CAD/CAM Corner
Siemens Steps Up Composites Game

FiberSIM's volume fill composite ply development capability goes to work on a jet engine fan blade created in Siemens NX.
FiberSIM's volume fill composite ply development capability goes to work on a jet engine fan blade created in Siemens NX.

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Jerry dycus
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Re: Filling in the gaps
Jerry dycus   11/17/2011 2:44:36 PM

  Beth composite use especially in the auto industry isn't stopped by lack of tech, but because they only build in steel.  Why they build in steel is it rusts away thus one needs another car.

Vs composites which in 30 yrs will still be there, still lightweight, eff viable transport.

It's just not hard to build composite body/chassis/unibody including color, doors, hood, etc in under 10 manhrs/car at under $6/lb.  Such a vehicle would weight 60% of a steel version while being more strong, crash resistant. 

 And the weight for a composite 2 seat sportwagon I have is under 250lbs.  A similar steel one would be 450-600lbs.  I should add this is using medium tech composites. And it was done without cad, etc.  The other thing is a production line for a composite car costs 10% of a steel one and only needs 1k/yr units to be profitable.

While this stuff promoted by Siemens can be ok it isn't needed. What is needed is a change in the car industry to start using full composite cars, trucks, etc.

And it will happen for 2 reasons, much higher oil prices, $10/gal in 5 yrs and the price of steel, other metals. Vs composites that can be made from RE, biomass and sand which will be the low cost building materiasl in the near future by a good amount compared to metals. 

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Siemens Steps Up Composites Game
chzweben   11/17/2011 1:27:40 PM
As a composites technologist with over 40 years in the industry, I consider this a very significant development.  Industrial applications are now the greatest market for composites, significantly outstripping aerospace and sports equipment.  Another significant development is that, although polymer matrix composites dominate, there is growing interest in ceramic matrix composites and metal matrix composites. In addition to structural and machine applications, composites are playing and increasing role in electronics and photonics thermal management and heat exchangers.
Carl Zweben PhD - Composites and Thermal Materials
Life Fellow, ASME; Fellow, SAMPE & ASM
Associate Fellow, AIAA
62 Arlington Road
Devon, PA 19333-1538
Email:  c.h.zweben@usa.net
Website:  http://sites.google.com/site/zwebenconsulting

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Good timing
Beth Stackpole   11/17/2011 6:31:56 AM
I agree, Chuck. I think all of those milestones coupled with the automotive, aerospace, and marine industries' increased adoption of composites (all big markets for Siemens) is what precipated the acqusition. Vistagy has a strong hand in both automotive and aerospace, both in terms of customers and industry best practices--both very important assets to Siemens' evolving PLM strategy.

Charles Murray
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Good timing
Charles Murray   11/16/2011 9:36:31 PM
The timing is right on this. We saw big use of composites in the Boeing 787, as well as in countless other commercial and military aircraft. Automakers are promising to use more composites -- see the story on the BMW electric concept vehicles, which will come out in 2013 and 2014.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Filling in the gaps
Beth Stackpole   11/16/2011 8:26:45 AM
As far as I know, there isn't the same concerted effort to add modules of capabilities around plastics, although I'm sure there are smatterings of features related to plastics design in all of the major tools. Autodesk did release something called Moldflow, which is a cloud-based simulation offering specifically around simulating the design of plastics parts.

As for intelligence capabilities around meeting compliance standards, many of the CAD and PLM tools are building out capabilities around product analytics, including capabilities to evaluate product designs against compliance benchmarks. Not sure composites is readily addressed yet, but as the material become more mainstream, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it will.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Filling in the gaps
Alexander Wolfe   11/16/2011 8:10:15 AM
Purpose-tuning CAD tools for specific apps sounds like a great idea, and with composites, it's an applications area that's big enough where this makes economic sense. I've got two questions: Are there any other similar areas, say with ABS plastics? Also, is the CAD tool chain able to incorporate any intelligence which relates to any of the standards and/or compliance issues regarding composites?

Beth Stackpole
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Filling in the gaps
Beth Stackpole   11/16/2011 6:44:17 AM
As someone who's watched the evolution of the PLM industry over the last decade, Siemens and Dasault's recent acquisitions in the composites arena are significant not just because it gets both players much-needed composites capabilities. The investments in these industry-specific and highly specialized technology pieces seem to indicate that PLM as a platform has arrived at a place where the core building blocks are well established and companies seem to get the overall value proposition. Now the activity is around tuning the platforms to meet very specific industry requirements or customer needs. To me, that's a sign of maturity that can help drive the next stage of user adoption.

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