Industry Case Study: Electronics & Semiconductor

Brunner Elektronik

From CAD screen straight to the cockpit.

Control and drive system specialist

Brunner Elektronik’s day-to-day challenge is to perfectly combine mechanical and electrical components into comprehensive solutions. Its customers’ high design standards challenge the processes used throughout product development, driving Brunner to achieve optimal results in visual design, functionality assessment and thermal simulation. Thanks to Solid Edge® software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software, Brunner can develop products quickly and efficiently.

For 47 years, Brunner Elektronik has been producing custom control and drive systems, sophisticated assemblies and complex integrated solutions. Located at Hittnau, near Zürich, Switzerland, the company is renowned for its deep expertise in power electronics and mechatronic systems.

Brunner primarily designs and manufactures to individual specifications, mainly for customers in the machinery, medical and simulation technology industries. To serve these customers, the company runs a complete mechanical production shop with state-of-the-art computer numerical control (CNC) milling and turning machines, as well as everything needed to design, engineer and manufacture mechanical parts.

Using Solid Edge computer-aided design (CAD) software, Brunner engineers can optimize their designs in minute detail prior to production, and perform simulations using digital prototypes. Brunner Elektronik is currently using Solid Edge with the Insight™ design data management solution. “These capabilities enable us to improve product quality and fulfill our customers’ requirements faster,” says Robert Brunner, founder and owner, Brunner Elektronik. The company has been using Solid Edge with great success for 10 years.

Intuitive operation, superior productivity

Brunner is an electronics engineer with passion. He puts all his faith in Solid Edge, having acquainted himself with the software more than 10 years ago, and has used it for increasingly complex customer projects.

His son, Thomas Brunner, is head of the company’s mechanical department. He and his colleagues work with Solid Edge to design housings and printed circuit boards (PCBs). “What I particularly like about Solid Edge is its intuitive usability,” Thomas Brunner says.

“I was able to use the software for production work after a very short time. Having worked with a well-known competing product for testing purposes, I must say that by comparison, Solid Edge has fully convinced me. It has a good, comprehensible structure and design, which is a great plus.”

Accelerated development cycles and fast reaction to changes from customers require Brunner Elektronik to work with great efficiency to reduce costs. By optimizing the implementation of customer requirements within predefined, tight schedules, Brunner and his team can bring new products to market well ahead of competitors. The company can generally act with greater flexibility, which helps it compete in fiercely competitive international markets.

From complex mechatronic assemblies, all the way to documentation

At Brunner Elektronik, Solid Edge is used not only for mechanical design but also for electrical and electronic design tasks.

Mechatronic designs require the integration of electronic components, and limited space frequently poses quite a challenge for the design engineers and in production. The software also includes useful tools for finding optimal, technically mature solutions in heat sink design. “We use Solid Edge for electronic components a lot,” says Thomas Brunner.

“There, multibody simulation capabilities of the software are important to us. Using simulation, we can trace movements to see immediately whether parts collide or get stuck. It takes the most current CAD technology to facilitate virtual design. Solid Edge is perfectly suited for this.”

With the broad range of Solid Edge functions for part modeling, exploded views, photorealistic rendering and frame design, and with add-on capabilities for simulation, cable harness design, injection mold design and additional assembly applications, Brunner Elektronik can quickly produce product videos for customers. Particularly for smaller businesses, this capability opens doors not only across design, engineering and production operations, but also for marketing purposes.

For Thomas Brunner, these are distinct competitive advantages that he had the opportunity to test and fully exploit in completing another recent project: the core component of a flight simulator. He explains, “In the computer simulation, you can see all movements of the entire platform in detail. This is quite a thrill ‒ also, of course, for our customers.

We can also use Solid Edge in the creation of all the documentation. The renderings are so realistic we effectively do not need to have photos made anymore.” Eliminating the need for photographs also means significant cost savings.

The Brunner Elektronik design office is frequently met with requests from domestic and international aerospace customers, for which the motion simulation, collision detection and structural strength calculations of Solid Edge are particularly useful.

