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October 2004

Educat i on & T
Educat i on & T
r ai ni ng
r ai ni ng www.nafems.org
Page 15
Present ers:
Adam Towse (ThyssenKrupp Automotive Tallent Chassis Ltd.)
David Boon (Jaguar Land Rover)
Richard Tyrrell (Advanced Analysis Ltd.)
Ian Rut herf ord (Ar vin Meritor)
David Roche (Bertrandt UK Ltd.)
In organizing this seminar I wanted to focus more on some of the
key issues facing analysts and engineers in the industr y, rather
than go through detailed case studies discussing element types
and convergence. The presenters certainly provided the insight
and wisdom that I was hoping for and, with a lively participation
from the audience, I felt that the event was a significant success.
It was clear that the various presentations picked up consistent
themes and recommendations for coping with some of the
current difficulties in automotive CAE.
I d suggested in my introduction that training and development
of skilled analysts was an issue for the UK industr y. In fact, all the
participants had something to say about skill levels and the
training and retention of good quality analysts. There was a
general acknowledgement that skill in the use of the analysis tool
is necessar y but not sufficient; the real benefit comes from
analysts being able to build realistic and appropriate models,
and having the ability to interpret results in a rigorous but
pragmatic manner. This requires an investment in
staff by the employer, and there are no real
shortcuts if you want to maintain a skilled
workforce.
I d also highlighted the pressures on suppliers to
meet tighter budgets and shorter timescales.
Again there was general agreement that the
t rend t o short en devel opment t i mes i s
cont i nui ng. Adam Towse made some
obser vations about the cost pressures on
suppliers, and showed how these can be
relieved somewhat by employing a range of
analysis techniques through the duration of a
project, from simple scoping-type analyses at the
begi nni ng t o hel p wi t h mat eri al est i mat es,
through inverse forming simulations to aid with
manuf act uri ng pl anni ng, and t hen on t o
detailed structural models. He also pointed out
the benefits of improving the accuracy and
fidelity of advanced simulation saving a
fraction of a millimetre on material thickness can
have a significant impact on cost, but you can only
take that step if you have confidence in your analysis results.
Ian Ruther ford had some interesting comments about the use of
analysis and its place in the design process. He highlighted the
problem of timescales by pointing out the difficulty of designing
an exhaust system when the vehicle does not yet exist and there
is no measured data for engine vibration, acoustic input or
thermal loading!
The key to coping with reduced development times is to improve
the efficiency of analysis methods. There is therefore a trade-off
between improving the modeling to capture ever ything that
might be significant, and getting the analysis set-up time and
solution time fast enough that it can genuinely influence the
design process. This is a difficult compromise: Dave Boon
pointed out that even if you can get your analysis stress results to
within 5% of the real-life values, the prediction of fatigue life
could still be out by nearly 30%. So it really is important to get
high levels of accuracy, other wise the contribution of the analysis
to the overall design is severely diluted.
David Roche made a presentation on the soapbox race car
which was highly entertaining, but still had the underlying theme
of using CAE tools to gain technical advantage and improve your
design in as efficient manner as possible.
Outsourcing of CAE work has been a topic of discussion for some
t i me, and Ri chard Tyrrel l gave us hi s perspect i ve about
competition from low-cost consultants from areas of the world
with low labour costs. Certainly there is competition, but it is
frequently the case that these companies focus on routine
analysis. Competing successfully requires flexibility and providing
added-value for complex analysis work. All the presenters
confirmed that success comes from improving methods and
processes, and using CAE tools to maximize efficiency.
The global nature of the engineering analysis
busi ness was hi ghl i ght ed by Dave Boon.
Communi cat i on around t he worl d i s
improving and becoming a more important
part of providing an analysis ser vice. Dave
gave us an interesting vision of the design
team of the future, but also revealed that
even the current analysis work involves daily
transatlantic communication and round the
clock analysis. Again there was consensus
that this trend is continuing.
There were many other topics
presented, including the latest
ideas on durability analysis, the
use of optimization techniques,
and the combination of analysis
and test. It is clear that the
historical fear of analysis taking
over from testing is far from the
t r ut h. Good anal ysi s requi res
detailed knowledge of materials, loads,
and boundar y conditions and testing is
the best way to establish an understanding of
those important parameters. But to apply them
successfully to a simulation requires the skills and experience of
our analysts. And that brings me right back to the beginning
Cont act
Alan Prior ABAQUS E alan.prior@abaqus.co.uk
N AFEMS Semi nar :
N AFEMS Semi nar :
Si mul at i on i n T
Si mul at i on i n T
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oday
s Aut omot i ve I ndust r
s Aut omot i ve I ndust r
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Held in June 2004, this NAFEMS Awareness Seminar, organized by Alan Prior (ABAQUS), a member of the NAFEMS UK Steering Group, was
held to wide acclaim in the automotive industr y. Here, Alan reviews the content of the seminar, and presents some thoughts on t he discussions
generated by some of the presentations.