Technical Expert MDO, Volvo Car Corporation
When developing a vehicle one needs to consider many requirements. The customer and legislation requirements are the most important ones, and the task consists of finding cost effective solutions to get a business case that meets all the requirements set. This becomes rather complex and challenging. It is usually not the technique behind the solutions that makes it complex, it is the work to find cost effective solutions that makes it complex.
Typically, the cost effective solutions are integrated in a sense that a single component or subsystem needs to support many different requirements. This ends up in cases with conflicting attributes where careful trade-off balancing has to be carried out. Systems Engineering as profession has grown significantly during the last decades and plays an important role when designing complex integrated systems. This applies particularly to the subject of determining the subsystems where optimization need to be done. In mature design areas the optimization teams are well established, with long experience of trade-off balancing. During their evolution, trial and error methods have also been part of finding the important relations between product design and customer attributes. Introducing new novel techniques based on Object Process Methodology (ISO Standard) speeds this process up, especially when dealing with new unknown areas.
A CAE portfolio of a modern company contains a multitude of different applications to be used for design, analysis and verification of components as well as of entire systems with respect to the customer and legislation requirements. The capability of modern CAE tools are improving at an ever increasing rate. The possibility for scripting batch jobs with modern tools enables automation of the CAE workflows as well. This is valuable from the design exploration point of view since it enables efficient scanning of the design space when searching for the optimal solutions. However, to get this efficient in a large organization where testing is the primary validation method, the CAE processes need to be aligned with those methods and their processes.
Today, optimization has without doubt become every engineer’s everyday tool for designing better products. Optimization is performed in many engineering areas such as CAD, FEM, CFD, multibody dynamics, 1D-simulation, controls development, etc. On the market there are many vendors that offer various kinds of tools for optimization. One can find different numerical optimization toolboxes in high-level mathematical applications. Other, more general purpose multi-disciplinary optimization tools offer direct integration of engineering tools providing automated workflows to be used for design exploration or optimization. Many engineering tools also offer embedded optimization plugin modules for their specific needs.
Techniques for process integration and design exploration are rapidly growing and are making their way into the PLM systems.The challenge with these tools lies in the management of the CAE processes in a good way to secure traceability of the engineers work. This presentation will give insights into the strategic work at VolvoCarCorporation on how to integrate Multi-Disciplinary Optimization into the product development process, and how to deal with the challenges. It will also contain a case study using tools provided by one of our suppliers.