As India and governments the world over increasingly mandate stiffer emission norms and vehicle buyers vote for increased fossil fuel economy and EV range, OEMs are pushing the developmental envelope in terms of both using new lightweight materials as well as getting to market faster.
With different options available, automotive lightweighting is emerging as a clear favourite and gives companies like Autodesk, a global leader in design-and-make technology, another industry segment to unlock opportunities with simulation.
While traditional processes of physical prototyping and testing prove expensive and are also time-consuming, simulation enables vehicle manufacturers as well as suppliers to explore varied lightweighting opportunities with multiple materials. OEMs too are making the shift to advanced materials, which react differently compared to conventionally used ones. Autodesk has a suite of products designed to specifically address automotive lightweighting applications. These help
- Optimise the manufacturing process
- Reduce weight
- Control part strength and stiffness
- Predict performance in practice
- Select the best material for your application
- Discover issues early in the design process
These were among the key takeaways that came from Sanjeev Ghosh, Senior Technical Specialist, Autodesk India (pictured below), who was among the expert panellists on Day 2 of Autocar Professional’s Vehicle Lightweighting Conference held on November 30. The panel discussion, which also had Santhosh K Jacob, Director and Country Manager, Igus India, was moderated by Hormazd Sorabjee, editor, Autocar India.
With the overall theme of ‘Innovative solutions for lower vehicle weight’ holding sway, Ghosh said traditionally simulation tools have been resource hungry. “We are working on balancing functional requirements and structural components. We are also looking at identifying the constraints involved in materials used and methodologies.”
He added, “By enabling designers to leverage the power of the Cloud where machine learning helps take the load off them, our simulation suites and solutions allow them to do many things at the same time,” indicating how simulation is giving automobile designers a free hand in the modern scheme of things, even as they engage far more openly with the engineering component in vehicles.
Citing an example, he said the A-pillar in a car has become thicker over the years as a result of increasingly stringent safety norms. And, it is now moving towards the use of materials. ”Our products think of taking manufacturing as a mean to design from the start. The design that comes from our solutions are validated for various manufacturing outcome,” he said.
Commenting on the industry shift towards electrification, Ghosh explained that thre has largely been a direct conversion between IC engine vehicles and electric vehicles but now efforts are underway to differentiate design and efficiency of the vehicles. “We have able to understand how passengers handle various elements in a car. We have also been able to see how various components fit in a car. This is an evolving area. We are looking at a similar kind of approach as in nature to design structures. We are researching and working towards that.”