Vehicle development process has received a push in the form of digital tools to enhance the design and enhancement phase, so as to be able to turnaround new models to the market faster
R&D can be further strengthened with software tools that can assist in managing the entire lifecycle of products. Detroit Engineering Products (DEP) offers such solutions to the automotive industry predominantly. In an interaction with Karthik Shankaran, Chief Innovation Officer, Detroit Engineered Products, we learn about the company’s solutions for complete product development cycle, as well as roles of testing and validation, all focussed towards future automotive trends.
The flagship software solution of DEP, called MeshWorks is an integrated CAE-driven platform for pre and post processing, involving rapid concept CAE and CAD model generation, parameterisation and optimisation, advanced meshing, process automation, concept modelling and CAD morphing. Shankaran said that MeshWorks takes data of existing products and provides future virtual models, which are more applicable in the development of physical or hardware systems.
In the area of electronics, DEP has picked sensing technologies to provide specialised solutions, since that is where the company felt it could add value with its long experience in engines and transmissions. DEP has built its own engine sensing system, which was then connected with a controller unit that was also developed in-house. This solution will enable engine manufacturers and OEMs to transition from Euro 6 emission standards towards regulations of Euro 6 with real drive emissions (RDE), noted Shankaran. He said this solution is a plug-and-play sensor that will replace five-six sensors that were used earlier.
FUTURE MOBILITY TRENDS
Shankaran observed that the company currently provides solutions that are focussed at the mechanicals of electric motors focussed on EVs. The solutions offered are in the form of optimising the magnetic flux and corresponding electromagnetic force, as well as improving NVH levels. This is an area of comfort for DEP, due to the similar requirements that it addresses for solutions aimed towards engines and transmission systems, he said.
Another area of development is something that is common across the megatrends is that of lightweighting. Shankaran said the common requirement is for lighter but stronger vehicles, which brings in the need to identify the optimum areas to cut weight. He noted that DEP has published several methodologies towards the approach of cutting weight in vehicles, be it electric or autonomous.
Additionally, there is increased focus on enhancing future powertrains to become more efficient and clean. In the case of transmissions, there is a need to package multiple components into a single unit or system for EVs. The transmission of the future will most probably be a motor integrated with a smart set of gears and a parking system, thereby becoming an integrated drive unit. DEP has carried out work on the engineering of such drive units, since the requirements have changed for such systems. Earlier, the problem was to address gear noise from the transmission, but now it is about optimising other integrated systems and ensuring adequate levels of cooling.
Earlier, virtual validation was carried out to pass or fail a design, but now it has transitioned towards being part of the product development cycle, noted Shankaran. It is now carried out in the early stages of development, thereby providing designers with optimum design iterations. The use of software tools at the concept stage of a product is also addressing the fundamentals of manufacturing, thereby enhancing overall product delivery.
TEXT: Naveen Arul