Driving for Green: Poll answers for Q1

By Jonathan

In my last post Driving for Green: a mini poll I asked you if you would answer 4 simple questions on our future car, i.e. the eco car. I got over 200 answers from you, our devoted readers, thank you!!

So this is the first of 4 posts where I’m going to present the results of each question one by one…here we go with question no. 1:

Would you be willing to pay more for a “greener” car?

What’s interesting here is that almost 70% of you are willing to pay more for your car if it’s greener, that’s a lot! Whilst a full 30% do not want to pay more.

This brings me to the additional comments you made:

  • Yes you’d pay more, but you’d need to be able to recover the costs (fuel & maintenance) during the life of the vehicle. Hey, I can relate to this, I’d love to be more ecologic but I simply can’t afford to do everything that’s needed today.
  • Yes you’d pay more, if the car is cool!
  • Yes you’d pay more, but it depends on the car’s performance.
  • Eco cars may not only look different to today’s car but may also be used differently. Some say that the revolution is car sharing, whilst others believe that we should use electric bicycles and scooters instead.
  • Cars can be both eco and affordable if extras are reduced.

Let’s take each point and dig deeper:

Cost recovery: It’s relatively easy to make an estimation on the money you’d save in burning less fuel with efficient plug-in cars. This is why advanced diesels in Europe are very popular and why hybrids are becoming more and more popular in the USA & Japan in spite of their higher prices. What is much more difficult is knowing that your expensive car will live up to its eco credentials. For example, there is still a lot of debate on the Prius’ total CO2 contribution from manufacture, use and disposal/recycling. This debate shouldn’t exist, all this information should be transparent, but today there is no carbon database for consumer products. This is a critical topic for Dassault Systèmes in order to provide sustainable solutions not only to our customers but their customers, i.e. you.

A cool product: A desirable product, making sense to you, easy to use, honoring you as an individual. In other words making you feel great! It’s becoming more and more clear that in order for the general public to make this change from the products they buy to how they use them, the products are going to have to make a statement! Style and design will be critical – but how can the stylists and designers collaborate quickly and effectively with those pesky engineers who always want to change things?

Performance: Does this mean raw acceleration or simply getting from A to B in the quickest manner? Reminds me of the Tortoise and the Hair fable. Good acceleration is fun, and can sometimes be a safety factor to avoid some incidents but when I’m in a train dynamics aren’t part of my criteria – all I want to do is get to my destination as quickly and comfortably as possible. So control systems in the car and for the road infrastructure are very important to improve the passenger experience helping acceptance of our new mobility – this is part of our Mobility 2.0 theory – whilst of course improving our carbon footprint.

Car usage: today my route to work consists of taking the train for 40 minutes then cycling for 20 minutes (up a big hill!).  I feel proud that my journey is emitting very little CO2. But I do wonder if the roads were totally congestion free would I take the easy option and take my car with a total journey time of 35 minutes? I probably would. So, although we all know that having flexible solutions for weekday and weekend cars I still can’t figure out how we are going to accept and embrace this new model of car usage – perhaps by force with tradeable energy quotas but I’ll go into that in another post.

Reduce extras: But are your extras the same as my extras? Car manufacturers would love to be able to sell bespoke cars to their customers but the costs are too high, why?  Can the customer requirements be sufficiently managed, can the design office provide enough solutions, can the simulation department manage all the use cases, can the manufacturing department simulate the production of the different configurations and then go and make the bespoke car on a flexible production line? Generally they find this very difficult, but interestingly the truck sector does this – about every 1.5 truck is unique! Configuration & requirement management is very important for them.

But, I hear you say, what about the 30% of people who don’t want to pay more for a “greener” car? To be honest I’m surprised that it’s not a higher percentage. I’m an eco-warrior and I’m not sure that I’d pay more, but then again I’ve never bought a new car. It’s more than evident that the car manufacturer who manages to deliver a product that emits ultra low pollution and CO2, and is manufactured with recyclable materials whilst not hiking up the retail costs will win considerable market share.

Stay tuned for my post on the second question…

Sustainably yours,

Yes, We Can Simulate This !

By Michael

What happens to your 3D design – your product – when exposed to its environment and realistic physical conditions?

Like in a virtual laboratory you can observe its behavior under changing conditions. How does the integrity of my design change if I apply forces at various positions, modify materials and add stability support? How is my 3D design interacting with other objects, solids, liquids, gases, static or dynamic? How does it withstand … strong wind?

