CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE, the Winning Partner for the DUT Racing Team

By Thierry

Dutch university students from TU Delft had only nine months to design and build a new version of their electric car that they hoped would once again lead them to victory in the 2014 edition of the Formula Student competition.

The team used design and simulation technology from Dassault Systèmes’  3DEXPERIENCE platform to design the DUT14, an electric car featuring numerous improvements over last year’s model.

Global Design Competition

Every year, some of the world’s brightest engineering students pool their talents to design what they hope will be the winning car in the annual Formula Student competition. It is an opportunity for 500 teams from all over the world to put their skills and imaginations to work during their free time, including evenings, weekends and holidays, for a good portion of the school year. In addition to the challenge, it is a tribute to the engineers who founded this competition over 30 years ago. “This international design competition was the idea of the Society of Automotive Engineers who thought that students graduating from engineering school did not have sufficient practical design experience, nor the right project management and team-working skills,” explained Tim de Morée, team leader, Formula Student team at TU Delft in the Netherlands. “So they designed the Formula Student competition to enable them to acquire all three.” Students must design, build, test and drive a formula-type racing car as well as create an associated business plan for potential investors. Contestants’ entries are judged based on a series of tests that include speed, design, safety, reliability, and cost.

Delft University of Technology is a repeat participant in this competition and winner of numerous Formula Student races in the past.

Tim de Morée is this year’s leader of TU Delft’s 86 students team. Once again the students attempted to outperform the other teams in three key races – Formula Student United Kingdom (FSUK), Formula Student Germany (FSG) and Formula Student Austria (FSA) – with their new and improved DUT14. “You may think that after designing 13 cars that we benefit from our past experiences and know-how,” de Morée said. “This is not entirely true since 80% of the team is new to this competition. The other 20% are the few alumni who participated in this year’s adventure providing us with their design and project management expertise.” As a result, de Morée’s team completely redesigned a vehicle from scratch. The four-wheel drive car has four equal motors that enable the car to accelerate even faster and to regenerate energy on all wheels while braking. “This constant reuse of energy allowed us to choose a much smaller and lighter battery package,” de Morée said.

Engineering Firm.com

The team is run like a small engineering company with students working in one of five departments: electronics, powertrain, vehicle dynamics, chassis and aerodynamics. “Team members are responsible for designing a part, for example the steering system or electrical wire harness. Only the most standard parts such as dampers or sensors were purchased from suppliers but we tried to do as much as we could by ourselves.”

The DUT14 was designed and tested using solutions from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Every “department” completed its objectives using the 3DEXPERIENCE solutions. For example, students used CATIA for their design work and the analysis and simulation solution SIMULIA to test their design concepts. “This was very beneficial due to our tight schedule and limited resources,” Marinus van des Meijs, chief engineer, said. “We had only nine months to complete the project, of which three were dedicated to design.”

Lighter, More Energy Efficient

One of the team’s objectives this year was to make the car lighter than last year. “With a lighter car we improve energy efficiency and performance when accelerating or braking,” van des Meijs explained. “The DUT14 weighed 155 kg, down from last year’s model, which weighed an already light 179 kg. We owe this success in part to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and its integrated simulation solutions, which enabled us to test each design iteration with amazing speed and precision. “All five departments of our company shared the same designs so when one group made changes, the others saw the updated design in real-time,” van des Meijs said. “Moreover, design history was capitalized, which allowed us to go back to previous design versions if needed at the push of a button.

Most of all, potential design problems were detected early on and not when we were physically assembling the car, which would have hurt our timing.”

Also new this year were the tires for the DUT14. “We designed them ourselves this time and made them wider, with a smaller outer radius and lighter than last year,” van des Meijs said. “We believed it would improve performance. Here again, without the 3DEXPERIENCE platform we would not have been able to test if our design caused interferences when steering. We were able to look at 55 different design iterations with CATIA before finding the right configuration.

The electrical department used the CATIA Electrical solution to define the wire layout, splice positions and wire lengths. “CATIA helped us to position our wiring in the most efficient way while keeping total mass on par with last year’s model,” van des Meijs said. “It is also important to allow slack where the connectors are and not in the rest of the wire harness. CATIA helped us place them exactly where we wanted. One key value of CATIA Electrical is its ability to quickly produce a precise design for routing. We used the Flattening feature to create the wiring drawings at a scale of 1:1. This made it easier to visualize every detail, which was very helpful,” he said.

CATIA, a Winning Partner

The Society of Automotive Engineers would have been proud to see how the design competition they imagined provides participants with valuable engineering skills. The TU Delft team put these skills to good use winning the championship title at the Silverstone competition and receiving numerous awards at the Hockenheim race in Germany including the Audi ultra-award for best lightweight concept. “It was a heart-stopping few days of ups and downs but we did it,” de Morée exclaimed.

With CATIA we had confidence in our design and in our ability to come up with the best vehicle possible in a very short timeframe.”

Discover the full story in video on 3ds.com

CATIA, the Winning Partner for the DUT Racing team

Introducing SOLIDWORKS 2015: Designed by You

By Bertrand

The world of design has changed in many ways since I joined SOLIDWORKS in 1997. Computer hardware becomes faster and more powerful every year, which is changing the way that our customers do their jobs. These days, engineers are required to wear many hats. When I visit customers, I often see situations where one person is doing work that would have been spread across an entire team twenty years ago, from designing and drafting to FEA and data management. It’s probably not a surprise to hear that these changes influence the development of SOLIDWORKS, and, in particular, this week’s release of SOLIDWORKS 2015.