For the design department, working with Solid Edge helps realize significant overall design time reduction. The software also serves an important role in fulfilling the rigid traceability requirements for product certifications.

Furthermore, the automatic collision detection and comprehensive integration of interfaces to other processes are vitally important and extremely practical in prototyping. At the touch of a button, all component data is transferred to the central system, where all settings for the milling machine are generated automatically. “By comparison with when we created drawings manually, this alone saves a significant amount of time,” Thomas Brunner says.

He adds, “What I like most about Solid Edge is its superior usability.”

Challenges

  • Develop and produce products more efficiently
  • Transition to 3D CAD/CAM system
  • Simplify processes, from design to prototyping and production
  • Fulfill customer requirements

Keys To Success

  • Simulation with digital prototypes
  • Design agility and flexibility
  • Data consistency and interfaces to CAM
  • Collaboration across various development departments

Results

  • Significant time savings
  • Simplified processes
  • Minimized risk
  • Cost reduction with good cost-benefit ratio
  • Faster time-to-market
  • Workload reduction

 

Download The PDF Here

Download The PDF Here

Design freedom and production reliability

Designing freeform geometries that optimally balance requirements for ergonomics, electronics, and injection molding processes can take small businesses to their limits. These challenges make service providers such as Brunner Elektronik, with its specialized expertise, an important partner.

A recent example project is an aircraft control stick, designed and engineered with Solid Edge, from start to finish, by Robert Brunner. Thomas Brunner had initially tried various other software products, concluding that there were other software packages that could easily do the modeling, but the resulting data could not be used by the plastics specialist. The company then adopted Solid Edge.

With comprehensive support from Robin Vornholt, senior consultant at bytics AG, a Siemens PLM Software channel partner and systems integrator based at nearby Volketswil, the entire Brunner Elektronik design team successfully entered the 3D world of Solid Edge. The individual training provided by bytics laid the foundation for the company to become proficient with the operation of the system and its many modules and add-ons, and to exploit its high-value functionality.

Brunner Elektronik also worked with bytics to implement the Solid Edge with Insight document management system. “We are quite satisfied with it,” says Thomas Brunner. “It has been working flawlessly for years now. We have been talking to the same bytics people from the start. It is important to us that the support engineers are familiar with our system and that there is always someone there for us. We are absolutely happy with their support.”

The first series of the control stick and the associated control unit was produced and delivered, and a second batch is already in stock at Hittnau. For Robert Brunner, it is quite clear that training is crucial to success. “Training should, in no event, be omitted,” he says. “The software has a lot to offer, much of which would go undiscovered without training.”

Thanks to the sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, freeform design capabilities of Solid Edge, Brunner Elektronik now receives growing numbers of queries from the aerospace industry for extraordinarily complex assemblies such as joysticks. “Because we can implement individual customer requirements with great flexibility, we are in an even better starting position,” notes Thomas Brunner.

A notable edge: synchronous technology

Customer requirements have changed a great deal since Brunner Elektronik was founded. The solutions have evolved from single components and devices to comprehensive control solutions. “Today, customers want comprehensive turnkey solutions from a single source – without any interface issues,” Thomas Brunner explains. “This presents manufacturers like Brunner Elektronik with new challenges. We are constantly looking for new and optimal tools, and Solid Edge ideally supports this search. It gives us the ability to react to customer requirements fast and with great flexibility. Time-to-market is a critical factor as well. Additional processes such as rapid prototyping and 3D modeling help us find and implement final solutions quickly.” These capabilities enable the company to create products without costly and time-consuming prototyping and metalworking processes, and to begin effective production with the first piece.

Brunner Elektronik also values the direct modeling capabilities made possible by the synchronous technology capability of Solid Edge. “We have a large customer who is using another well-known CAD software product,” says Robert Brunner. “Thanks to synchronous technology, modifications to their designs and building new models work absolutely flawlessly, and so does data exchange with third-party software in general.”

