The manufacturing industry has many uses for simulation. Managers want the product life cycles to be more efficient. There is constant work being done on how the life cycle can be made shorter. Customers want variations in the product. They want newer and more improved versions of the old products they had been using for quite some time. All this requires a lot of research.
If the engineers were to do research using real materials and in real life situations then not only would it be expensive, but it would also be dangerous. Simulations provide a safe and cost effective way of analyzing various permutations and combinations. The engineers can change the parameters, they can change the conditions, and they can alter what factors they want as inputs and which ones they do not. They can do all this and watch the result unfold before them in a manner that tells them everything they need to know.
They can use the simulations to find ways of speeding up the time the product goes from an idea on the shop floor to the stores of the marketplace. They can also make innovations which would give them an edge over their competitors.