Altair, the global technology company that provides software and cloud solutions in the areas of product development, HPC, and data analytics, is connected in a big way with the world of automotive lightweighting. In fact, each year, it hosts the Altair Enlighten Awards, the automotive sole award for vehicle lightweighting and sustainability honours latest advancements in cutting carbon footprint, mitigating water and energy consumption and promoting material reuse and recycling.
One of the many simulation tools that help automobile manufacturers achieve their goals of lightweighting is developing digital twins. Digital twins help users optimise product performance, gain visibility into the in-service life of a product, know when and where to perform predictive maintenance, and how to extend a product’s remaining useful life. The Altair digital twin integration platform blends physics- and data-driven twins to support optimisation throughout the products lifecycle.
To put it simply, digital twins are a digital window into a component or a vehicle, applying physics and machine learning in real time – this helps the user gain otherwise inscrutable information into behaviour, and then translate it directly to action. This reduces the cost of operation, avoids production stoppages from catastrophic failures, and extends the working life of individual assets.
The Altair digital twin integration platform essentially is a window which addresses the full complexity of operation: machine learning insights blended with physics simulation to help find hidden inefficiencies and correct them.
That’s just what Pandu Ranga Rao, Senior Vice-President, Tech Operations & Strategic Initiatives, Altair India, highlighted in the panel discussion on Day 1of Autocar Professional’s Lightweighting Conclave held on November 29. He emphasised that simulation offers plenty of flexibility at the concept stage and with OEMs increasingly not looking at carryover design, the digital twins are enabling realistic product options.
The panel discussion on ‘New-Gen Materials for Lightweighting’ also had Vedanta’s Nikhil Bhagchandani, Henkel’s Barun Bharadwaj, Ashok Leyland’s Dr N Saravanan and was moderated by Autocar Professional’s Mayank Dhingra
Rao explained that for lightweighting fuel economy was a driver at one stage. Then factors like performance, power-to-weight ratio and sustainability were considered. “Cost of ownership is also motivating and the lightweighting. I see a lot of innovation at the concept stage of vehicle lightweighting,” he said.
He pointed out that there's plenty of flexibility at the concept stage. The biggest paradigm change is that OEMs are not looking at carryover design. Digital twins are enabling realistic product options, he mentioned. “Concept today takes in to account of manufacturing flexibility, cost of ownership, cost of running and the serviceability aspect as well,” he added.
One of the major challenges is the cost, he said. But once users recognise the importance of lightweighting, the cost-benefit ratio balances out. In the future, there will be a lot more refreshes, lot more runners and repeaters of a same product according to him.
“Earlier, they (OEMs) were looking at weight, cost and performance as major factors. Now, they are looking at them holistically. Multi-disciplinary optimisation is a huge requirement. We have to continuously develop solutions to support them. We have also come up with innovative designs for designed to help them.”
"Simulation is not just plug-and-play. There is plenty of calibration. Material suppliers and the ancillary industry are doing great work. A lot of work is being done collaboratively across India Auto Inc,” he concluded.
Altair Enlighten Award winners excel in weight-saving innovations