How digital prototyping is reducing development time and costs for new models. Computer simulation for crash testing, aerodynamics and fuel economy is shaving years off of the time it takes to build up a whole new vehicle, that is assisting to save automakers countless euros.
The move to so-called Automotive Prototype has helped reduce the development period of a new model (from design freeze to Job 1) to 24 months from 36 months compared with the 1990s, in accordance with research by analysts IHS Automotive. “The obvious benefits are lower costs, time savings and freshness of the product portfolio,” IHS senior manager Matteo Fini told Automotive News Europe.
Jaguar Land Rover head of r&d Wolfgang Epple named crash-testing, aerodynamics and fuel economy because the three most innovative parts of computer simulation. He stated that the quantity of crash-test prototypes needed per new model has reduced to around 10 to 15 from 30 to 50 when testing was first mandated.
“Crash simulation is carried out more than a maximum of two days nowadays, and this is taking time out of the development cycle,” Epple told Automotive News Europe. With every prototype costing about 500,000 pounds (about 685,000 euros), that reduction has saved a lot of money. The JLR executive added it also offers improved crash performance: “Now you can hit a wall at 50 mph and leave the automobile without having to be injured.”
JLR desires to push simulation further. By 2020 it aims to engineer new models entirely over a computer ahead of the tooling phase, a source near to the firm said. In a few areas the automaker is definitely near to this goal. The aerodynamic styling for the Jaguar XE midsize premium sedan was finalized without having to create a prototype to evaluate in a wind tunnel, JLR said. That can help because JLR doesn’t own a wind tunnel, a situation that’s not planning to change for around another year, Epple said.
To check the XE’s aerodynamics JLR works with a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) program from U.S.-based Exa Corp. Automakers are focusing more on aerodynamics because they look to reduce fuel consumption and meet tough new emissions regulations. But they are limited on the experimenting they could do on a prototype in a wind tunnel, Exa CEO Stephen Remondi said. “There’s only an inch of clay on that model. If you wish to dramatically change the rake from the windshield, you can’t,” he told Automotive News Europe.
Exa also uses its CFD program, Powerflow, to handle a range of other issues on new models, ranging from reducing dirt kicked up from the wheels to cutting wind noise and aiding cooling. Remondi said thermal simulation may help reduce the chance of cooling issues coming to light right after the design has become frozen. “You stop that situation where, suddenly you can’t make this part away from plastic anymore because it’s melting. It’s now got to be steel and suddenly the profit margin has dropped,” he said.
Simulation’s single-biggest weakness is neglecting to give accurate dynamic feedback on how an automobile drives, JLR’s Epple believes. In terms of honing a new model’s handling characteristics, a driver in a real-life car is still the best validator, he explained.
Jaguar avoided the wind tunnel test as a result of computer simulation performed to measure airflow over the car. UK-based Ansible Motion, which develops vehicle dynamics simulators, believes it has solved this challenge featuring its so-called Automotive Molding which costs between 1 million and 2 million pounds.
Ansible Technical Director Kia Cammaerts stated that the Stratiform Motion Platform, which faces an 8-meter long wraparound screen, does just what the dominant eight-legged hexapod driving simulators forget to do. “They’re mechanically not capable of offering the right sensations to the driver,” he explained. “With our system it is possible to develop vehicle dynamics in a virtual environment to some sufficient level that it’s actually useful.”
Ansible this past year delivered among its systems to Ford. Ansible has created seven other systems, five have been sold to automakers as well as 2 to customers working with Formula One racing. The business declined to comment on its some other clients. The automotive industry is currently going through a transformative period. Carmakers today must act quickly and smartly, anticipating market changes to take affordable, exciting new items to consumers. To accomplish this, companies now depend on rapid prototyping, which is completely transforming just how engineers create and test car designs, affecting many different auto careers during this process.
Whether it’s to validate a futuristic concept for any vehicle or even a refresh a classic car to accommodate the requirements today’s drivers, three-dimensional rapid prototyping accelerates the creative process and reduces the time and money spent on clay modeling and molding of expensive prototype parts. Designers and engineers around the globe are able to see and touch their creations faster and also at more affordable, which in turn allows them to receive real-world feedback on their own designs and make hbvpyy to boost them.
Before a part is produced within the China Plastic Molding, the computer model is tested for proper airflow in a simulation environment. The 3D prototyping environment can produce a fully detailed vehicle, including the engine, brake lines, drive shafts, exhaust system, transmission, suspension as well as other car components.
New techniques like Selective Laser Sintering or Stereolithography allow engineers to quickly produce a new part for wind tunnel testing, permitting them to test more iterations the exact same part in less time. Air-flow with the engine compartment and underneath the car is critical to both cooling the engine and lowering drag, which explains why the wind tunnel is utilized for advanced tests.
Compared to old-style clay models that had to be re-sculpted each and every time, this really is night and day, as engineers now receive feedback at multiple stages along the way. Additional time is spent evaluating the impact from the changes than waiting for adjustments to be made. This makes it much better to test an unconventional idea, as all is required is manpower.