As the CAE and CAD/CAM manager on Jaguar's Formula 1 race team, Steve Nevey puts his computing pedal to the metal during race events throughout the six-month season.
The Jaguar racing team uses a collection of high-speed computing products from Hewlett-Packard (Palo Alto, CA) to fine-tune the cars for optimal performance in a variety of track conditions around the world.
"The main thing for us is predictive engineering," says Nevey. Enabling that is a seven-post hydraulic rig at the Jaguar factory, onto which the company puts a full-size racecar. The actuator posts push, pull, and vibrate the car, enabling various analyses. There is one post under each of the four wheels, two posts attached to the engine, and another attached to the nose.
"The most interesting way we use the rig is at a race weekend," says Nevey.
"The rig simulates any of the race circuits, Monza for example, right through the race weekend, even when the race team members are asleep in Italy."
Data are collected from more than 150 points on the car, all done on an NT infrastructure. Computers record the suspension movements that occur during qualifying runs, which are usually held a day or two before the race. The suspension movements are then "replayed" by the rig's hydraulic servo valves.
"If the course is really bumpy in a particular location, we might want to consider adjusting the shock absorbers," says Gary Morgan, an engineer and the Sponsorship Technologies Manager at HP. Morgan points out that some last-minute changes become critical the day of the race. Any change in suspension changes how the car "sits" and rides in relation to the track, which also changes the aerodynamics. Aerodynamics effect fuel consumption, which determines the number and timing of pit stops a driver must take.
"It's a constant balancing act," says Morgan. "You can never throw enough computing power at the car."
"Faster machines mean more detailed problems solved quicker with more iterations," explains Nevey. "We perform more iterations in simulation programs." The simulation programs he uses include MSC.Nastran and MSC.Patran for finite element analysis. The programs run on HP UNIX workstations—a C3600 for FEA and vehicle dynamics. Engineers also use Fluent for computational fluid dynamics on C3600 and J5600 workstations and N-class servers. Another software package in their tool kit: ADAMS simulation software from Mechanical Dynamics.
Nevey indicates that Jaguar is also using EDS PLM's Unigraphics software for CAD design, drawing, and NC programming. "We are running Unigraphics and iMAN for CAD/CAM and PDM on mainly C3600, B2000, B1000 workstations," says Nevey. "We have two HP N-Class servers, each with four processors and eight GB of RAM." Jaguar uses this computing equipment primarily for product data management (PDM) systems and CFD analysis.
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