Automobiles across the world
whether electric, hybrid or the ones run on conventional fossil fuels are
manufactured by professionals with great engineering and design skills. These
skills have only been getting better over the years because of the splendid tools
(softwares) available to them from institutions such as Autodesk.
In order to learn more about new
softwares and to interact with industry bigwigs, thousands of professionals
from the industries of architecture, engineering, manufacturing, film and
games, along with students and global media recently came together in Las
Vegas, United States at Autodesk University annual flagship user event
organised by Autodesk Inc.
Autodesk is a leader in 3D
design, engineering and entertainment software. Since its introduction of
AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio
of 3D software for global markets.
On the one hand while Autodesk
softwares are put to use in industries like architecture, building,
construction, and media and entertainment industries—including the last 19
Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects, on the other, today’s automotive
players, whether big or small cannot ignore the immense contribution they make
to their industry in the design and development of products.
Speaking to Motown
India at the three-day event in Las Vegas, Diego R Tamburini,
Manufacturing Industry Strategist, Industry Strategy & Marketing, Autodesk,
Inc noted that for the automotive industry specifically, his company has
broadly five areas or segments: 1) Industrial Design and Visualisation, 2)
Mechanical Design & Engineering, 3) Systems Engineering, 4) Analyses &
Simulation and 5) Manufacturing Engineering.
“Industrial design and
visualisation tools encompass surfacing, marketing, hi res images for
visualisation and communication, etc. Mechanical Design and Engineering, takes
these industrial preliminary design, sketches and surfaces etc and actually
makes it into a manufacture ready definition.
Systems Engineering is the area where basically tools for integrating
mechanical, electronic and software design. It is basically a computer on
wheels. Analyses and Simulation involves mechanical simulation stresses,
formation, heat and composites, etc.
Manufacturing Engineering is actually on the production side. It
involves planning of the manufacturing processes like the sequence of
operation, the layout of machines in the factory flow, etc,” he explained.
Autodesk offers tools like
VRED (pronounced Fred as this has
become part of the company’s portfolio after acquisition of a German company) for
the automotive industry. Alias software is used by every automotive company in
their industrial design. “On the simulation side, we have Moldflow which is the
leading tool to simulate injection moulding. It was a recent acquisition,
around two to three years ago. Before that Autodesk was the biggest player in
injection moulding simulation. On the manufacturing side we have a tool by the
name of Delcam. It is a household name in manufacturing. It helps in generating
a code to drive the numerically controlled manufacturing machines like the
lathes, drills, milling machines, etc. From the 3D model, you take it into
Delcam and it generates instructions to manufacture,” he explained.
A big boon for
Autodesk softwares have helped
not only OEMs but also tier I, II, and III players in their businesses. Among
OEMs not just the big ones, but even start ups like Liverpool (England)-based Briggs
Automotive Company (BAC) have benefitted immensely in bringing out their
products (in their case the BAC Mono single seater sports car). In one of the Innovation
forums, “It’s a New Innovation Game, Baby”, Ian Briggs, Co-Founder, BAC
remarked, “We didn’t want a car for driving from point A to point B. We wanted
to create a piece of sports equipment for the extreme sport of driving...We
developed a clay model checked against our early sketches. All the time, with the dull, brown clay, we
needed to start playing around with design before it was digitised....We used
Autodesk CFD software to develop innovative solutions - sometimes solutions
that you wouldn’t normally even imagine.” Briggs told the audience that it was
indeed a big challenge for the transition of BAC as a design company into a car
BAC was set up by Ian and
Neill Briggs in 2009. Since then they have developed the Mono, a single seater
sports car for the uber rich (Mono pricing starts around $200,000). The BAC
design team also develops each Mono around the dimensions of the driver. That
is not all, everything about the car has an element of extreme refinement,
power and performance. The 2.5 litre four cylinder engine delivers 305 bhp and
does 0 to almost 100km in around 2.8 seconds. The car could not have got into
the real world had it not been for Autodesk softwares such as Alias AutoStudio,
Helius PFA, Inventor, Moldflow, PLM 360, Recap 360 and VRED.
Briggs Automotive Company
produces this highly bespoke single-seater supercar at their plant in England
and sells it to elite customers across the globe. Recently the company set up
its dealership in Hong Kong in order to address the Asia Pacific markets.
Said Diego R Tamburini, “One
customer of our which we are highlighting a lot is Briggs Automotive
Company....We love them because they are our customers. They are a small
company, for example they cannot do wind tunnel analyses because it is very
expensive. So they use our tools, especially computational fluid analyses, to
at least bring down their wind tunnel analyses. They fix most of their problems
virtually through software. At some point they have to go to the wind tunnel.
But without having to go there maybe ten times, they may have to go there
twice. They have said in their presentation before that they would not have been
able to compete if they did not have digital prototyping tools.”
Simon Alford, Sr. Manager,
Automotive Products, Autodesk Ltd, UK also agreed that the tools his company
offers are not only for major OEMs. “They are equally applicable to start ups.
We have a collection of tools to support start ups, from sketching, designing,
fast concept modelling, Alias surface modelling, simulation, etc and these
tools have empowered companies like BAC to create these beautiful and often
complex organic sculpted forms,” he stated.
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