Auto Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are looking to their suppliers to be their development partners by moving up the value chain. Suppliers are expected to partake in joint R&D activities by being involved right from the conceptual stage, thereby adopting a more collaborative approach to the entire product development process where they contribute at each stage of the development cycle.
Overcoming engineering challenges
Automotive suppliers are facing many challenges in having in-house simulation capabilities compared to that of OEM’s, the primary challenges being having an upper cap on budgets & constraints of hiring expert manpower and retaining them. Access to relevant data to validate the designs and establishing robust virtual/test methodologies to match OEM expectations is another concerning factor for the suppliers.
The majority of expectations are to find out cost effective, reliable methods and solutions which can lead to better, lighter, faster and low cost engineered products. One of the ways to overcome these challenges is to invest in simulation technologies that require an affordable initial investment, the ownership cost of which is low, the codes are reliable & proven, and the suite of tools provide suppliers access to a broad range of solvers (a true multi-physics environment) helping them pick and choose the solvers as per their simulation requirements. Another important factor in consideration is that these tools need to be easy to use and the existing manpower should be able to learn quickly and develop proficiency so that they can harness the full potential and derive maximum benefits that these tools have to offer.
The need for solver technologies addressing various physics is very dynamic. Their usage cannot be accurately predicted in advance and therefore, investing in multiple solvers is not a commercially viable solution for the organisation. Altair HyperWorks® through its patented Units-based licensing system gives customers access to multiple solvers under one umbrella. Users get access to different solvers addressing multiple physics, which helps them to apply the correct one based on the challenge at hand, thus making it a smart choice for the organisation to achieve robust product design through reliable & accurate simulation tests, at an affordable investment. Meanwhile, the major engineering decisions can be made easy with predictions through simulation.
Focus on new product development
Endurance Technologies is one of India’s leading automotive component manufacturing companies. Starting with two aluminium casting machines in FY 1986, the company has grown to operate 18 plants in India and 7 plants in Europe. It has four dedicated R&D centres for each of their product businesses: three in Aurangabad (one each for suspension, transmission and braking systems) and one in Pune (for aluminium die casting).
These R&D centres are supported by Advance Engineering Group from the point of view of CAE, RLDA, Electronic Control Systems, Failure Analysis, Advanced Materials & Tribology. According to Ravi Kharul, Chief Technology Officer, Endurance Technologies Ltd, “The Endurance Group has four well-equipped R&D centres recognised by the Department of Science & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India. The R&D infrastructure comprises of a large number of imported and indigenous equipment, handled by a highly qualified team of over 175 R&D personnel. The centres focus primarily on applied research & development activities with integrated approach of virtual & experimental analysis for New Product Development (NPD), product & process improvements and new technology developments.
Implementation of simulation
In the early stage of in-house simulation implementation at Endurance Technologies, HyperWorks was being adopted primarily for pre-and post-processing due to its extraordinary FE modelling solutions. During the stage of establishing high fidelity finite element modelling for applications, HyperMesh® has been used extensively to build analysis models for Structural, Thermal, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and multi-body solutions and OptiStruct® for durability analysis with HyperView® as standard post processing.
At the stage of solver evaluation, exploration and test validation process, there was a need for maximum hand-holding and knowledge transfer. A strong collaborative activity with Altair & DesignTech (business partner of Altair) technical team stretching over extended period over four years for a variety of simulation solutions helped Endurance Technologies in benchmarking the appropriate simulation methodologies. “Through these collaborative initiatives, we were able to establish a simulation approach suitable to our design and development process that ensured we developed better products faster and with greater accuracy than before,” remarked Girish Kokane, Asst. General Manager (R&D)-Advanced Engineering, Endurance Technologies Ltd.
Altair HyperWorks helped in smooth implementation of variety of CAE simulations during product design & development stage at Endurance Technologies, India. Underlining this, Kokane said, “Altair India and DesignTech technical teams are extremely co-operative, responsive and competent for resolving day-to-day technical issues that occur in our regular simulation activities. This increased our confidence in capabilities of Altair simulation solutions, inspiring us to explore more offerings from Altair HyperWorks going forward.”
Achieving reliable results
Adoption of Altair simulation solutions effectively facilitated the achievement of reliable results, with test correlations, study product behaviour under several conditions and constraints, and also the exploration of various ‘what- if’ scenarios. “These tools helped us articulate and measure the costs and effects of possible design errors, while helping us arrive at simple yet accurate solutions for our complex engineering problems,” added Kokane.
Today HyperWorks technologies are playing a vital role in product development cycle and simulation has become an integral part of NPD process at Endurance Technologies. Endurance has developed its own Virtual Verification Process which is automated with the help of Altair Enterprise Solutions Group in order to cut short simulation lead times & improve the results consistency.
Addressing newer challenges
Integration and automation of advance processes in HyperWorks will be a new area to explore as it would help companies capture & establish best practices or ideal approaches to address complex, frequently solved problems and thus reduce to a great extent the duplication of work or repetitive efforts. “We plan to explore other offerings under HyperWorks solutions, viz. Click2Cast®, solidThinking Inspire®/Evolve®, which can strengthen our engineering judgments and shorten our design and development cycle on our product-line,” noted Kokane.
Going forward, Endurance Technologies plans to venture into full vehicle level design activities and anticipates an increased application of HyperWorks technologies in the area of optimization and design of experiments. The company believes that Altair’s further research into HyperWorks solutions and continued investment in addressing newer physics will address emerging domains there by enabling them address newer challenges upfront with simulation.
Courtesy: DesignTech Systems