National Engineer's Day: how Engineers shape sustainable solutions for tomorrow

Engineering simulation allows engineers to model and simulate the behaviour of materials, components, and systems in a virtual environment.

By Rafiq Somani, Ansys calendar 15 Sep 2023 Views icon3270 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
National Engineer's Day: how Engineers shape sustainable solutions for tomorrow

September 15 marks National Engineer's Day in India, offering an excellent opportunity to reflect on the significant role that engineers play in shaping the world we inhabit. Engineers are the pioneers of progress, the architects of innovation, and the caretakers of sustainability. Being an engineer, I understand the tremendous responsibility of our profession. It is about designing for today's requirements and envisioning and engineering sustainable solutions for tomorrow.

Sustainability has become a core concept across all industries in recent years, and the automotive sector is no exception. The need for environmentally friendly transportation options is continuously growing, driven by both industry regulations and consumer preferences. This shift towards sustainability places a significant responsibility on engineers to ensure that automotive design evolves harmoniously with our environment.

The challenges faced by the automotive industry are multifaceted. From supply chain uncertainties to the imperative to pivot towards new powertrains, engineers grapple with complexities requiring innovative solutions. One powerful tool that engineers are harnessing to navigate this transformative landscape is engineering simulation.

Simulating Sustainability
Implementing a strategy for sustainable automotive design begins early in the design phase. Approximately 80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the concept phase. This underscores the critical importance of making informed decisions right from the outset.

In the past, evaluating and comparing materials for automotive applications was time-consuming and resource-intensive. Engineers had to rely on physical prototypes and extensive testing, which often resulted in delays and increased costs. However, with engineering simulation, this paradigm has shifted dramatically.

Leveraging Technology Solutions
Engineering simulation allows engineers to model and simulate the behaviour of materials, components, and systems in a virtual environment. This technology provides invaluable insights into how various materials will perform under different conditions, enabling engineers to make data-driven decisions about material selection, component design, and overall vehicle performance.

When it comes to sustainability, engineering simulation offers a host of benefits. Engineers can use simulations to assess the environmental impact of materials throughout their lifecycle. This includes evaluating the CO2 footprint at various stages, from raw material extraction to manufacturing, vehicle operation, and eventual disposal or recycling. By quantifying these impacts, engineers can make informed choices that reduce the overall environmental footprint of a vehicle.

Additionally, engineering simulation plays a pivotal role in lightweighting the components. Reducing the weight of a vehicle is essential for minimising in-use energy consumption and improving fuel efficiency. Simulation tools allow engineers to explore different lightweight strategies, optimising structural integrity and weight reduction designs maintaining the required strength of the structures.

Enhancing Visibility, Transparency, and Traceability
One of engineering simulation's most significant advantages is its enhanced visibility, transparency, and traceability throughout the design process. Engineers can track every step, from initial material selection to final design validation, ensuring that sustainability goals are met at each stage.

This level of traceability is invaluable for automotive suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) seeking to integrate sustainability into their supply chains. It enables them to collaborate effectively with suppliers, ensuring that materials meet the required sustainability criteria. Moreover, it fosters transparency in reporting and compliance, becoming increasingly important as environmental regulations tighten.

The Engineer's Role in Shaping Tomorrow
As engineers, we are the catalysts for change in the automotive industry's sustainability journey. 

Here's how we can make it all happen:
Continuous Learning: Stay updated with the latest advancements in engineering simulation and sustainable materials. Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences to expand your knowledge.

Collaboration: Foster collaboration within your organisation and with external partners. Sustainability is a collective effort, and engineers must work closely with suppliers, designers, and other stakeholders to achieve sustainable automotive design goals.

Data-Driven Decision-Making: Embrace data-driven decision-making by leveraging engineering simulation tools to assess the environmental impact of materials and design choices. Use this data to make informed decisions that align with sustainability objectives.

Advocate for Sustainability: Be a vocal advocate for sustainability within your organisation. Champion the cause and encourage your peers and superiors to prioritise eco-friendly solutions in automotive design.

Stay Adaptable: The automotive industry is evolving rapidly. Stay adaptable and open to new technologies and methodologies that enhance sustainability in automotive design.

Engineers hold the key to shaping a more sustainable world. By harnessing the power of engineering simulation, we can create vehicles that meet the demands of today's consumers and contribute positively to the environment. Our duty and privilege are to engineer solutions that drive us towards a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future.

Rafiq Somani is the Area Vice President - India and South Asia Pacific, Ansys. Views expressed are those of the author. 

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