Femap Case Study- Automotive

Exnovo

Motorcycle component supplier uses CAE to optimize structures.

Femap helps Exnovo validate complex motorcycle structures

A design and engineering studio, Exnovo serves the motorcycle industry by providing customers with everything from product aesthetics definition to the development of complex “turnkey” industrial processes. The use of Femap™ software from product lifecycle management (PLM) provider Siemens PLM Software is helping Exnovo determine if the components it develops can withstand expected loads and stresses.

Exnovo’s computer-aided engineering (CAE) department meets customer demands for structural analysis of two and three-wheel vehicles, as well as individual components made with isotropic and composite materials. The goal is to optimize structures early in the design stage, as well as to verify whether parts and components have sufficient stiffness and are able to withstand expected stresses. The CAE department carries out structural analysis, validation and optimization tasks, providing customers with finite element modeling (FEM) and finite element analysis (FEA), plus linear and non-linear analysis, as well as static, thermal, buckling, modal, dynamic and fatigue analysis.

“Customers require FEA validation of structures for resistance and stiffness,” says Pietro Del Negro, manager of Exnovo’s CAE department. “Our department uses Femap to help us virtually simulate the behavior of a component or complete structure when subjected to specific loads and constraints. We then share the final results with the customer.”

FEA is also used to predict the behavior of components made with new or different materials, including managing pre-loads, contacts between parts and the quality of the mesh. “Often customers ask us to create a structural basis for a component which will form the basis of a new style, or to achieve the topological and structural optimization of a structure or sub- structure,” says Del Negro.

Working with large models

While performing such activities, Exnovo sometimes needs to work with large models containing millions of nodes. Engineers must be able to replicate laboratory tests for model validation. Del Negro and his team have found the answer to these requirements in Femap, an FEA solution which is CAD-independent and runs on the Windows® operating system.

“Femap is a valuable pre- and postprocessor that simplifies the exchange of finite element models between Exnovo and our customers, including those who are using other analysis software systems,” says Del Negro. “Femap has enabled us to solve several problems, helping us develop significant know-how in the structural validation of motorcycle components. Femap also enabled us to create a database of stiffness values for the frames, swing arms and other components.”

Among the most useful features of Femap, Del Negro cites the Bolt Preload application, which enables you to choose the type of contact between the parts and the Vertex Buffer Objects option, which allows you to manage models with millions of nodes. “Our CAE department has used Femap to help analyze a large model that included the complete rear frame, the engine and the swing arm of a BMW scooter, for a total amount of 4.5 million nodes,” notes Del Negro. “We will also provide finite element analysis of all the body parts of the new BMW scooter.”

For the selection and implementation of Femap, which offered the best cost-to-quality ratio among all solutions evaluated by Exnovo, the company was supported by SmartCAE, a Siemens PLM Software partner. “Exnovo had specific issues and needs related to mesh quality, matching surface management, the management of large models and the exchange of models with other software,” says Francesco Palloni, business development manager at SmartCAE.

Del Negro adds, “SmartCAE’s support was valuable, especially in helping us solve typical initial difficulties. The training SmartCAE provided was very effective. Within a short time, our users were able to become fully versed in the use of software.”

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EDGE plm software is a privately owned Australian provider of software solutions aimed at the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors. EDGE has been providing engineering design centric solutions since 2004 with over 500 customers across Australia and New Zealand. Typical solutions from EDGE would include the provision of software, maintenance, support, consulting and training services.

The EDGE software portfolio includes CAD, CAM, FEA & PDM solutions and EDGE fully supports and offers training and mentoring services on its entire portfolio. EDGE has been a business partner of UGS/Siemens since 2004. EDGE also configures and sells Dell hardware to assist our customers maximise their software investments. Read more about us…

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The End of the Powertrain Bias

Internal Combustion Engine vs. Electric Machine, this seems a famous game these days. Media, politicians, OEMs, car owners - all of them have their arguments and for one or the other reasons, they have their vision of where they place themselves in this fight. There is a lot of emotion and mistrust, misinformation and the claim of misinformation, aggression, and response. Diesel bashing here, pointing to insufficient range, burning batteries and recharging of plugin battery-electric vehicles with mobile ICE devices there.

 

The worrying thing to me is that even in our engineering world you get the impression that you have to choose and you have to choose apriori. It seems that even the world of powertrain engineers has become bipolar, you can either be pro-ICE or pro-E, you can either hug your internal combustion engine or tell the people ICE is dead, you can either tell people there is not enough Lithium on earth or oil, you say a V8 is music or it’s noise, you say too much NOx, Soot or CO2 stems from traffic or from power plants, there’s nothing in between. ICE engineers seem to fear someone takes away their beloved baby, E-guy seem to claim the work of thousands of engineers should go to the trash bin right away.

