New software tools up the game on lightweighting

As the automotive industry continues to prioritise lightweighting, the advancements in design tools and strategies, coupled with the integration of AI, provide engineers with new ways to make more efficient and sustainable vehicles.

By Radhika Dave calendar 23 May 2024 Views icon1965 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
New software tools up the game on lightweighting

As the automotive industry continues to prioritise lightweighting, the advancements in design tools and strategies, coupled with the integration of AI, provide engineers with new ways to make more efficient and sustainable vehicles.

According to Sushil Mane, Senior Director of Technology and Customer Support, Simulation and Design Support at simulation software maker Altair, the tools and strategies available today provide engineers with extensive opportunities to lightweight structures throughout the design process.

"With the workflows that have been developed, there are a lot of lightweighting strategies that are being developed upfront in the design process, not just at the component level but for full vehicle strategies," Mane stated at the lightweighting conference organised by Autocar Professional.

The integration of optimisation techniques in the early stages of the design process offers engineers a significant advantage in creating lightweight structures. In addition to core development tools, automated and semi-automated processes have been developed to assist engineers in designing new vehicle structures while considering various load cases and materials.

"Definitely at the current stage that we are in, there are many different tools that engineers can use to lightweight their structures," Mane emphasised.

Altair solutions in the Indian market

Altair has been focusing on implementing strategies in core design and simulation workflows for the Indian market. Mane highlighted the example of topology optimisation, a tool that helps engineers to lightweight their structures while considering design targets and manufacturing constraints.

"The interpretation tools help engineers to quickly interpret their design and make it more manufacturable," he added.

Addressing crashworthiness using tools

Current optimisation tools do not fully support the non-linearity associated with crashworthiness. Instead, they linearise these loads and then arrive at an optimal design using topology. "I believe that once you fine-tune your design and move downstream, there are a lot of these multi-disciplinary optimisation workflows," Mane explained.

These workflows not only consider crash performance but also evaluate designs for durability and NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness), aiming to achieve a balanced design.

Furthermore, Altair has implemented AI in the engineering process, where data sets are read to develop predictive machine learning models for evaluating new concepts and designs.

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