The level of testing needed to bear out these design changes wouldn't have been possible without an integrated CAD and CAE platform, according to Wiersema. "By using the computer to do a lot of the door designs, we were able to filter out the ones that were bad, then take the right one and try it in reality to prove out the concept," he said.
It also enabled the group to explore more design concepts than they had traditionally done when subbing out simulation work to third parties, mostly because they were able to retain their intellectual capital. "When you're working in a single, integrated environment, there's so much knowledge of the tools and the materials behavior that you can actually make something more efficient and have insight into what exactly is happening," Wiersema said.
While integrated simulation isn't necessarily taking time out of Donkervoort's development timeline, it is significantly cutting back on the number of physical prototypes that need to be built, and it is encouraging the engineering team to go further in pushing designs, Wiersema said. "The more time you have, the more you want to develop, and there's no end to how far you can go with the detailed amount of information you can get out of these software analysis tools."
For a look at GM's Chevy Volt, go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director Brian Fuller. In the trip, sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is taking the fire-engine-red Volt to innovation hubs across America, interviewing engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students as he blogs his way across the country.
Good point, Rob. As CAD and CAE become more of an integrated process as opposed to siloed tools done by different groups within engineering, there are bound to be design efficiencies. The real benefit, here, though was upping the number of prototype designs explored without upping the number of physical prototypes having to be built. Time saver and money saver.
Interesting article, Beth. That's a nice way to increase possibilities in design -- to do it with computers instead of physical prototypes. While the process may not have saved design time in this case, I would imagine it would inevitably save time as this practice becomes part of the standard design process.
Wal-Mart will hold its second Made in the USA Open Call July 7-8, at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The event will be a repeat effort by the world’s biggest seller of consumer goods to increase the amount of US-made products it sells in Wal-Mart stores, in Sam’s Club members-only wholesale outlets, and on walmart.com.
From design feasibility, to development, to production, having the right information to make good decisions can ultimately keep a product from failing validation. The key is highly focused information that doesn’t come from conventional, statistics-based tests but from accelerated stress testing.
There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
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