Altair Engineering, product design and advanced engineering software provider, covers a wide variety of physics for its simulation tools that enable usage in the development of vehicles. on the sidelines of its 11th Technology Conference Series in Bangalore, we met with (L) Dr Uwe Schramm, CTO, Simulation Solvers, Altair, and (L) Dr CJ Reddy, Vice President, Business Development, Electromagnetics – Americas, Altair for an insight into the company, especially focussing on the Electromagnetic Interference/ Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) simulation tools that are a recent addition to their product portfolio.
Electromagnetics and material simulation are some of the physics most recently developed by Altair, noted Dr Schramm. Different materials are being used for various functions like strength, stiffness and crash, and this requires the inclusion of material behaviour and manufacturing into the company's simulation suites. Damage, fatigue and diffusion, among others characteristics can also be simulated with the material simulation tools offered by the company, he said.
The company's acquisition of FEKO in 2014 was a major move in this regard. FEKO is a computational electromagnetic solution that offers tools used for the analysis of electromagnetic problems pertaining to antenna, radar designs and electromagnetic compatibility encountered by engineers across various industries. It is currently a stand-alone product, which is looking at being integrated into Altair, noted Dr Reddy.
Early this year, Altair acquired Multiscale Design Systems (MDS) and brought in new composites expertise to its HyperWorks suite, including multiscale analysis, stochastic design, fatigue analysis, and multiphysics simulation. While MDS also retains an open architecture approach with respect to third party solvers, integration with Altair solvers RADIOSS and OptiStruct is expected in future, the company said.
TRENDS IN SIMULATION TECHNOLOGY
To effectively reduce NVH, simulation is taking a leap from what it was earlier, said Dr Schramm. This is more the case with regards to reducing NVH in electric vehicles, since electric motors in these vehicles are far quieter that internal combustion engines. Simulation technologies are also being developed vigorously for vehicle antenna, connected vehicles and autonomous driving, he noted. The company is providing simulation tools to predict the reaction of electronic systems in the vehicle to electromagnetic interferences from the radar of other electronic products. This is also in line with researching the compatibility of many electronic devices within a vehicle, which emit various types and levels of radiation and interferences.
Electromagnetic simulation is gaining importance in the automotive industry, thanks to the introduction of regulatory requirements of EMC for automotive vehicles. This EMI/EMC compliance regulation is to ensure that electromagnetic radiations emitted by the vehicle and its electronic sub-systems do not cause any undue interference with external systems. It is expected to come into mandatory effect by the later part of 2015, the company said. The acquisition of FEKO plays an important role in Altair's product portfolio of antenna design and EMI/EMC simulation. Earlier, antennas were cut into various sizes and each piece was physically tested for its frequency output. Now, simulation technology has reduced this to the entering of values to a model, which can be altered until the desired result in obtained.
The other challenges in antenna design are in terms of placement of the antenna, EMI/EMC and safety concerns. Additionally, said Dr Reddy, cables in a car can also emit radiation that might affect the electronics inside the vehicle. FEKO's electromagnetic tool has various modules that assist in the shielding of radiation from antennas and cables that could potentially affect the performance of electronic systems. FEKO's simulation tools are also used to develop short-range communication for connected vehicles, Dr Reddy noted. He added that the tools are also used to keep required frequencies within the vehicle, since new materials like composites cannot shield these frequencies from escaping. For this, carmakers use conductive coatings in the paint or electrolysis to keep the waves within the car, and also keep away external interferences. Simulation is used in identifying the exact thickness of these coatings that will be required to keep away EMI/EMC.
Altair continues to receive about 60 % of its business from the automotive sector in India, which consists of automobiles and off-highway vehicles. The company invests close to 30 % of its revenue on R&D, which is very high when compared to competitors, Dr Schramm said. The company continuously develops its product range by carrying out developments and acquiring companies, or making investments into companies that could help develop its range of tools. It is working on providing simulation solutions for even minute details, including brake squeal, which is expected in the next release. The tools from Altair are for multi-disciplinary usage and cover the entire spectrum of vehicle development, Dr Schramm concluded.
Text: Naveen Arul