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Author Archives: Royston Jones

MAY

31

2013

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This post was taken from Altair Enlighten and contributed by my colleague, Lars Fredriksson, Director at Altair ProductDesign, Germany.

When it comes to reducing the weight of products using advanced materials or design optimisation, there are two industries which make the majority of headlines. The automotive and aerospace industries are motivated by the increasing cost of fuel and need to deliver energy efficient products to market to meet tougher regulatory requirements and customer demand. However, it would be wrong to think that it is these two industries are alone in pushing for lighter design solutions.

A recent example which we were contributed to in Germany was with Britax-Römer, a leading manufacturer of child safety equipment. Weight in this industry is less motivated by fuel efficiency and more by consumer preference. Anyone who’s ever picked up a child seat will know that they can a be surprisingly heavy pieces of equipment due to the need for outstanding levels of safety performance during a vehicle crash. When faced with a selection of often very similar looking seats in a retail environment, ease of use and ease of transport becomes an important considerations during the decision making process.

STI Britax-trifix-seat-crash2 Read More


MAY

10

2013

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This post was taken from Altair Enlighten and contributed by my colleague, Lars Fredriksson, Director at Altair ProductDesign, Germany.

As engineers in an ideal world, we would use design optimization techniques on every single component in a product in order to ensure the entire structure is as lightweight as possible. In reality however, this is rarely a practical exercise as we all need to meet development schedules with a limited amount of resources.So when faced with an existing design and often hundreds of components that could potentially be optimized, how do you know which ones could yield the biggest weight savings? Read More


APR

26

2013

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In previous posts on Simulate to Innovate, we’ve shared news on the progress of Edison2, the winners of the 2010 Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. “From Kindred Spirits Back to the Drawing Board” covered the momentum and development of the Edison2 Very Light Car (VLC) and “Kindred Spirit- Altair Meets Edison2” discussed some of shared views of optimization and inspired design between the founder of Edison2 and Altair.

Earlier this month, Edison2 unveiled their latest VLC inside Henry Ford Museum’s Driving America exhibit and it will be on display through the end of next month. Below is an article that originally appeared on the Enlighten weight news page sharing insights into the latest unveiling.

After an introduction by Patricia Mooradian, The Henry Ford’s president, Oliver Kuttner spoke about Edison2′s achievements over the last five years and their mission to provide affordable, efficient and sustainable transportation solutions. Illustrating the expected automotive landscape in the near future, Oliver showed how the virtues of the VLC architecture could have huge implications on vehicle markets domestic and worldwide.

During the speech, a 10′x12′ banner depicting the new Edison VLC 4.0 vehicle in complete form was uncovered just before Kuttner and Mooradian unveiled the new Edison2 VLC rolling chassis staged in front of the banner.

The Edison2 Very Light Car new architecture

The Edison2 Very Light Car new architecture

“This is disruptive technology,” Kuttner said, “This can change the entire industry. This can change the economies of nations, and my task today is to explain this to you.” Kuttner provided background on Edison2 and highlighted the challenges automakers face with new CO2 laws. “The industry is being asked to double its fuel efficiency – in one full development cycle. This is very difficult to do.” Kuttner emphasized what was required to win the Automotive X Prize: “Get the weight out – reduce aerodynamic drag,” a philosophy that automakers are now weaving into vehicle advertisements and specifications.

After the unveiling, Kuttner gave an overview of the vehicle, explaining the advantages of their new architecture and highlighting Edison2′s design focus on consumer needs – aesthetics, additional room, ease of entry/exit and more before moving onto its enabling technology: the suspension.

Kuttner’s primary focus was the Edison2 in-wheel suspension. “It starts from the suspension,” he said. He described how their patented suspension significantly reduces mass, complexity, parts count, and enables a long list of advantages, which include the opportunity to design safer, better handling, more aerodynamic vehicles with unprecedented efficiency. “We believe we can replace the twist beam suspension, even in existing cars…but it will take time.”

“In the end it’s all about efficiency,” Kuttner said, “and efficiency is all about cost.” He went into detail about economic advantages of the VLC architecture to global automakers and their consumers. He also described how reducing vehicle energy requirement is an important objective in meeting global reductions in GHG vehicle emissions, and managing energy challenges and costs worldwide. “This car opens up the possibility for a whole new type of car…in a much more responsible, sustainable way to the future.”


APR

04

2013

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This post was taken from Altair Enlighten and contributed by my colleague, Regu Ramoo, Director of Engineering at Altair ProductDesign.

Many studies on automotive mass reduction have been undertaken over the years by various steel, aluminum, magnesium, and composites consortia, all expounding the virtues of substituting a particular material. Altair has participated in studies with all these organizations over the years and has understood the strengths, limitations, and constraints of working with various materials.

 

AHSS, HSS, Al, Mg, Ti, GFRP, CFRP…

High Strength Steels, Aluminum, and Magnesium all have certain advantages in specific applications. Understanding when to exploit the unique advantages of these materials while concurrently minimizing the associated cost penalty is key in any weight reduction challenge. Read More


MAR

08

2013

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This post was taken from Altair Enlighten and contributed by my colleague, Panduranga Rao Chirala, Vice President of Altair ProductDesign, India.

It has been a constant human endeavour – across the globe – to make things better and last longer.  In the developing economy, the culture is one of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”  The availability of pure research or development funds may be scarce but not the quest to cut cost and / or to get more out of something for little investment.

At Altair, we talk a lot about the need for optimization and its impact on reducing the weight of products but for me optimization can do much more than just provide weight advantages. Read More

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