 

I call this the powertrain bias!

 

Now, honestly, like with many topics I have faced in my life I don’t know who is right and I would claim it’s not easy to tell that for anyone. We live in an increasingly complex world and there are many forces at work, legislation, customer expectation, politics, financial interests and finally human emotions. So, as an engineer, you try to rely on something that should give you the answer: pure science. Then you realize: even numbers can be bend, misinterpreted, miscommunicated. It’s clear that oil won’t last forever and that Lithium doesn’t. It’s clear that some may love the sound of an engine and others love the sound of silence. It’s like with anything – even in science - any party will come up with their study of proving they are right.

 

I truly believe it is this powertrain bias that is the most dangerous thing an engineer can jump onto in a world of incredibly fast-paced change.

 

That said, as powertrain engineers, we should share only one common goal and that is, make the move of a person from A to B as efficient, comfortable and – not to forget - enjoyable as possible thereby minimizing the negative impact on other people. I understand there are multiple trade-offs in this performance function and the weighting of the individual performance factors is a highly individual thing. Yet, we all should agree on one minimum consensus: As engineers, it is our job to push the limits of efficient, healthy, enjoyable and comfortable movement as far forward as we can without limiting ourselves in the design space by a-priori (bias) decisions.

 

 Blog_PowertrainBias_Teaser.png

 

Therefore here’s my call to all of you: Don’t get caught in that romantic vs. progressive powertrain trap! ICE guys, get over it and hug an electric machine, it won’t hurt. E-guys, step back and look at the amazing piece of engineering an IC engine effectively is. Let’s stay engineers in first place, push the Pareto front forward and make the best we can within the range of our expertise. Stay cool and fair when doing so. Get in touch with the other side and understand their reasoning. This is not a call for becoming emotionless, but it’s a call to reconsider what we should be emotional about: And that is creating great engineering value with our powertrain solutions. Here is my scientific study on the topic: In all times, 100% of all cars will have a powertrain!

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So let’s all get together at the Simcenter Conference in Prague to celebrate the end of the powertrain bias. With two days of powertrain presentations from ICE to E, from system- through CFD simulation to test the table is all set. Siemens PLM is there to help you, with simulation- and test solutions on the ICE AND the E, there is no either-or in our portfolio, and hey, for those that are already in the middle of it, we have a solution for all you hybrids!

Together, we can make Prague the Woodstock of Powertrain Engineering. Looking forward to seeing you there.

 

With that, I leave it with a

 

“Peace!”,

the first powertrain-hippie on earth

 

 

 

[1] https://about.bnef.com/electric-vehicle-outlook/

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/automobiles/wheels/internal-combustion-engine.html

[3] study by the first powertrain hippie on earth

 

 

Towards a unified Simcenter solution for electric machine design


Electric motor.jpgHaving a scalable model enables you to use your favorite system simulation tool for various simulation purposes, all along different design stages.

 

If I look in particular at electric machines, the possibilities are numerous:

  • Simple quasi-static machine models are well suited for power budget or energy management assessment.
  • Simple dynamic models are typically used for machine controls development.
  • Non-linear dynamic equivalent circuit models can give more insight into the motor behavior with high current or under fault conditions.
  • You can also include the machine spatial dependency to take into account the effects of the slots or the magnets shape. This will give you access to torsional vibration analysis and winding current distortions. It could help you validate a controller with a very realistic motor model at early development stages.
  • Co-simulation is an interesting solution in case you need to assess imbalance conditions or high frequency dynamics.Various levels of model complexity in Simcenter Amesim.pngVarious levels of model complexity in Simcenter Amesim

On the downside, setting up all those different models require much information which is not so easy to get. Datasheets provide partial data on the main machine behavior. To go further and to fully take benefit of the Simcenter Amesim Electric Motors and Drive solution, this is largely insufficient. To address this challenge, you can use Simcenter Amesim in combination with a finite element tool to obtain a reduced model. This is a major enhancement we focus on to reinforce this Simcenter Amesim solution.

 

Thus, Simcenter Amesim offers co-simulation capabilities with Altair Flux and JMAG-RT. Moreover,  recently released Simcenter Amesim 17 supports the import of reduced Simcenter SPEED models, as you can see in the following video:

 

 

 

What is the value for the Simcenter Amesim Electric Motors and Drive solution users? 

They can now smoothly pass from a finite element model to a system simulation model without spending hours trying to understand the different software conventions, developing or maintaining complex scripts.

   

The link with other Simcenter solutions such as Simcenter SPEED, Simcenter Motorsolve and Simcenter MAGNET will be continuously strengthened in the upcoming Simcenter Amesim versions. 

Neural networks & digital twins change the O&M in the wind industry

Today wind power represents 4.4% of the total generated power. By 2030, this is to increase up to 20%. The challenges for wind turbine manufacturers are wide-ranging: the aerodynamic performance of the blades, reduce weight, keep noise and vibration levels under control, ensure a durable design and improve its overall system performance.

