Sridhar Dharmarajan, senior director &country manager, MSC Software India
Sridhar Dharmarajanspeaks to Karthik H about how OEMs and vendors in India are taking to simulation software.
Where do Indian OEMs stand with respect to their foreign counterparts when it comes to utilising simulation software in the product development phase?
Twenty years ago, people were not doing simulations at all. Prototypes were being tested all the time. Automobile engineers are highly prototype-driven. Typically, by the time the design engineers arrive, the product is over-designed. Different OEMs are in different levels of maturity as far as CAE is concerned. Today Indian OEMs are yet to fully utilise the software. Indian OEMs have made significant progress when it comes to durability and crash simulations but they have a long way to go in NVH and acoustics and material modelling. That is because our regulatory standards, when it comes to noise, are much more lenient compared to the European Union.It takes time for an organisation to mature from the CAE perspective. The major focus of Indian OEMs is durability. In EU, it’s more about crash and acoustics NVH.
How does MSC decide the direction to take when it comes to software development? Are you in constant consultation with your users?
Every year, we have a customer advisory board meeting at our corporate headquarters in Santana, California. The most recent meeting had six global OEMs. Interestingly, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland were part of this six. Apart from this, we also do annual customer surveys to understand their needs. In India, we have 50 engineers who are in pre- and post-sales, who take care of everyday needs of our customers. Fortunately, for us, we’ve spent 50 years on this and that has helped. People don’t suspect the results delivered by the software.
Do OEMs find it tough to find people who can push the software, and importantly you, to its fullest?
Most of the OEMs have something like a finishing school within themselves. Tata Motors has invested heavily in this. Mahindra & Mahindra is also just about to start an M&M academy in training the engineers in these domains. MSC is also creating some authorised training centres and helping some companies set up these programs.
What are the new developments in the latest release of your software?
We work on two releases each year. We released ‘2013 version 1’ a couple of months ago. Some enhancements have been made in the performance of the software. We’ve drastically increased the speed of some of our solvers. We’ve launched a new version of our acoustic noise predictability software. We recently acquired a company in the material management space – a Belgian company called e-Xstream engineering. It accurately predicts the material properties for composites and steel. We’re doing a pilot project of a new version of the simulation process and data management software. This is more of a digital trail that helps the customer establish a record of all the simulations and processes that were done. Ashok Leyland has been the first OEM to embrace this. Tata Motors, M&M and Maruti Suzuki are also interested in this. Once they are satisfied with the results in the pilot project, we hope they procure the software.
What is the direction the Indian OEMs are looking at? Is it in any way affected by the new safety norms that are expected in 2015?
The average speed of vehicles in India will go up as infrastructure keeps improving. The crash domain then becomes a very critical domain. I believe that Indian OEMs will do a great job in crash and acoustics will drastically improve. There is huge demand for engineers who are able to understand these crash, material management and acoustic domains. The passenger car space is much more demanding. People who drive commercial vehicles are much more accommodating. Durability is a huge factor in commercial vehicles and is a major focus area for OEMs. Also, vehicle dynamics, as loads increase and the kind of load also varies. Ride and handling is a very demanding domain in passenger cars.
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