product lifecycle management %%%%

Tag: product lifecycle management

04 Nov 2019
Vibroacoustics

Optimizing NVH for EVs

This article first appeared in Automotive Engineering – October 2019.

Optimizing NVH for EVs

Unique acoustic and harmonic challenges require an integrated approach to simulation and analysis. An expert at Adaptive Corp. explains.

Despite global sales market share stuck at single-digit levels, electric vehicles (EVs) are steadily filling the development pipelines at major OEMs. And as engineers are acutely aware, EVs bring a paradigm shift in the noise, vibration and harshness (NVG) arena. Their harmonic spectra are dramatically different than those of even the smoothest, most refined combustion-engine vehicles and hybrids.

EVs are anything but silent, however. They’ve got their own acoustic challenges, experts assert. Traction motors can be relatively quiet (in terms of tonal harmonic noise) in the low and mid frequencies, but unmasked gear whine and various sounds in the propulsion system are far more noticeable and potentially annoying. There’s also the relative cacophony of the tire noise, HVAC fans and compressor cycling. Even electrical switching and the muffled gurgle of battery coolant can be heard in some EVs while at rest. 

While the industry is likely years away from customers complaining of EV cabin noise, leading practitioners in the NVH-reduction field are already working on up-front solutions. One of them is Adaptive Corp., a specialist in simulation, structural analysis and product lifecycle management for automotive, aerospace and other industries. Optimizing designs for improved performance (including NVH, weight, cost, durability) is Adaptive’s specialty, according to customers with whom Automotive Engineering spoke. The NVH science behind EVs and hybrids is increasingly a focus of Adaptive’s services, explained Wayne Tanner, the company’s chief operating officer. 

“It’s true that we have to ‘up our game’ with EVs,” Tanner told AE. “We’re hearing this from all our customers who are in the EV supply chain, such as those who make tires and suppliers of motors. We’re looking at components and subsystems that were never before considered to make the vehicle quieter.”

Easing the development crunch

The industry’s move to electric propulsion is driving new business across the engineering-solutions sector. Tanner, who is responsible for all his company’s activities related to simulation and analysis, notes that the industry trend is toward clean-sheet vehicle platforms dedicated to battery-electric propulsion. OEMs such as Tesla and Volkswagen – the latter’s dedicated and modular MEB platform to be shared by Ford on some models – are committed to this strategy that optimizes structural stiffness (with its related NVH benefits) and other attributes. 

“The time-to-market is increasingly short, which is why product-development teams need simulation to do their fast, quick iterations,” Tanner said, “and to make accurate predictions before they build prototypes and test vehicles.”

The aim is to avoid the dramatic and often eleventh-hour ‘band-aiding’ of vehicle structures. Such activities include costly material replacements and noise-path mitigation by adding heavy NVH countermeasures, in order to meet production deadlines. “That’s certainly something that we can help with if we’re brought into the development process sooner, farther upstream,” Tanner noted. Engineers sometimes don’t think of components and subsystems as a system until they’re actually put together, he observed. 

“Some customers, because they’re moving so fast, can’t find time to do a simulation upfront – then they discover the need for add-on countermeasures at a late hour,” he said. 

vibroacoustics
Vibroacoustics and flow-noise-full-spectrum analysis methods in Dassault’s Wave6 software.

 

Tanner has worked in simulation for over 20 years in various disciplines including design optimization, load development, weld fatigue and dynamics. He and other NVH experts assert that the sooner system-level and full-vehicle models can be developed in any vehicle program, the more effectively predictions can actually improve those designs to reduce NVH, rather than being band-aids in the end.

Inside the toolbox

For its simulation platform, Adaptive partners with Dassault Systèmes, whose 3DEXPERIENCE is rated by users as state of the art in comprehensive NVH simulation toolsets. “The advantage of (3DEXPERIENCE) is, it gives us a single data model that can contain CAD and simulation data,” Tanner said. “We connect that to systems engineering to drive requirements all the way from start to finish, to manage the workflow. Some of the tools we have at our disposal aren’t fully integrated into the platform, but we’re able to put everything together and manage that data. This allows our customers to access a single data source.”

Tanner offered a peek inside Adaptive’s extensive sim toolbox. On the aerodynamics /CFD side is PowerFLOW; on the acoustics side is another Dassault tool called Wave6 that’s used to project an acoustic signature. On the mechanical side, Adaptive engineers use Simpack, which helps them develop all the mechanical vibrations needed for a given analysis. There are also electromagnetic tools. 

“We connect all these tools into a single workflow – to drive mechanical and/or aerodynamic vibrations into the acoustic field, for example – on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform,” he said. Once an OEM is ready to begin road and/or dynamometer testing, they employ Adaptive to validate and correlate from the company’s virtual model into production models.

Another weapon in the arsenal is True-Load from Wolfstar Technologies. It leverages finite-element models to determine the optimum location for strain gauges on unmodified physical parts then generates load-scaling functions. The company claims typical strain correlation within 2% of measured values. Output feeds directly into True-QSE events, described by Tanner as “a powerful post-processing tool” that supports rapid virtual iteration.