 

The gearbox is the most critical part of the wind turbine. Either you send a technician up the turbine and do a manual check, or you attach sensors to the gearbox and monitor the results remotely on a computer. Both approaches work to anticipate failures and allow turbine owners to schedule for repairs. Obviously, this comes at a price. A high price. Can’t this be done more cost-effective?

 

Predicting the remaining useful lifetime of each wind turbine gearbox

 

Winergy, a global key provider for wind energy in Germany, teamed up with the Simcenter Engineering experts of Siemens PLM Software to estimate the remaining useful lifetime (RUL) of a complete wind park. Let’s be a bit more specific: 78 wind turbines – 35 SCADA channels – historical data stored over 4 years.

 

The Simcenter Engineering specialists tackled this issue by combining 2 approaches:

 

  1. Neural Networks
    The neural network was fed with information from different SCADA channels on the gearbox in combination with service data. Gearbox temperatures were defined as the most representative signals for a possible failure. Next, the neural network was trained on how a turbine reacts in healthy and faulty conditions. Winergy and Simcenter experts used the technique to accurately predict and detect failures early on.

  2. Digital Twin
    A digital twin makes the bridge between a virtual representation and the physical product. It helps to understand and predict product performance characteristics. Wind turbine modeling was combined with physical validation measurements in 1 turbine to validate the digital twin model. The digital twin model is fed with historic loads extracted from the SCADA in order to predict the remaining useful lifetime of the bearings and gear teeth in each gearbox.

 

This combined approach limits the need for physical prototypes, reduces development time, and improves the quality of the finalized product. 

 

Want to know more? Join us next week at the 11th Annual Offshore Wind Europe Conference & Exhibition in London, UK. Wim Hendricx, Simcenter Engineering expert for the Energy sector, will present this application case on November 28 at 9:20 AM.   

 

Wim-Hendricx-Winergy-quote.jpg

 

Interesting links:

 

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Is this the electric vehicle that we’ve all been waiting for?

Uniti One is an EV that just makes more sense.

I have to confess: I have caught the Uniti fever. It all started last April when Werner Custers and I shot a little movie at the Uniti headquarters in Lund, Sweden, a hip university town about 30 minutes from Malmo. At this point, Uniti Sweden was still oozing that start-up vibe, but, unlike other stories I have followed over the years, the idea of the Uniti One, well, to paraphrase CEO Lewis Horne, it just made sense. Needless to say, I was hooked.

 

 

You probably noticed that Uniti One is a different kind of car. In a way, it is more of a driving experience than an automobile. Sure, it is a completely wired EV with four wheels, but it is designed for the new era of high-tech car ownership that includes things like car-sharing, subscription programs and possibly delivery-on-the-spot autonomous programs.

 

Uniti One Fleet _ Photo by Karl-Fredrik von Hausswolff.jpg

 

Definitely “not reinventing the wheel”

But the cool thing about Uniti is that the team didn’t stop with just reinventing the EV. Everything was up for disruption in the design and development chain. Need your NX model in VR? Just run it through a gaming engine and put on the VR goggles to see what happens. Forget the formal post-design feedback groups. Just put the car in a well-known electronics retailer for a while and ask to-be consumers what they really think. This disruption meant that the team moved fast – really fast.

 

A key secret to the speedy design process was the fact that Uniti adopted the digital twin idea from day one. The working digital twin, based on NX and Simcenter, was one of the main reasons that a very small team of young engineers could prototype three vehicles in four short months.

 

So what’s next?

After its start-up success, the team knew they had to change gears, roll up their sleeves and work on a production-ready version of Uniti One. They also knew they needed some serious automotive experience on the engineering side. This is why Sally Povolotsky recently joined Uniti.

 

As the Uniti Vehicle Development Director, she is working with her team of experienced automotive engineers at Uniti’s new R&D center in the High-Performance Technology and Motorsport (HPTM) cluster located around Silverstone, the iconic British F1 Grand Prix track. With some serious street cred in the EV and automotive industry, Sally knows what it takes to get a car on the roads of Europe and beyond. (See the attached pdf for the full story.)

 

Uniti One _ small _ Photo by Karl-Fredrik von Hausswolff.jpg

 

Save the planet

So with Uniti One shaping up nicely and an Industry 4.0 digital factory vision in place, Lewis Horne and the Uniti team seem to have their new automotive ecosystem literally on the right track towards a workable and sustainable future. From our side, we will definitely keep our eyes on events in the UK and Sweden for you. To be continued…

 

P.S. By the way, if you caught the Uniti fever as well: you can pre-order yours online for 149 euro at uniti.earth.

 

 

 

 

 

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