New product development entails the process of first designing the entire product in digital form, and then creating the physical prototype that can be used for simulation and testing. But now, we see customers demanding solutions that help them begin their design process with CAD, and then move on to developing processes through the entire lifecycle of the component.
Dassault Systemes is one such company that started off by providing CAD solutions to customers, but is now in a position to offer technologies for the complete engineering of products from design to manufacturing, and after-sales. We met with Olivier Sappin, Vice President, Transportation and Mobility, Dassault Systemes, who spoke about automotive solutions from the company, focus areas for future mobility, manufacturing technologies and digital continuity.
The company’s Transportation and Mobility business covers the entire automotive industry at large, and contributes about 30 % of its total revenue. The share of the Transportation and Mobility business is even more in India, with about half of the revenues coming from this business division. The company has been working across various segments of the automotive industry in India and knows the market well, noted Sappin.
There are major changes taking place in the transportation sector, especially in terms of digital transformation and digital continuity. There is a need for us to touch every part of the clients’ business, from marketing styling, product design, simulation, manufacturing, sales, digital showrooms and after-sales, noted Sappin. He said the idea is no longer to make use of an isolated application to carry out CAD or simulation, but about providing a business platform. This business platform from Dassault Systemes is 3DEXPERIENCE, which can also cover a range of functions, including requirement management, supply chain optimisation, logistics and purchasing. Since this 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a global one, the same tools are applicable to OEMs across countries and regions, with no specific development of the core platform being carried out for any customer, said Sappin.
Sappin said updates for solutions from Dassault within the automotive industry are focussed around three main trends – Electrification, Autonomous Driving and the Connected Car. Within the electric vehicle (EV) space, Dassault is looking at investing in battery design and simulation. It’s been a bottleneck for most OEMs and suppliers to get more powerful batteries, which are easier and faster to charge, have longer range and are lighter. The company is planning to cover end-to-end battery development, starting right at the beginning with new material research at Nano-scale. Sappin noted that Dassault is also developing special simulation tools for the simulation of battery behaviour, as well as for the entire system, including the battery, power electronics and electric motor in the vehicle.
The second area of development is autonomous driving, where the company has been working on solutions for a few years now. Sappin said that Dassault is already involved with several automotive companies on Level 2 and Level 3 autonomous technologies, which typically cover advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The challenge with autonomous cars will be to move from physical simulation using hardware to a virtual test environment, requiring better ways of modelling sensors. Simulation is being transformed, with the future depending strongly on the ability to trace the entire testing process carried out during product development.
The final megatrend of Connected Cars is where Dassault is taking a different approach, observed Sappin. He said that Big Data is always associated with connected cars, and that will be the focus area of the company in the area of connected vehicle solutions. While Big Data offers car manufacturers a large amount of data coming directly from the field to learn from, engineers can gain information about issues coming from the vehicle. This will allow companies to address those issues better, as well as help in improving preventive maintenance. Dassault has acquired a search platform for Big Data, called EXALEAD, which helps carry out special semantic and systematic searches of large amounts of data. Dassault has also provided a dedicated solution in this domain called Vehicle Program Intelligence, which is an application that specifically searches automotive data. This can be used by OEMs as well as suppliers to identify existing and potential issues.
Additive manufacturing is a big topic of discussion for Dassault, noted Sappin. He said the company has launched an initiative called Generative Design, which applies to additive manufacturing and also to general manufacturing at large. Additive manufacturing has an impact on the design of a part or component, which leads to product design optimisation, Sappin added. Dassault wants to cover the complete process of additive manufacturing, right from material study to topology optimisation, along with a special application for 3D printing.
Dassault is looking to invest in technologies addressing themes like Cyber-physical systems, Smart City, Material Science and the Internet of Experience. Cyber-physical systems are linked to autonomous cars, drones and aircraft, where there is a large potential for future growth. In terms of material science, Dassault Systemes is looking at developing tools for this, since full optimisation of products will begin with materials. The newest area of interest for the company is linked to Big Data, IoT and Industry 4.0, called the Internet of Experience, which helps in designing smart products and then coupling them with Big Data to model the entire system.
TEXT: Naveen Arul