In a world where automotive systems are turning more complex along with shortening product-to-market cycle, simulation is increasingly becoming a crucial part of the automotive sector as demand for newer models continues to gain traction among people looking for comfort-oriented mobility. On one hand, subdued demand continues to plague the industry, while the rising cost pressures and regulatory mandates are prompting companies to digitalise their procedures with a sharp focus on quality. Both OEMs and small-medium business units are harnessing simulation software to rope in better design alternatives along with minimising costs.
In order to enhance the reach of its simulation-powered 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Dassault Systèmes recently rolled out a fully-functional factory assembly line mounted on a truck chassis, branded as 3DEXPERIENCE On Wheels – Connected Factory campaign for smart factories of the future. The truck will tour across industrial hubs, start-up incubators and academic institutions of the country showcasing integration of real and virtual world, through a set of experiences for 3DEXPERIENCE Twin, manufacturing operations management, lean management and analytics. The campaign has been designed to enable suppliers across automotive, industrial and aerospace sectors to step-up manufacturing ecosystems powered by solutions offered under the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
Auto Tech Review met up with Samson Khaou, Managing Director, Dassault Systèmes India, to delve deeper into the company’s approach about leveraging digital tools for redefining how the automotive industry operates.
SOLVING RISING COMPLEXITIES
Challenges of the automotive sector continue to grow and simulation is increasingly playing a vital role in making companies develop cost-effective design solutions that deliver better performance, using digital engineering tools. Simulia by Dassault Systèmes is a comprehensive suite of multiscale-multiphysics applications that can expedite operations that brings to the fore the robustness of materials, safety and performance before a physical product is rolled out. Using the multi-body system (MBS) simulation, dynamics of vehicles – regardless of the segment – can be validated virtually for its robustness and performance. Various mechatronic vehicle systems and mechanical components can be optimised that typically need software-in-loop simulations including hydraulics, controllers, and pneumatics, among others.
For a vehicle to deliver a sturdy performance, a model-based systems engineering approach offers early insight into the development process, thereby managing early vehicle design choices. The multi-scale technologies under the 3DEXPERIENCE platform also embrace structural simulations such as the Abaqus Finite Element technology, which connects computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering (CAD-CAE) processes to offer crucial information about load distributions, fatigue & safety factors, and bending stiffness, among others, for unified end-to-end workflows of internal combustion powertrains.
A vehicle does tend to undergo abusive operations during on-road applications; thus, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform also offers complete design solutions for chassis and suspension development. Various techniques under the platform – material selection, topology and controls optimisation – can be used to reduce damage and also achieve lightweighting of components deployed across both chassis and suspension by reducing unsprung mass of suspension without any compromise on stiffness and strength. According to the company, any depletion of unsprung mass can lead to improved vehicle handling, while maintaining grip, even after impacts caused by bad road conditions.
ADDRESSING FUTURE MOBILITY
Traditional mobility systems are grappling with congestion, higher pricing and inefficiency. Consequently, the ever-growing desire of efficient, faster mobility is keeping companies on their toes to innovate regardless of their respective position and focus on building digital elements rather than hardware characteristics. Simulia offers various solutions such as Abaqus Unified FEA product suite, simulation lifecycle management as well as realistic simulation that can be developed to empower body engineering processes across body in white (BIW) along with trimmed body and is also equipped to enable companies to adhere to crash safety norms.
Distinct modelling and analysis advantages are offered under Simulia solutions that attribute stiffness & strength evaluation, crash & safety along with vehicle noise and vibration, said Khaou. Simulia enables the shell element technology for ascertaining response of sheet metal parts, advanced mechanics for metal material, and also integrated solvers for linear & non-linear crash and stress analysis.
Demand for electric vehicles is gradually picking up steam across the world and automotive stakeholders are desperately looking at measures to eliminate the high cost tag associated with EVs. Dassault Systèmes also aims to harness its digital tools to expand horizons in the EV space, using its Biovia platform to evaluate how different materials can be checked for developing batteries with better characteristics and performance apart from being lightweight. The platform is being leveraged to test various materials such as nickel, cobalt, graphite along with lithium for batteries with extended life for future EVs, as it all depends on the spectrum of usage and material science.
Earlier this year, Groupe Renault had announced that its Cooperative Innovation Lab harnessed the ‘Electro Mobility Accelerator’ platform under 3DEXPERIENCE umbrella to introduce Renault EZ-FLEX, an electric experimental LCV for last mile delivery in urban areas. The team worked on product aesthetics and associated technical requirements and validated the same using 3D digital assets like information intelligence, immersive virtual reality and digital twin.
Dassault Systèmes currently generates over 50 % of its revenues from the 3DEXPERICENE platform and inaugurated its fifth global 3DEXPERIENCE Executive Centre in Chennai in early 2019. The centre displays digitisation strategies such as usage of big data and analytics, virtual reality and 3D printing, operating in diversified fields right from the concept to manufacturing stage for the Indian manufacturing sector. The company envisions the centre to serve as a virtual playground for OEMs to test new-generation technologies reimagined by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Dassault Systèmes had introduced cloud services for its 3DEXPERIENCE platform last year itself to extend its range for small and medium businesses to allow them to harness digital tools for streamlining product and quality without incurring big-time investments.
As the global auto industry shifts its focus towards greener, electrified, autonomous and shared mobility, various companies including Groupe PSA, CLAAS, Cognata, GLM have already signed agreements to leverage the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. This is being done across diverse areas, including internal combustion engines, agriculture equipment, autonomous mobility experiences and electric vehicle development solutions.
In India, Dassault Systèmes has extended its partnership with Ashok Leyland, VE Commercial Vehicles, Mahindra & Mahindra and Uno Minda, for its 3DEXPERIENCE platform that allows various centres of automotive companies to not only work in tandem with the engineering division, but also with the supply chain to enhance the overall product quality during the entire product development cycle.
TEXT: Anirudh Raheja