Milton Keynes, UK —In the world of Formula 1, teams design a complete new chassis every year, "and sometimes every four to five months, from blank screen to complete design," says Steve Foster, head of composite design for Jaguar Racing.
Jaguar is a young Formula 1 team formed in 1999 when Ford Motor Co. acquired Stewart Grand Prix from three-time former champion Jackie Stewart. The team receives sponsorship from UGS (St. Louis, MO) in the form of multiple licenses of CAD/ CAM/PDM and visualization software, and engineering support from UGS engineers.
And the demand for faster cars is creating even faster design cycles. "They're currently giving thought to having a new chassis for every race, using the track data after each race," says John Corris of UGS in England.
With so many designs, refinements, and changes, the designers for Jaguar Racing have a very rapid design and development cycle. While design evolution normally describes the process, sometimes a car gets damaged badly in a race, and the designers and fabricators have to create a whole new car very quickly. Wind tunnel tests can also make it necessary to turn around a new design within two or three days of receiving the test results.
They don't build their own engines, but Jaguar Racing works very closely with Cosworth, the Ford-owned UK-based engine builder that does. Both companies used Unigraphics, which allows them to work so closely that "the engine arrives in a box and we bolt it to the back of the chassis," says Foster. "It takes a lot of liaison with the engine company to enable this."
"We refine the design through many iterations through the year," says Steve Nevey, CAE manager for Jaguar Racing. "Our partnership with UGS gives us CAD modeling, drafting, CAM, and PDM. We can pre-release early designs to give the CAM operators an early start in developing tool paths, and because the CAM is integrated with the CAD, everything updates automatically as we add detail to the design. We can overlap both processes, complete the design, and build the car faster."
Among the UGS products Nevey relies on, the PDM program iMAN "is an essential tool." Because iMAN interfaces to Unigraphics, Nevey finds it easy to set up a database that everyone on the design team can access by part name, part number, part description, designer's name—or any other criteria they want to use. "It provides a very easy-to-use interface and if a designer updates a part, the change shows in iMAN along with every iteration and view of the design that uses that part," he says. "You always have to remember that a guy's life is at stake when you design a race car."
He also finds that the PDM program enables all designers to work in the "same 3D virtual space." Each part may be designed by a different person, but because everyone works in the same database with the same design schemes, each designer's work is completely visible to the others.
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