Mastering challenges, crossing frontiers

Another challenge mastered by Thomas Brunner and his team is the interaction between internal computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and CNC, Microsoft’s Excel® spreadsheet software and Solid Edge with Insight. Intense cooperation within engineering fosters quality and eliminates errors. “Possible data errors are identified and possible interface problems can be resolved immediately, allowing us to cross frontiers,” says Thomas Brunner. “In the future, distances will also lose their relevance, since work can be done using the same system with the same image, which facilitates much faster action.” Brunner also emphasizes the importance of interfaces to downstream processes: “Interface functionalities to subsequent processes can be implemented error-free, and this also minimizes the risk for our company.”

High-performance solution with a good cost-benefit ratio

“Interaction with customers and suppliers can be greatly improved, risks can be limited or eliminated at an early stage and our time-to-market is much shorter,” says Thomas Brunner. “With Solid Edge, we have acquired a high-performance solution with a very favorable cost-benefit ratio that substantially relieves and supports us in our daily work.”

Brunner Elektronik perceives other distinct benefits. Solid Edge makes it possible to use visualization to point out critical issues to customers in the virtual design stage, to pace the project with them, and to discuss issues. “For us, paperless documentation is of the essence,” says Robert Brunner. “We have more or less everything screen-based. I am at a loss trying to imagine how I worked with 2D drawings not so long ago. This was and is a great achievement in more than one respect.”

After using Solid Edge for 10 years, Thomas Brunner is also thoroughly convinced: “This software is stable and we are totally satisfied. “We can implement virtually everything in-house. Customers benefit directly from this flexibility, and the consequential cost savings represent represents another great benefit for Brunner Elektronik.”

Learn more about EDGE plm software:

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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Join Our Solid Edge ST8 Training Courses:

EDGE plm understands the importance and training to the successful adoption of our products. However no two companies are the same and their training requirements often require a different or tailored approach which is why we have developed our flexible approach to training and mentoring.

We offer scheduled classroom-style training, bespoke training to suit customer requirements as well as one to one mentoring for any of our customers around Australia and New Zealand. Our Solid Edge training courses are created with the aim to get participants up to speed with current industry software quickly and effectively, giving you and your company the competitive edge.

Our experienced and qualified instructors run a range of training courses designed to suit your exact requirements, whether this consists of scheduled classroom training at our offices, customised courses delivered at your site, or online sessions.

Please call us on 1300 883 653 or send us an email [email protected] for our latest training schedule or to enquire about specialised training and mentoring services.

Solid Edge Foundation Part 1

This course is the follow on from the initial foundation course. It covers a foundation review, providing an opportunity to revisit and answer any questions from the initial course. It covers Drafting in [...]

Solid Edge Foundation Part 2

This course is the follow on from the initial foundation course. It covers a foundation review, providing an opportunity to revisit and answer any questions from the initial course. It covers Drafting in far [...]

Solid Edge Sheet Metal & Framing

The course focuses on sheet metal design tools, from the creation of simple sheet metal folded parts to the adding of deformation features and the subsequent creation of flat pattern blanks and 2D drawings. [...]

Solid Edge Surfacing

Delegates attending this course must have completed the foundation course or have been using Solid Edge for a minimum of 3 months. This course offers an introduction to the concepts of surface modelling, particularly [...]

Solid Edge Advanced Assembly

This course is designed for users that wish to improve their overall Assembly knowledge and students will be given instruction on how to make full use of the advanced assembly modelling functions for both [...]

Solid Edge Advanced Part Modelling

The course aims to improve the productivity of users when designing with Solid Edge. It includes a knowledge assessment test and sessions aimed at the correct approach to advanced modelling techniques for parts and [...]

Femap 101 Training Course

Talk to us to find more details and the next available course. This course designed to improve the productivity of users when designing with Femap. It includes a knowledge assessment test and sessions aimed at [...]

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Simcenter Amesim 2019.1: top 4 reasons to upgrade


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We are proud to introduce Simcenter Amesim 2019.1

 

With this version, we accelerate the software delivery model to provide access to new enhancements every 6 months, while maintaining focus on the technical excellence.