Don’t be afraid if this sounds to you like the 80’s one-hit wonder “She blinded me with science” (I have embedded the flash back clip below for the ones who missed this). I’m not an inside expert myself, but wanted to use today’s post to introduce you to the possibilities proposed by this PLM domain called Realistic Simulation. You are invited to find out what this is about and what a realistic simulation can do for you eventually.

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Here are typical questions addressed by Realistic Simulation within a PLM environment:

  • Does this phone withstand a drop test from 2 m height onto the concrete floor ?
  • Does this tire profile keep the car on wet roads ?
  • Do these restraint and airbag systems ensure car passengers’ safety ?
  • Is this car seat comfortable, yet safe?
  • Does this new heart pump keeps blood flowing to the patient’s heart ?

Take a look at different simulation scenarios that are being performed across industries to improve understanding of physical performance of products – such as a car in a virtual crash test and even exercising the human body.

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There are more examples you can surf on 3D Perspectives’ YouTube channel.

As a designer you might say: “That’s great, but I leave testing and simulation to my specialized department of engineers. I will focus on the design”.

Traditionally this used to be the way how it worked: Designers gave their designs to Simulation Experts, they did the calculations and filed back a report which told the designer if the product was good to go … or not.

With today’s simulation software becoming more easy-to-use and integrated with the design desktop this has changed as the designer herself has the power to perform initial testing, to tweak parameters and design details in order to optimize her design. And by doing so she is preparing more detailed simulation requests which still have to be handled by the expert engineer, in order to finalize the design optimization, in a much more collaborative manner between the two.

Responding to the manufacturing industry’s simulation requests and providing the tools in a PLM context is the mission of the SIMULIA brand at Dassault Systèmes. Driven by the scientific nature and physics required to analyze realistic behavior of products , the outspoken high “brain density” at the SIMULIA team refers to the percentage of advanced science and engineering degrees. This is not only true in the development team, but also in the Sales and Support teams who are closest to the customers’ everyday engineering and simulation challenges.

Based on a strong background of mechanical and nonlinear structural analysis with the Abaqus finite element analysis (FEA) product suite, SIMULIA today offers a complete virtual environment for testing life experience by providing broad range of multiphysics capabilities. This means that SIMULIA’s realistic simulation solutions handle more and more environmental parameters to mimic real life conditions.

Our Solution Partners also play an important role in this, as they add their very specialized and sophisticated capabilities within an open platform to address customers’ simulation challenges.

Are you up for an example?


Let’s look at one specific simulation domain which is called computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and where our partner CD-adapco has been hatching very specific know-how and experience. I am here at the CD-adapco User Conference held in London with about 250 participants of the CD-adapco ecosystem. Among them representatives from across all product manufacturing industries, who are presenting how CFD helps them in their product generation processes, e.g. optimizing the engineering of a wind park for energy generation while minimizing environmental impact, or simulating artificial cloud formation in gigantic greenhouses in Singapore. There seem to be no limits of imagination and creativity.

SIMULIA and CD-adapco have developed a close cooperation around the “fluid-structure-interaction” which allows their software codes to work in concert. For the one’s who want to dive in more here is the recommended reading.

You are still there? Congratulation for your persistence and desire to know more about this fascinating domain. Enjoy one of the many CFD examples from CD-adapco below.

Have a nice day. I’ll talk to you soon.


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More of these on 3D Perspectives’ YouTube channel.

PLM as the Enterprise Backbone Part 2: Product Portfolio & Program Management

By Brian

Imagine a group of automotive executives sitting around a table and examining a new vehicle on-screen presented in its entirety as a totally accurate geometric 3-D virtual model. They are discussing the windshield. Using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) technology and simulation, they have uncovered an issue.

There is going to be a problem inserting the windshield into place, which will either bump up the cost of the vehicle program or require a revision of the design. The initial windshield design was based on new styling, safety and fuel efficiency concepts which are to be used to differentiate the vehicle’s brand. It is critical to the company’s strategy that this be preserved.

Resources from other projects need to be realigned to complete the rework for both the product design and the manufacturing and assembly processes, and the windshield vendor and suppliers of adjoining components need to be notified of the change and involved in resolving the issue. Finally, cost saving opportunities need to be assessed across the whole vehicle program to maintain adherence to the program’s business targets. There are multiple derivatives (2-door, 4-door, convertible) and regional variants for individual country regulatory requirements that will need to be included in the assessment.

Planning the future rather than reflecting the past
This blog article continues the discussion of PLM as the Enterprise Backbone: Emerging with Advantage, with a focus on portfolio and program management capabilities offered by an enterprise approach to PLM. A PLM enterprise backbone anchors all enterprise systems (ERP, SCM, MRP, CRM) around a forward view of a company’s product and market strategy.

