing a system within Valispace. This process involves creating a digital model of the system, including the system breakdown, calculating the performance parameters, tradeoffs, and design decisions within Valispace.

We will go through the use case in two parts. The first part covers the system breakdown and inbuilt calculations within Valispace. The second part covers the tradeoffs, design decision and adding the budgets on the analysis block.

The tutorial is expected to take around 25-40 minutes to finish. The values of the components provided are arbitrary.

(1) Configure the ValiTypes

ValiTypes ensure that every new component you create already contains Valis of a certain type with a default formula and a unit (e.g. Mass, Power Consumption, etc).

Ensure that the correct Valitypes exist.

  • In the left sidebar, click on your avatar thumbnail on the top and select Settings from the drop-down

Accessing the settings of the project

  • Click on the Valitypes (1) button in the navigation pane to see all the existing Valitypes available to the project

  • Now, check whether the following Valitypes exist. To do that, hover over the Name column header to see the filter option. Click on the highlighted filter icon and enter the following filters by name:

    • Mass in kg

    • PowerConsumption in W

  • If they do not exist, add them by clicking on the + button on the bottom right, below the page heading Valitypes and add the Valitypes with the above names.

  • Change the Valitypes properties so that your configuration looks like this:

Enabling the valitypes

The units for the PowerConsumption might be in kW or W. If the unit is in kW, double click on the cell and delete the “kW” and Convert to “W”. Also, in this tutorial, we will be having mass of the components in grams, its your choice to keep the unit in Kg or g.

  • Ensure that both tick boxes Add by Default are ☑ activated (2). These Valitypes will be automatically added to every new component you create (see step 2 of this tutorial). Be aware that the Default checkbox is a user setting; this will not affect which ValiTypes other users have checked as Default.

soc() means the sum of children and ensures that by default this Vali adds up Valis which are of the same type in components (1 level) below in the tree.

(2) Add Components to your Project

Let's start building your fan! Every product can be broken down into its subcomponents, like a tree. The hierarchical component tree is one of the core features of Valispace.

Create the System “Fan”

Based on the requirements and the stakeholder needs, we have identified the design a system “ValiFan,” which meets the requirements.

In the components module, you can create and access the Component Tree, which includes all components and Valis. In the left sidebar, click on the Components (1) module.

  • Create a new component using the + Add Component (2) button in the project navigation pane. Name the new component Fan (3) and click Create (4)

    Creating a new component “Fan”

  • You can see that the Valis “Mass” and “PowerConsumption”, which we configured in the Valitypes Settings, have automatically been added to your new component. Alternatively, if you had not marked them as "Add by Default", you can always add new Valis to your component by clicking the "Add Property" button.


Breakdown the system

Since we created our system, it's time to break it down into subsystems or parts.

  • Now, right-click on the new Fan component in the navigation pane and select + Add component. Name the new component Propeller. Expand the fan component to see the new sub-component in the navigation tree.

  • Repeat to create the Fan's sub-components MotorSpeed_controller, and Structure. You can click the “Enter” button from the keyboard or select the Create & add new option to create multiple components without leaving the popup.

  • Your components tree should now look like this:

You can drag and drop components in the tree. You can also move components to another project by selecting Move to Project in the right-click menu.

(3) Change the Values

In Valispace, Valis are parameters of components that contain your engineering values. Valis have properties such as formulas, values, history, and much more. Your newly created components already contain two Valis, Mass and PowerConsumption. So, let's go ahead and add value to your Valis!

Change the Mass and the Power Consumption Value

  • If you wish to see more information and attributes for your Valis, you can expand the Vali by clicking on the vali name. This opens up the “details” page of the vali where you can also edit its formula here. But for now, let's change the values within the list view

  • In the list view, double-click on the 0g and 0W values for the following components (marked yellow in the screenshot), enter the new values by double-clicking on the cells, and press enter:

    • Motor: Mass = 110gPowerConsumption = 1W

    • Propeller: Mass = 30gPowerConsumption = 0W (make sure to enter "0" instead of "soc()")

    • Speed_controller: Mass = 15gPowerConsumption = 0.1W

    • Structure: Mass = 80gPowerConsumption = 0W  (make sure to enter "0" instead of "soc()")

  • Note that Valispace has automatically calculated the Mass of the Fan to 235g or 0.235 kg and its PowerConsumption to 1.1W

When users input the “Value” of a property, it is essential to include both the numerical value and its unit, formulated together, as showcased in the example above: 110g.

In the “Display Unit” column, users are empowered to specify the unit they wish the value to be represented in. Thus, by initially inputting the value as 110g and setting the “Display Unit” as kg, Valispace will seamlessly convert and display it as 0.11kg.

Note that for calculations, Valispace uses the unit provided in the "Value" field. If a user requires the unit to be displayed in an alternate format, like pounds, Valispace will convert the displayed unit accordingly.Learn More: find here the list of units used by the ValiEngine

Please make sure to always use dots (.) as decimal separators for your values.

(4) Add a new Vali

In previous steps, we have shown how to add valitypes. However, the valis(properties) are not restricted to mass and power consumption. There can be different types of properties that can be added to the component. In valispace, the user can create new valis that can be a number with a unit or unitless. It can also be a matrix, textvali (e.g., material), datevali (e.g., purchase date) and datasets. You can access Valis in formulas using the $ symbol in any field.