 

The latest release helps you build digital twins faster and earlier in the design cycle by democratizing access to system simulation. By further extending Modelica® support and integration with other Simcenter solutions, version 2019.1 enables you to set up a unique toolchain throughout various development phases and teams.

 

Among many other enhancements, new capabilities in Simcenter Amesim 2019.1 focus on the 4 main areas:

  • vehicle electrification,
  • aircraft systems performance engineering,
  • controls engineering
  • system simulation efficiency and ease of use.

Find out top 10 functionalities in 3 minutes:

 

 

Let us walk you through the major new capabilities in these 4 areas.

 

 #1 Vehicle electrification

 

  • Simcenter Motorsolve model import
  • Simcenter Battery Design Studio import for equivalent circuit battery models
  • Ready-to-use air cooled battery pack demonstrators

Many industries, such as automotive, aerospace, off-highway and marine, are making the shift toward e-mobility. After introducing the capability to import from Simcenter SPEED in the previous release, the latest Simcenter Amesim version reinforces its integration with other Simcenter solutions that support electrification challenges.

 

Simcenter-Amesim2019.1-Simcenter-Motorsolve-import.png

 

Using the same app for linear and nonlinear variants, you can import permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) parameters from Simcenter Motorsolve to test your machine in the vehicle context earlier in the design cycle. 

 

Find out more in this blog post.

 

 

Moreover, battery equivalent circuit models from Simcenter Battery Design Studio can be imported into Simcenter Amesim 2019.1 to obtain a shared battery model. You can visualize parameters of the imported model before using them in Simcenter Amesim. For more details, read this article

 

New demonstrators allow you to easily re-use the complete battery pack model based on geometry, identify critical temperatures for controls design, apply a documented methodology for model reduction as well as integrate the reduced battery model into your vehicle energy management analysis.

 

 

#2 Aircraft systems performance engineering 

 

  • Upgraded CAD import capabilities for fuel systems
  • Enhanced postprocessing apps and scaling tool for aircraft engine and gas turbine
  • New rotorcraft engine demonstrators with the recuperated cycle and series hybrid variant

To support the aerospace industry, the latest release of Simcenter Amesim comes with upgraded CAD import Simcenter-Amesim-2019.1-CAD-import.PNGcapabilities that enable users to easily create rib submodels and generate all the required tank and rib data files. Therefore, you can drastically reduce the time required for creating data files and organizing your output files. Moreover, the new rib submodel allows users to account for flowing areas, speeding up parameterization while improving accuracy.


By using the enhanced postprocessing apps and scaling tool when exploring new gas turbine configurations, users can easily derive scaled performance maps starting from reference maps and looking at the surge margin.

 


Users can benefit from two rotorcraft engine demonstrators that are derived from a validated engine model. The first derivative is a recuperated engine cycle and the second is a series hybrid variant assessed during an oil and gas mission.

 

 

#3 Controls engineering

 

  • Extracting a nested signal bus
  • New tool for proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controller calibration
  • New real-time components for thermal and valvetrain systems

With the industry shift towards connected, software-intensive, complex products, Simcenter Amesim 2019.1 offers a large set of new or enhanced capabilities for controls design and validation to enable you to simultaneously optimize the mechanics, electronics and software as an integrated system.

 

You can now use signal buses to manage data transfers between physical subsystems. This redesigned capability facilitates visualization of all data flowing through any given bus component and simplifies information propagation across nested buses.

 


In addition, the latest release comes with a new tool for PID controller calibration, which is associated with two demos for speed and position control. Hence, you can visualize closed-loop step response and check the robustness with stability margins. 

Whether you are a system designer who just wants to quickly make the PID controller work, or a control expert interested in stability margins, find out the step-by-step process in this article

 

 

Additionally, new real-time components of thermal and valvetrain systems will allow you to greatly reduce CPU time and run hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) simulations.

