The expanding role of simulation is rapidly transforming product development. For many companies, managing the many simulations run during the design phase has become a challenging task. Dana Holding has teamed up with Simulia to address the complex task of managing simulations performed by global design teams.
The company recently inked a collaborative agreement that lets Dana use Simulia’s Abaqus and other tools to design products and manage the development with Simulia SLM, a simulation life-cycle management tool. Dana has used FEA and other design tools made by the Dassault Systèmes company for several years.
That move comes as the transportation industry moves to model-based design and simulations. They make it easier to test innovative ideas, using simulations to examine virtual products before prototypes are built.
“No matter where we go, simulation is at the beginning of everything,” said Frank Popeilas, Manager of Advanced Engineering for Dana’s Sealing Products Group. He noted that CAE is now a core competency, so the challenge is to ensure that CAE files are updated and made available throughout the enterprise.
“In an environment where CAE is at the heart of our business, we have to make sure that everything is consistent and repeatable. Files need to be accessible to everyone, depending on the level of access they need,” Popeilas said. “If you have repeatable steps, you can complete jobs more rapidly.”
The challenge of sharing data with all members of the design team is exacerbated by the global nature of seals. They are used in the many powertrain products Dana makes, so engineers and analysts in Sealing Products must communicate with engine designers located in many different countries.
Dana analysts who understand both design tools like FEA, and the product being developed will now have a way to keep track of various simulations. That is particularly helpful in a far-flung group such as Sealing Products, which has design teams located near customer sites around the globe.
“Without this, given the amount of simulation taking place, managing all this data is not possible,” Popeilas said. He noted that the data sets are very large. Often, the simulations are so voluminous that they are run on clustered computing arrays.
“From a global footprint standpoint, Sealing Products is the most spread out, we cover all market segments,” Popeilas said. “We need to manage and share huge amounts of engineering information that is housed throughout the world.”
Sealing Products is the first Dana group to make extensive use of Simulia SLM. But Popeilas feels it will offer enough benefits that it will be used throughout the corporation.
He explained that SLM provides a way to examine joint system simulations that include a range of electronic and mechanical components using CAE and unified FEA. SLM is similar to product life-cycle management, is also data management, but PLM is not as sophisticated.
Signing the pact with Simulia will give Dana tighter links with design and support teams while also letting seal designers provide input on future product developments.
“By partnering with a software company, we get beta releases and we can talk with them about our needs two, three, or five years out. We start shaping the direction their software can go,” Popeilas said.