Streamlining part production with computer-aided and predictive engineering

Automotive manufacturers are under pressure to develop lighter vehicles that reach stringent carbon emission targets. In the European Union, CO2 emissions from new passenger vehicles are required to be below 95g/km by 2020, with further reductions beyond that, according to the EU CO2 standards for passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles by The International Council on Clean Transportation. As a result, the industry is modernising vehicle designs with a big push toward replacing metal parts with plastic.

Compared to metal, engineering plastics offer significant weight reduction and more design flexibility, enabling parts manufacturers to combine multiple functionalities into one component and reduce secondary processing steps. Since errors in automotive manufacturing can be catastrophic, validation testing of new parts is an increasingly vital process.

Consider the time and operational costs that come with failed validation tests. If a mold needs to be redesigned, multiple team members may be required to reprioritize their workload to make the new mold and adjust the tooling set-up. Even more time may go into multiple rounds of testing and adjusting gating points to prevent another failure. This can cause considerable delay before the part is ready for commercial production with the potential for serious economic impacts.

Combining expertise with data-drive insights

Computer-aided engineering (CAE) and predictive engineering (PE) applications are increasingly used in automotive validation testing since they help manufacturers bring parts to market faster. Working together with Digimat, DSM has invested in CAE and PE solutions that provide our customers with granular data on long-term part performance, including structural stiffness, susceptibility to warpage , vibration frequencies and modes (NVH), and long-term fatigue and creep (and the projected weight reduction for final part designs). By combining our proven expertise in material solutions with data-driven insights provided by Digimat, we help customers ensure new part designs are safe, reliable, and ready for commercial production—reducing the time to market and resource expenditure for retesting and retooling.

As a global leader in material solutions, DSM ensures customers and CAE/PE applications have the material data required to validate parts made from short glass fiber reinforced plastics, long glass fiber reinforced plastics, continuous fibers (UD tapes, and woven and braided composites), and rubber replacements (for fluid transfer hoses and anti-vibration systems).

Achieving maximum strength, flexibility

Part of what makes our PE application unique is the ability to conduct in-depth analyses on the alignment and position of fiber in materials. This additional data layer helps engineers achieve maximum strength and durability from the material being used to manufacture a new part.

Consider an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) finalizing a mold design. After production, they discover a breakage issue with the snap fits on the part. Fiber analysis capabilities determine the orientation of the glass fibers used to reinforce the polymer matrix for the part, and multiple predictive analyses are conducted to determine the optimal new gating location. This helps the manufacturer prevent breakage in the final product.  

At DSM, we are committed to supporting customers through every step of their design and manufacturing processes. As vehicle lightweighting continues to dominate the automotive industry, and more manufacturers switch from metal parts to plastic, the importance of validation testing will continue to grow. Computer-aided and predictive engineering help part designers get to a final validated design faster, reducing the time it takes to bring new parts to market.

To learn more about Digimat and DSM’s CAE and PE solutions contact us for additional information.

Paula Kruger

Application Development Engineer

Published on

03 October 2019


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Paula Kruger

Application Development Engineer

Paula Kruger is an application development engineer for Envalior Americas. Prior to joining Envalior, she worked in advanced material and quality control roles at Research in Motion (BlackBerry). She is an active member of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Section Board of Directors. Kruger earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, and went on to complete her master’s in chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo.

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