 

#4 System simulation efficiency and ease of use 

 

  • New Modelica compiler and full Modelica Standard Library (MSL) v3.2.2 support
  • Model conversion from hydraulic to thermal-hydraulic domain
  • Two-phase flow thermodynamic cycle analysis app 
  • Valve builder

To boost the efficiency of your system simulation activities, Simcenter Amesim now offers you full MSL 3.2.2 support and greater openness thanks to Modelon’s compiler, which is integrated into this Simcenter Amesim version. You can easily couple Modelica and native Simcenter Amesim library components: Using Modelica Editor enables you to automatically import Modelica models into Simcenter Amesim and get the best of both.

 

 

Moreover, existing hydraulic models can be converted into thermal-hydraulic models with one click while maintaining model structure and parameters. 


With a new app for two-phase flow thermodynamic cycle predesign, within just a few seconds you can assess steadystate cycle performance by adapting your design points from predefined cycles. Watch how this app works in the demo here. 


Finally, the latest improvements in valve builder functionality allow users to create pilot-operated directional valves and connect them to the hydraulic or pneumatic pilot stage, as well as integrate nonreturn valves into the design of your directional valve to avoid unnecessary volumes and dynamics.

 

 

Stay tuned

 

Those are only a few of the major capabilities introduced to Simcenter Amesim 2019.1. For instance, a large set of capabilities has been introduced for shipbuilding as well as for internal combustion engine vehicles helping automotive manufacturers to meet the RDE standard. 

 

Want to know more?

- Don't miss our blog posts and how-to articles

- Contact your local Siemens PLM office

- Upgrade your Simcenter Amesim license

 

 

Turning up the heat: ensuring efficiency in high temperature processes

Humans have used fire for thousands of years. From cooking meat to make it easier to eat and digest, to firing pottery to make watertight containers, to managing grass or moorlands through controlled burning, fire has been a vital tool for many aspects of human existence. These days, combustion is used in many industrial processes. These may be less visible to the general public, but are essential to produce materials and products used by everyone on a daily basis. Coal burners, dryers and kilns, and steel furnaces are just some of the areas where high temperature processes and combustion are used.

 

GettyImages-178607562.jpgIndustrial gas furnaces are used in many chemical processes

Today, process engineers must ensure these high temperature processes are as efficient as possible: inefficient processes lead to costly and excessive energy consumption, with the potential of excess emissions and non-optimal product yields. The use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to virtually investigate high temperature processes is now an established design tool in many industries, including the process industry, but are you using it to its full potential?

 

This on-demand webinar takes a look at recent advances in simulation capabilities in Simcenter STAR-CCM+, which make simulation and optimization of combustion processes even easier. Our technical experts will cover:

  • Recent advances in CAD maneuverability for geometry setup
  • Different reaction modeling approaches available in Simcenter STAR-CCM+
  • Combining CFD and design space optimization for intelligent geometry optimization

HighTempSim_1980x1080.jpgOptimize burner geometry via simulation

Successful use of simulation is enabling process engineers to reduce design costs and create innovative, efficient designs. Join us to learn more, and discover how CFD can help to optimize your high temperature processes.

Simulation Automation

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There’s no doubt about it: simulation is delivering value in product development.

 

Some are avoiding multiple rounds of prototypes. Some are reducing the cost of goods in products. Some are making designs both lighter and stronger simultaneously. Some are coming up with more innovative designs that work functionally. Overall, many companies are reaping the benefits of applying simulation early and throughout the design cycle. And if there are any issues with simulation, it’s that managers seem to want more.

 

So how can an engineering team get more productivity out of their analysis tools? One clear answer is automation. It removes repetitive tasks from users hands, allowing them to concentrate on the value-added aspect of simulation. It also promotes standard best practices across a company. Here are some capabilities that do just that.

 

Macros

 

One of the most simple, yet valuable, ways to automate a simulation process is to leverage macros.