Add the Propeller Efficiency and Delivered Power

  • Go to the Propeller component.

  • Select the + button in the bottom right (1) to open the Create Property dialogue. Select Vali field, type Efficiency (2) in the 'Name' field and 0.85 in the Formula field (3)

  • Leave the unit field empty and click Create (4)

  • Repeat for another Vali with the name power_delivered and add the formula as  $Motor.PowerConsumption*$Propeller.efficiency, a drop-down will appear where you can choose the desired Vali after you start typing the $-sign

  • Leave the unit field empty to be calculated automatically from the formula or specify the display unit mW, then click Create. The Valis of Propeller should now look like this:

Creating valis and using them in formulas

  • You can click on each Vali's name or the details tab to show Vali’s description and alter its properties. For example, you can change its unit

PowerUserTip: to access a Vali from a different project in a formula or analysis, just type: $Valiname and click on From other projects.

(5) Changing Units of Valis

At times, you may need to work with various units. Valispace includes a built-in feature that can identify different units and perform accurate calculations, regardless of the units selected.

  • Open the Components Module and select the Motor

  • Change the unit of the Motor Mass from kg to g by double-clicking on kg. You can also change within the details section as shown in image below.

Changing units

Changing the display unit, changes only the display value. if you double click, the value 0.11, you will see the real value and its unit. In this case, it is 110g

(6) Detail your Design and Reuse Components

Once you have a basic design in place, you can create a more detailed model of your product. If there are components that need to be duplicated, you can utilize the "connected copies" feature. This ensures that they remain synchronized: if you make changes to one connected component, all others will be automatically updated as well.

In our example, we have three rotor blades and all of them

Create three connected rotor blades

  • Right-click on the Propeller component and click + Add Component to create a sub-component named Blade1.

  • After creating this component, right-click on it and select Copy & connect. A new connected component Blade2 appears on the same level.

  • Repeat the previous step also to generate Blade3.

  • Go to Blade1 and select the Blade1 Details tab on top of the screen. In the "Connected Copies" section, you can verify that the copies have been created correctly.

  • Select any of the three blades and change its Mass to 10g and the PowerConsumption to 0W. You can verify in any of the other blades that all connected blades now have the same Mass and PowerConsumption


PowerUserTip: you can disconnect Valis or entire components by clicking on the connection symbol next to their names. More details can be found in the connected copies documentation.

Mass Budgets

All Valis with the formula ”soc()”, or Sum of Children, have an associated budget table and chart which can be viewed in the Vali information.

  • Head to component "Fan" and click on the name "Mass" (1) to open the details tab. Click on the budget (2) in the details tab highlighted below to view a breakdown of your fan’s total mass.

Accessing the budget table within the details section

  • Within the details section, Click on the pie chart (1) highlighted below to view a breakdown of the total mass of your fan. The pie chart shows you the mass breakdown for your immediate lower level of subsystems.

Accessing the budget table within the details section

(7) Make use of Margins

At an early development stage, you are usually not sure about the exact value of any property. This is why you put a margin on top of the value. Valispace takes care of propagating this uncertainty throughout all your calculations.

Add Margins to your Vali Table Columns

  • Click on the Propeller component. In the table, check if the Margin columns are visible. If not, click on the columns tab (on the right)

  • From the list, select Margin+ and Margin-

Enablings the margins columns

Add an uncertainty margin to the propeller Mass.

  • At the early design stages, you might not know the mass's final value; in most cases, you end up with a mass higher than expected. For these cases, you can add a security margin to your Vali. With the help of this margin, Valispace automatically calculates a worst-case for your Vali. Let's do this for example with the Propeller mass

  • Click on the Propeller component and go to the Mass Vali

  • Add an upper margin "Margin+" (1) to the Vali by clicking the arrow symbol or directly entering a value of 10 (meaning a 10% margin) (2)

  • Open the details tab of the Propeller Mass (expand the Vali by clicking on the mass vali “name” field) to see how the worst-case value is changed to 0.033kg due to the addition of the margin (3). If you go to the Fan component and expand the Fan's Mass, you can also see that the Fan's Mass now has a total margin of +1.28% and a worst-case of 0.238kg

  • Alternatively, you can also add margins within your Vali’s details, and you might also consider adding bottom (-) margins to some of your Valis

Adding Margins to the propeller’s Mass Vali

(8) Tags for your Custom Needs

Tags are a multi-purpose tool for your specific team needs. You can use it to mark Valis, Components or Analyses. Use them to indicate:

  • reliability of a value (assumption / calculated/measured)

  • actions for team members (review: Tom/approval: Christine)

  • any other marking or grouping

Tag the Mass of the motor as a measured value

  • Go back to the Components Module of Valispace

  • Select the Motor component in the product tree

  • In the row of the Mass, double click on the area under the Tags column, type measurement, and hit Enter to add the tag to the Motor.

If you want to search and filter for this tag, select the three horizontal lines which become visible when you hover over the header and select the filter option as shown below.

Filtering within columns - tag

PowerUserTip: if you want to change the colour of the tags, click on your Profile --> Settings and choose a new colour. 

JavaScript errors detected

Please note, these errors can depend on your browser setup.

If this problem persists, please contact our support.