Competitive corporations establish their market strategies based on their portfolio of products, and their manufacturing and sourcing strategies that support them. Using ERP or MRP systems as the enterprise backbone would be equivalent to driving out of your rear-view mirror, and would reflect an emphasis on yesterday’s strategies and product lines.

Companies that position new and innovative products will lead coming out of the current economic downturn, over those that simply retrench and rationalize their previous products, manufacturing footprints, and supply chains. Today’s challenging economic times necessitate tighter data mastering and integration across these mission critical systems. It is the ability to manage a product portfolio with program management capabilities that enables this forward looking market capability at the enterprise level.

Product Portfolio and Program Management processes need to be managed and configured based on strategic alignment, financials, revenue and market segmentation analyses, as well as the:

  • Customer needs and market requirements for each targeted market segment
  • Product architectures, product lines and product derivatives / configurations
  • Manufacturing strategies and tooling platforms
  • Sourcing and standard parts strategies

Here is Product Portfolio and Program Management reduced to its essential elements:


A. Analysis includes defining business and market needs, requirements and technical targets across product, manufacturing and sourcing functions.

Executives assess risk versus opportunity for each initiative through financial analyses. Simulations are run on product and manufacturing models to validate the platform strategies and to define the approved parts and tooling / assembly components into a master catalog. PLM tools provide an integrated capability to track market requirements through the configurable cross-systems design (powertrain, electrical / electronic, entertainment, heating / cooling, braking, etc), and their simulation analysis of the functional and logical architectures as well as manufacturing systems.

B. Planning and Control takes this analysis capability through a process to define the product / market strategy, and the required product and manufacturing platforms and sourcing programs that define product portfolio.

Strategy Review Board and Investment Review Board processes manage ongoing portfolio investments and decision making. The PLM tools enable the workflow and approval processes, while providing 3D models of the products and manufacturing systems for those reviews, as well as the ability to define the sourcing strategies and aggregated spend opportunities afforded by the product and manufacturing platforms.

C. Product Development and Launch Execution Systems use the parts and supplier master data defined by this strategic portfolio to quote, design and solve project and launch issues and customer orders.

A central data base contains the parts and supplier masters, but also the product and manufacturing portfolio data, as well as all the product and manufacturing simulation and test data used to define and execute the business strategies. Strategic management of the product portfolio is actively maintained by business line and product line executives, against their rolling business plans.

How parts and assemblies for the products get requirements defined, parts sourced, selected or designed, and manufactured determines the overall cost, timing and quality of any given product launch. In addition, acquisitions can be more effectively consolidated into ongoing operations and product-market strategies if the enterprise PLM backbone has been mapped across product development, manufacturing and sourcing systems.

Current economic business cycles necessitate companies maintain a tight integration across their mission critical systems so that investments and projects can be appropriately prioritized and sized across the product portfolio. A key enterprise PLM capability for this is to have executive level dashboards that support management of the development pipeline to reprioritize or cancel projects in early phases, and to maintain ongoing oversight of strategic and mission critical programs.

Executives need to be able to assess risk versus opportunity for each product initiative, on an ongoing basis. For companies with severe risk and exposure on large-scale projects (for example in aerospace and defense, or large infrastructure projects), visibility to program status against contract deliverables is often critical.

Dassault Systèmes PLM solutions support resolving my opening scenario of the windshield insertion issue. Having done the analysis and planning work described above, management of the product program and its derivatives as an integrated portfolio of projects in a PLM environment should be straight forward. A single view access to the related derivatives and regional variants can be accessed through the PLM solution, and resources can be reassigned from lower priority or less strategic programs.

  • Interactive live 3D model review and revision sessions can be held on the internet with globally dispersed teams, both internal to the OEM, and with the vehicle program’s affected suppliers.
  • Design alternatives can be directly reviewed against the program requirements to assure adherence to the costs, styling, branding and energy efficiency objectives tasked to the program.
  • Simulations and analyses can be run on the revised parts, and compared directly with the prior tests and analyses.
  • Issue tracking can provide an ability to directly reassess program and launch readiness to make sure that all critical items are addressed and closed out prior to production ramp-up.

This description of product and program portfolio management is the initial foundation of enterprise PLM.

Having enabled the analysis and planning capabilities through PLM, companies are then poised to reap the greatest advantages PLM offers for sourcing, extended enterprise collaboration, eco-design / sustainability, regulatory compliance, and integrated new product market launch.

Stay tuned to the next article in this series; I will cover the basis of direct materials sourcing and extended enterprise collaboration, when PLM is positioned as the enterprise backbone.



P.S. For more information you may enjoy:


Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.