The idea is straightforward. A user can record a sequence of user interface interactions, such as selecting menu options or entering values. This sequence of actions is then mapped to a trigger, often a specific combination of keyboard keys or mouse buttons. Then, whenever the users want to initiate that sequence of actions, they simply hit the trigger.

 

This approach provides the most value when applying repeated actions within the same model. It reduces repetitive work for the user. However, it also eliminates any potential human error likely to occur in a heavily repeated action. Furthermore, executing macros happens very quickly, far faster than the sequence of actions could be executed by hand. Lastly, macros are an opportunity to apply analysis standards across a company.

 

In all, macros allow users to avoid repetitive work, reduce human error, accelerate their simulation processes, and distribute analysis standards.

 

Templates

 

Where macros automate repetitive tasks within a simulation model, analysis templates automate entire sets of tasks by offering an accelerated starting point.

 

Analysis model templates include standards that should be included in all simulations of that type. For some cases, a template might include a parametric model of a pump that has already been meshed to the correct level of detail. For other cases, a template might include standard loading cases based on data collected from physical tests. For yet others, a template might encompass all of the standard materials and their properties that are officially approved by a company.

 

Templates, however, do not just apply to entire models. Loads and boundary conditions can be applied as templates. Solver selections, method selections, and their corresponding parameters might be included in a template.

 

The value in templates is also straightforward. Templates simply allow users to avoid creating everything from scratch. They start their process several steps farther than a clean sheet. But just as importantly, templates are another way to distribute best and standard practices within a company.

 

Simulation Workflows

 

A different kind of automation builds on top of templates. Simulation workflows apply the concept of workflows to simulation.

 

The idea here is that each analysis template requires several inputs to be run. Once those are provided, the simulation can be solved, producing a number of outputs. With simulation workflows, the outputs from one analysis is fed as inputs to another analysis. This chain of simulations can be used to connect disparate types of engineering physics that are interrelated. For example, a fluids dynamics analysis of a wing would yield loads that are then passed on to a structural analysis of the internal stringers. In another example, a complex combustion analysis of a turbine engine would pass temperature fields to a structural analysis of a turbine blade.

 

Such simulation workflows can be used to automate very complicated analyses, but they can also provide guidance to novice users as well. They simply ask for standard inputs and produce standard outputs that can be interpreted.

The value here is more advanced than in other cases. Expert users can automate an entire complex simulation process. Novice users get guidance on how to complete a range of analyses, ranging from the simplest to incredibly complex. Both use cases deliver value.

 

Application Extensions

 

The last, but not least important, means of automating simulation is through application extensions.

Here, a company will build out new functionality by coding software extensions to an analysis application. This is done using an Application Programming Interface (API) toolkit, which often is an externally available version of the code used to build the analysis application by the software provider.

 

This toolkit can be used to build brand new functionality on top of the solution. This functionality can dramatically automate simulation processes and procedures. It can add completely new interfaces such as dialog boxes and menus. It can tweak or modify how the application prepares models and passes them to solvers.

 

The toolkit can also be used to integrate with specialized homegrown simulation tools. Doing so allows data and other information to be passed back and forth between the applications. This is applicable when the company is dealing with custom calculations, ranging in complexity from programmed spreadsheets to their own internal software.

 

The value here is strong. Companies that seeking new ways to automate the simulation process has an opportunity to build it the way they want with the API. Companies with custom applications for specialize calculations can wrap their work into the simulation software.

 

Recap

  • Companies that are looking to get more value out of simulation can look to automation, which comes in a variety of flavors.
  • Macros allow users to record and then execute a sequence of actions through a trigger. This is of value to users repeatedly applying the same actions within an analysis model.
  • Templates allow users to accelerate their simulation process, applying and reusing prior analysis work.
  • Simulation workflows stitch the output of one analysis to the input of another, enabling the automation of several interconnected simulations.
  • Application extensions add new capabilities to existing tools by coding with the software’s API toolkit. This is an opportunity for automation or integration with a company’s custom analysis application.

