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Technical Focus


Optimization techniques are applied to improve the continuing challenges associated with the design of green energy devices, contributing in shaping sustainable processes.

BMW, Alenia Aermacchi, Ford, and other leading companies and research institutions rely on the modeFRONTIER design optimization platform to develop lighter products. 

Top industry players choose ESTECO technology to effectively set up design tasks associated with EV/HEV systems and to quickly identify the right engineering strategies to cope with highly constrained design problems. 

Boosting power-train system performance with modeFRONTIER

The powertrain design field is strongly affected by the global challenges facing the automotive sector, namely, the rapidly increasing complexity of control systems and engineering processes. Competition drives companies to engineer and produce powertrain components and systems that, over time, perform better, are more fuel efficient, less polluting and respond better to the increased complexity of design and mechanical operations and requirements. Final designs must therefore comply to stricter requirements relating to material surface properties and component shape and dimension without underestimating the constraints originating from the overall chassis structure and dynamics.

Design Challenges

Design optimization techniques are essential to powertrain systems design and put to use throughout at this multidisciplinary design process. Powertrain development encompasses several engineering domains: from the fluid and thermal dynamic analysis of gas, liquid and refrigerant systems, to mechanic, electric and electromagnetic aspects. modeFRONTIER achieves the effective integration of all the disciplines involved leading to optimal system performance, faster.

Starting from the preliminary design phase, modeFRONTIER is widely used to carry out performance optimization studies (finding the best compromise between specific fuel consumption and engine power output) as well as in cooling system pre-design. When designing the details of the system, the platform developed by ESTECO is used to incorporate durability considerations in the engineering of mechanical components and to perform 3D optimization of combustion chambers, cooling jackets, turbo chargers, etc. modeFRONTIER is further used for the calibration of simulation models to analyze engine-vehicle interaction, as well as in hybrid propulsion design to optimize the performance of electric motors, the energy balance between IC engines and electric motors, etc.

Last but not least, modeFRONTIER offers several advantages in HIL (Hardware In the Loop) optimization of both full-virtual or virtual/experimental control systems. In particular, mF4LV, the new light version of modeFRONTIER intended for LabVIEW users, is an essential tool for calibration and control optimization using engine test benches.

modeFRONTIER allows leading automotive OEMs and suppliers manufacturers to:

  • Identify optimal configuration and size of power-train systems and components (motors, controllers, and energy management)
  • Understand and enhance multi-disciplinary behavior at the system level – mechanical, electrical, thermal and magnetics
  • Develop optimal control strategies, power management, torque/speed coupling and vehicle dynamics
  • Enhance system safety and reliability thanks to the Robust Design Optimization tool MORDO

A few examples

Vehicle thermal management is a key issue for improving the fuel consumption. Though stimulating the thermal behavior and predicting the contribution on fuel economy are significantly effective, the simulation requires large amount of data that is not available in the early phase of vehicle development.

In the design of thermal system strategy at the early stage of vehicle development, a practical simulation approach is investigated. The simulation is characterized by optimization technique for sensitivity analysis and model identification.

For optimum engine performance, valve timing and lift profile needs to be optimized for a given breathing configuration dealing with engine speed and valves and port design and performance. During this project, mode FRONTIER helped engineers integrate GT models and replace the In-house optimization tool.

This paper presents a design approach of a turbo charger radial compressor for commercial diesel applications. The primary goal of the design is to maximize total to static efficiency at a specific mass flow rate and pressure ratio, while also providing useful performance at off design conditions (map width). The design of the impeller uses modeFRONTIER as the optimization driver, Concepts NREC AxCent as the geometry engine, and Concepts NREC pbCFD as aerodynamic analysis tool.

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