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From the start, SOLIDWORKS has been a user-driven product, and relies on feedback from a global community of more than two million users to shape the future of the tools they use. It’s true that some users are more vocal and honest than others, but understanding and responding to this feedback—both good and bad—is important. Listening to end users lets us understand how our products are being used; our product team has to be 100% certain that any new feature or enhancement provides real benefit to the SOLIDWORKS community before it goes into development. Our user-centric focus has not changed in SOLIDWORKS 2015, nor will it change in the future. In fact, SOLIDWORKS 2015 includes more than 200 new features and enhancements, and 90% of them are the direct result of requests and other feedback from end users.

Our first promise was to “put the power of 3D on every engineer’s desktop.” But that’s not a big enough challenge anymore. Our new promise is to continue developing 3D solutions that let you to meet modern engineering challenges head-on. It’s not enough to focus on making the software faster. We need to give you the tools that inspire you to design products that change the world. SOLIDWORKS 2015 is one step to fulfilling our commitment. As we continue to develop SOLIDWORKS to meet new and emerging needs, we’ll also look to expand the power of 3D and push its capabilities to the limit. Your success is our success.

I invite you to visit our launch website to explore the powerful new enhancements found in SOLIDWORKS 2015. I am certain that they will help improve your everyday productivity, optimize your work process, reduce operations costs, and let you solve more design challenges. Let’s go design!

SolidWorks 2015

Designing Solutions for a Less Wasteful Life

By Catherine

Written by Catherine Bolgar

Lego bricksThe future of design looks a lot like Legos.

Modular design allows a product to be assembled from easily replaceable or interchangeable parts. Most people are familiar with it in architecture and furniture. However, it’s also being applied to other things, from nuclear-power plants to shoes, submarines and guitars.

Modular design is gaining traction thanks to the convergence of several trends. Mass customization is pushing industries—from consumer products and electronics to automobiles—to find ways to deliver customized solutions without sacrificing economies of scale. Tighter environmental regulations are prompting companies to find ways to reduce waste caused by their products. And consumers, fed up with a throwaway society, are looking for products that manage to last yet which can be upgraded as needed.

Take mobile phones: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans disposed of 129 million mobile devices in 2009 and sent 11.7 million for recycling.

I was thinking about stuff and why we throw it away,” says Dave Hakkens, who invented Phonebloks, a modular design for a mobile phone. “All our electronics are disposable. If a bike has a flat [tire] you fix it, you don’t throw it away. But if a phone part is broken, you have to throw [the phone] away.”

old cellphonesIn wanting to reduce electronic waste, Mr. Hakkens considered several alternatives. “Should I make a phone that could last 100 years?” he asks. “I like technology and the way it evolves and can improve our lives. If I make a phone that lasts 100 years, I won’t be able to upgrade it. But if it has modules that I can upgrade, I can throw away only a little part.”

Unbeknown to Mr. Hakkens, Motorola Mobility had been working on a modular mobile phone as well, called Project Ara. Google, which acquired Motorola in 2011, is expected to unveil its prototype of Project Ara next year. The goal: a phone that can be customized and upgraded at will.

Mr. Hakkens, who came up with the idea of Phonebloks as a graduation project from the Dutch Design Academy in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, has linked up with Project Ara.

It’s hard to make a phone and it’s a tough world—you need patents, lawyers, you have to compete with big companies,” he says. “I don’t want to build a phone myself. I don’t want to start a phone company. I want to push industry to start a new way to make phones.”

Phonebloks

Mobile phones might be just the beginning. “The Phonebloks concept could be extended to all electronic devices: cameras, TVs, computers,” he says. “You could have building-blocks for electronics, with components that can be exchanged among them and can be upgraded.”

In such a world, it’s possible that new entrants would design the ultimate camera module, while others would specialize in the smallest, lightest battery, and still others would focus on packing more capacity into the memory module. Just as now, you can buy specialized software to meet your needs: in the future, you may be able to buy pieces of a phone to put together the mobile device best suited to your uses.

While some companies choose modular design for competitive advantage, others might find themselves pushed in that direction by environmental-protection laws. The Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) for the European Economic and Social Committee of the European Union is working on ways to stop planned obsolescence.

For example, a decade ago the EU banned chips in printer cartridges that signaled the cartridges were empty when they still contained ink. Now it’s taking aim at things like batteries in phones that are impossible for people to replace themselves—and which are so expensive to have fixed by the manufacturer that most people just buy a new phone instead.

“We’ll have less waste,” says Jean-Pierre Haber, delegate of the CCMI consultative committee. “We now create 500 tons of waste per person per year.”

The CCMI proposes five requirements for consumer goods:

  • a minimum two-year guarantee
  • replacement parts available for at least five years
  • certification on the nature and life cycle of all products, no matter their country of origin
  • manufacturer-trained repair shops, which could generate 450,000 jobs in Europe
  • an orientation toward an economy of functionality, so that rather than buying a product, you buy a service, and companies would see incentives in designing goods that don’t break.

Overall, the thrust is to promote the design of goods that can be repaired or upgraded, rather than requiring purchase of a completely new item.

The online community iFixit, which encourages repair over replacement, suggests design features such as product cases that are easy to open, or that have doors to allow access to the inner workings; making the most breakable parts the easiest to access; making some internal components standardized and replaceable by commodity parts; making repair instructions free and publicly available.

We need lots of innovation,” Mr. Haber says. “But we need innovation that gives added value for the consumer and that doesn’t create problems for the environment.”

We need innovation that gives added value for the consumer and that doesn’t create problems for the environment Tweet: “We need innovation that gives added value for the consumer and that doesn’t create problems for the environment”

For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join The Future Realities discussion.



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