Automation can provide a lot of additional value to companies already leveraging analysis. What has your experience been with simulation automation? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

 

Siemens PLM provides a range of capabilities that directly address automation of modern simulation processes. For more details on how FEMAP addresses these needs, download our complimentary eBook.

Electric vehicle NVH challenges: The mindset and tools you will need

 

 

The question of the day is – would you buy an electric vehicle (EV) today?


Maybe. Although, during the upcoming years, you are more likely to answer: “Yes!”. Let’s face it. Avere, the European association for electromobility, estimates that there are already 1 265 441 passenger electricity powered cars driving around the Europe, using 161 426 public charging points. And both numbers will increase in near future. Countries world-wide are introducing the mobility visions promoting and supporting electric cars (e.g. Electromobility in Germany: Vision 2020 and Beyond,etc.). According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 55% of all new car sales and 33% of the global fleet will be electric by 2040.

 

Electric car development hits bumps in the road


However, there are also some important bottlenecks that cause reluctance to switch to electric cars. One of the most important is the driving range of the electric vehicles. The EV development teams strive to reduce the vehicle weight to increase the driving range. But reducing weight of the vehicle chassis and body is not given! Finding the optimal balance between vehicle weight and performance attributes, such as durability, NVH, ride and handling, becomes more important than ever. Yes, you need to increase the driving range, but on the cost of reduced durability performance that could lead to earlier vehicle damage. Also, reducing vehicle weight can deteriorate handling performance. It means your vehicle may lose stability when performing certain driving maneuvers.


Here is another engineering dilemma - how do you balance the vehicle body stiffness while keeping up with the right NVH characteristics? At Siemens Simcenter, we recognize these challenges and we aim to provide our customers with solutions for different vehicle development teams to tackle all these problems and help to find optimal lightweight vehicle conditions without loss in performance.
What are the other electrical cars development shifts?

 

Simcenter Sound Camera for EV Development.jpg

 

Electric vehicle noise in the spotlight

The trend towards electrical vehicles poses both challenges as well as opportunities for car developers. The absence of the internal combustion engine (ICE) changes the signature of the interior cabin noise dramatically. The most obvious game changer is the fact, that the withdrawal of the traditional powertrain unveils the other noise contributors or make them more audible and prominent. In 2011, G. Goetchius (Leading the Charge – The Future of Electric Vehicle Noise Control, Sound & Vibration) estimated the noise contributors in ICE vehicles and predicted the noise morphology in the electrical ones. According this publication back then, in the traditional ICE vehicles, the biggest noise contributor is the powertrain followed by the road, wind and ancillary system noise. While in electrical vehicles, the road noise and wind are the most dominant noises. And what’s more, the new structure reveals noises that were originally masked by the combustion engine (such as ancillary system - whine gears, steering rack, air conditioning system, wipers, ABS module, pumps etc.).

 

EV vs ICE vehicles NVH challenges.jpgEV vs ICE vehicles NVH challenges

 

Without any surprises, the structural changes in electric vehicle noise will need new engineering approaches to optimize the NVH performance with appealing sound quality.
Here are three strategies you should focus on to make the ride in your electrical vehicle to sound as a symphony.

 

Act on the present noise source

Firstly, you may need to find the noise root cause and act on it. Depending of the origin of the noise source, different NVH analysis techniques are required. Reducing wind noise, for instance, happens most effectively in wind tunnels. These allow to effectively isolate the wind noise from other noise sources and find the most effective measures to reduce this annoying source. However, as these tests are extremely costly, it is crucial to test with extremely efficient measurement techniques. The use of industrialized testing processes based on large beamforming arrays that allow identification of the exterior noise sources, and use this data to decide what to test next, becomes more and more a reference.

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Road noise needs to be handled with effective and reliable techniques, such as transfer path analysis (TPA). This technique allows to pinpoint the noise critical paths on the chassis and car body contributing to the interior noise. To be able to handle the complexity and closely spaces loads of suspension systems, more advanced techniques such as strain-based TPA becomes another necessary building block.