“It allows us to take that test mule and put information-gathering tools on it, whether it be strain gauges or accelerometers, capture real-time load and vibration data from that system, and correlate it to our FE models,” Tanner explained. “We use that to drive our simulation – and to predict more that may happen.”

NVH simulation and analysis is “at the beginning of the power of what we can do,” Tanner said. “The tools are becoming more inter-connected and fully integrated, allowing us to run seamlessly from CAD to simulation to structural analysis to acoustics to vibration. The workflow is increasingly faster, enabling us to run multiple simulations in a single day. It used to take weeks.”

 

 

 

30 Sep 2019
PLM Roadmap

The Case for PLM in Concert With Your ERP System

In a Q&A with ConnectPress, Jon Gable, PLM Business Leader for Adaptive, gets to the heart of why even small manufacturing shops can derive tremendous value from implementing a product lifecycle management (PLM) system that works hand-in-hand with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Fundamental Roles of ERP and PLM

ERP systems focus on operations: how a company produces a product, including tracking money, materials, production capacity, orders and executions, labor factors, risk, compliance, and more. What ERP cares most about is the financial information to do with purchasing, producing, or assembling parts.

PLM systems focus on the innovation side of a business: how a company develops a product from concept to end-of-life. The tools within PLM—including mechanical CAD, ECAD, FEA, and manufacturing simulation—create the design information that goes into the ERP system. In addition, PLM tools expand on ERP’s fundamental purpose of managing purchasing, manufacturing, and assembly of designs by answering a variety of other questions. Will the finished parts perform as expected? Will they be cost-effective? Are there better alternatives? Can they really be assembled ergonomically? Will there be clashes as robotics move parts into place?

A PLM system allows for prediction and correction that an ERP system isn’t capable of, for example, helping inform ERP-centered engineers about production workflows based on a component’s shape, handling characteristics, and tolerances, not just machine availability.

Another huge value PLM contributes is the ability to simulate factory-floor manufacturing processes, which is critical for change management, allowing an organization to synchronize different engineering domains to fully understand the impact of change. Instead of receiving a new requirement, making a physical change to a subsystem, and working through the physical manufacturing process to evaluate any issues, a robust PLM platform lets you complete the evaluation virtually—and quickly. Gable refers to this state as “the holy grail of where manufacturing organizations want to get to.”

The Modern Market Means You Need PLM

The challenges of three current trends in manufacturing can all be comprehensively managed by a PLM system: extreme product variations and configurability, increased product specialization, and complex mechatronic engineering.

Setting up manufacturing engineering to handle product variation. ERP systems deal with what part numbers to produce, which doesn’t help the variability question. In contrast, PLM systems allow engineering and simulation to be done to validate that variant configurations can be designed and produced—meaning you can validate products before exposing possible configurations to the market.

Managing different product configurations. As companies manage these variations of products—and validate the new design configurations—it’s ever more important and complex to ensure proper revisions and versions of a design are being used for the correct product and manufacturing simulations, as well as production. With its “single source of truth,” a centralized location for all product and manufacturing data, PLM systems make this management significantly easier.

Addressing complex designs. Rarely do products have only mechanical function these days—it’s much more common that they contain electronic and software aspects, as well. Simpler tools for tracking design evolution, such as a product data management (PDM) system, worked for simpler products. But the added complexity of mechatronic engineering increases the need for PLM platforms that can handle a broader range of teams, contributors, and collaborators involved in a single design.

How To Begin with PLM

The barrier to small- and mid-sized organizations implementing PLM is twofold: cost and effort. Many are finally reaping the rewards of a complete ERP integration and routine content management workflows. The idea of adding another enterprise platform, and one that comes with a decent price tag, can be daunting—regardless of potential value in the end. But the benefits of the long-view solution can still be achieved bit by bit with modularity. Most PLM vendors offer modular, manageable packages that build on each other, with fairly affordable on-premise, cloud, or even SaaS options.

Similarly, following the theory of eating the elephant “one bite at a time,” the best way to start an implementation is with a single process you want to improve. The process should involve a targeted group of users, have the most business impact, and be the foundation for expanded applications. Typically, this is something like a small design team managing their content, whether electrical, mechanical, or software.

Follow-on phases are built on this implementation, such as users who consume the engineering content wanting to improve their processes. For example, people who track material-compliance regulations for different markets may want to move the information they track offline—unlinked and siloed—into the PLM system where it lives in context with the design data.

Centralized, accessible, comprehensive product data makes everyone associated with product manufacturing more efficient, which ultimately saves money on time, quality, and customer satisfaction.

To read the full Q&A with PLM Business Leader Jon Gable, or to find out more about how a PLM platform can transform your processes, contact Adaptive.

30 Sep 2019
PLM

PLM Is Also for Custom and Contract Manufacturers

In a recent article at thefabricator.com, Jon Gable, Adaptive’s PLM Line of Business Leader, argues that PLM software isn’t only for organizations that design products, it can also be surprisingly valuable for custom and contract manufacturing shops.

