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Automakers Turn to Simulation-Driven Design to Meet Efficiency Rules

Thursday, March 1, 2012

, President, Altair ProductDesign

Late last year, I wrote an opinion piece for Industry Week explaining my take on the future application of simulation technology to deliver fuel efficient vehicles. Below is just a teaser and I’d encourage you to take a look at the full article.


Intelligent simulation is a key technology in weight-management strategies for OEMs, and simulation-driven design is establishing processes that can help rapidly accelerate the industry toward the fuel economy and emissions goals down the road.

In the United States, new and existing regulations requiring dramatic improvements in mileage for both cars and trucks already are creating another revolution in vehicle design, as OEMs attempt to make their products lighter, more fuel-efficient and less polluting. In Europe, legislation mandating reduced CO2 emissions by as much as 30% over the next few years is leading to similar design reconsiderations.

Designers are employing several strategies to attain new levels of light-weighting, which will translate into better mileage and lower levels of emissions. One technique has been the introduction of multiple types of materials to substitute for conventional steel. Using a combination of metal alloys and lighter substances — like aluminum and composites — designers are making vehicle weight a primary factor in their work.

Traditionally, the industry has sought to balance cost and performance, with weight as an outcome of performance. Now, however, weight is being controlled and proactively engineered, elevated to equal status with cost and performance in balancing design considerations.

Whatever the strategy, designers and engineers will need to rely on sophisticated, intelligent technology to optimize the designs of the components, systems and vehicles they produce, ensuring they are designed with the least amount of material that enables maximum performance. Without simulation tools, such optimization can be difficult. Composites, for example, add great flexibility to vehicle design, but this flexibility is accompanied by increased complexity.


Read the full article on Industry Week