For other auxiliaries, the key information can be provided by wide toolset of NVH tests and analysis techniques. And again, for many of these subsystems the traditional transfer path analysis (TPA) can help to identify the component or structure causing the noise issue.
Acting on the noise source, however, does not always provide solutions early enough. In case it is not too late in the vehicle development cycle, the responsible team can proceed with component design adaptations and improvements. But in real life, there are situations, when design adaptations are impossible or cause conflict with other attributes (such as weight, durability, etc.). Or often, the results of the TPA leads to pragmatic and expensive additions of damping and trimming to the vehicle. The disadvantage is that damping material increases the vehicle weight - which will directly reduce the vehicle range, add extra cost and prolong the vehicle assembly. What’s more, this strategy is limited and doesn’t offer an optimal solution in all the cases.

 

Master the electric vehicle sound quality including active sounds

There is good news. The shifted noise structure of the electric vehicle brings an option to add new noises. This opens an opportunity to create new and pleasant driving experience for your customers. From this perspective, sound quality engineering is the key tool to develop high-performing sounds within the vehicle. This technology is currently gaining ground in the automotive industry.
It all starts with the acquisition of realistic sound data, including for instance binaural recording. Secondly, to be able to analyze the acquired sounds, you can proceed with audio replay, using different filtering and analysis through different sound quality metrics. And finally, you shall organize a Jury testing, which is based on subjective audio perception. Sound quality engineering combines objective analysis metrics with subjective analysis. This strategy will provide you with detailed insights to find answers to questions like – what do the customers like to hear? What sounds do they prefer in different corners of the world?

 

Simcenter Testlab Neo Jury testing.jpgSimcenter Testlab Jury testing for EV NVH development

Another application, where sound quality is currently gaining importance, is the exterior artificial sounds generated by the acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS). This system warns pedestrians of an approaching vehicle. Developing new exterior warning sounds is something of a novelty. Different countries around the globe currently impose new certification requirements for electrical cars. Car producers need to design and certify warning sounds that the electrical cars must exceed traveling at low speeds.  Anc at the same time, automotive OEMs are highly concerned about the perception of the new vehicle sounds. Designing new artificial sounds that reflect the brand DNA requires the right toolset for sound quality engineering.

 

Speed up vehicle development time by blending simulation and testing together

To keep up with the market, automotive OEMs need to react fast and develop advanced vehicle models rapidly. This creates the need to take control of the vehicle NVH performance as quickly as possible, earlier in the development cycle ever. This translates into the demand to be able to predict the component or subsystems behavior before integrating them into the vehicle. In practice, this also leads to introduction of new technology that merges the simulation and physical testing together throughout the vehicle development cycle. While in the past simulation and testing where two separate worlds, the future evolves more into hybrid approaches. This concept can drastically impact and improve the development time.
Component-based TPA is one example (here you can find a related white paper). The compelling combination of test and simulation enables the NVH engineers to predict the final vehicle NVH performance before assembling the first full prototype. In a nutshell, this technology enables you to predict a component or subsystems behavior prior to integration. Consequently, it enables the dream to create a virtual vehicle prototype by assembling different components (e.g. electrical engine, suspension system, body, etc.). Component-based TPA is very powerful concept not only because you may get an accurate prediction of the vehicle NVH behaviour in development stage, when implementing design improvements is still easier. But also, the component-based TPA enables you to work with a standardized platform to virtually assembly countless vehicle variations with much lower time investments.


Another example is the trend to combine 1D simulation and test in a more hybrid approach, so called Model-based system testing (MBST). With MBST technology, the use of physical component in combinations with 1D models becomes more and more the industry standard. 

 

Simcenter EV NVH testing.jpg

 

These are the key trends in NVH testing that will drive electrical vehicles development in near future. Besides, it is important to realize, that is not only the product changing. It is also the OEM’s frame-work that will change soon too. There will be new requirements and expectations that team members will have to fulfil and skills the engineers will need to learn.
Are you interested to understand the EV development trend in more detail? Check out this website to find more details.

 

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