Even though you may have already implemented an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which typically helps improve efficiency across the organization, and may even have a product data management (PDM) system, which handles all engineering data, PLM can still fill holes in your workflows and streamline your processes even more.

Gable outlined a few of the potential benefits of adding PLM to your processes:

  • Lifecycle information, not just data. Like PDM, PLM offers centralized storage for manufacturing-related files, but PLM goes further, allowing manufacturers to also centralize all product content, such as linking sales and marketing information or quality metrics.
  • Sales and quoting information, with context. A PLM system allows sales and estimators to search for previously processed parts with similar geometries and features to help the quoting process. What’s more, once similar parts are identified, their full history is available—including what worked and didn’t during the manufacturing process, what tooling was used and could potentially be modified, any quality issues that occurred and how they were resolved, and any best practices for production that were developed.
  • Indexing, linking, and searching. One of the biggest issues for many manufacturers is siloed information: manufacturing documents often live apart, stored in separate files on a server, not linked to anything. But PLM can connect design files with work instructions, quality procedures, tooling list, setup sheets, and more. And once linked, everything can be searched—for example, by Purchasing, looking for commonalities in jobs to streamline the supply chain or monitoring the timing and content of engineering change orders. Similarly, designers and product managers could search across parts to analyze form, fit, and function characteristics of components to evaluate potential cost-reduction options. And programming, scheduling, and quality control teams can analyze parts to optimize processes or problems.

Making PLM Work for You

PLM can provide a wealth of benefits: mitigating data replication, making production costs more visible, reducing lead times and wasted effort of engineering teams, and making quality and corrective actions easier to manage. But it’s a big system to implement, and ROI can be more challenging to measure. As Gable points out, how do you measure efficiency of engineering staff, productivity losses due to missing or inaccurate data, or any of the other time-wasters that PLM eliminates? He advises approaching an implementation one module at a time: start small and build on your successes. For example, this could mean starting with part numbers and creating the integration between your ERP and PLM systems.

The article with Gable offers more details on how you might go about starting an implementation, how to manage products and capacity, and how to evaluate success of an ERP and PLM integration in your business. Jon Gable and Adaptive are also ready and eager to help you understand more. Contact us to talk about it.

26 Aug 2019

Improve Productivity and Double Product Development Speed with 3DEXPERIENCE

New data from Dassault Systèmes demonstrates how companies can improve productivity by 30% and accelerate product development by 100%, simply by moving to 3DEXPERIENCE, Dassault’s comprehensive product lifecycle management (PLM) platform.

The Problem

Many organizations are still working with a static, on-premise set of siloed applications. CAD, CAE, MFG, and PLM software each evolved individually, and as such, each has its own data set and its own user interface, 3D modeler, data model, file format, and security configuration. Using data from one application in another means transferring and translating it—which often necessitates a PDM system to manage file versions and traceability, increasing the number of non–value added activities employees must perform just to access data.

In addition, the quantity of data in the organization—no small matter with large file packages—and the potential for mistakes increase exponentially as employees copy files onto local machines. Not only does this result in multiple static versions of data, but it also means a huge likelihood of wasted work, rework, or errors when individuals or teams use the wrong versions of files.

Siloed applications didn’t create siloed disciplines, but their separation doesn’t encourage cooperation. Mechanical, electrical, and systems teams build their own models in their own separate domains, and the first time any team sees the systems fully integrated and the whole product working often isn’t until a physical prototype is tested. It’s no surprise physical prototypes sometimes don’t work even after more than 100 build-test-fix iterations, which means projects are delayed and quality suffers.

The Solution

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform from Dassault Systèmes delivers a unified system with more than 500 applications built natively on a digital platform with just one UI, 3D modeler, data models, and security. Each application accesses data from the shared platform without the need to share, transfer, or translate files between formats. Available on-premise or on-cloud, 3DEXPERIENCE is the single, authoritative source of data—real-time information available to all participants in the system—which eliminates local copies of files, as well as all of the non–value added activities, and increases productivity by as much as 30%.

3DEXPERIENCE also promotes collaboration, since multi-disciplinary teams can work together on a single virtual definition, from a single platform. With the software’s robust test and simulation capabilities, teams can virtually build, test, and fix all issues before ever creating a first physical prototype. This results in a high probability of the first physical prototype actually working as intended, as well as a greatly reduced number of physical build-test-fix iterations. Overall, a coordinated, collaborative platform with shared, synchronized data and leading-edge virtual simulation and testing tools means organizations can dramatically improve their product development speed.

For more information about how 3DEXPERIENCE can improve your business processes and productivity, contact Adaptive.

Download the PDF version of this blog post here.

The subject matter and PDF were supplied by Ramesh Haldorai, who is Vice President, Strategic Consulting, 3DEXPERIENCE platform at Dassault Systémes. 

Read the first installment of his series here:Model-Based Systems Engineering.