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Optimization and CAE Automation

SIMCenter employs optimization techniques to automate and enhance the use of CAE tools. These numerical techniques allow engineers to deliver the best possible designs with exceptional performance in areas like weight, efficiency and manufacturability.

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CAD geometry of optimized vehicle bumper systemA CAD geometry of the optimized bumper design. This design was optimized for upper, lower and center load cases.Vehicle Bumper System Optimization

The purpose of a vehicle’s bumper system is to prevent damage to expensive and vital components in a low-speed collision. A heavy, strong bumper system increases fuel consumption and emissions, but a lighter, weaker bumper system might not provide adequate protection. Researchers used topology optimization to design a bumper that was stronger than the original design, but without adding weight.

Simulated vehicle bumper crash test The original design (left) and the optimized design (right) underwent simulated collisions with a rigid barrier.

Vehicle structure static load simulationA vehicle structure was subjected to nine different static load cases.
Vehicle structure dynamic load simulationsA vehicle structure was subjected to two different dynamic load cases: rear and front small overlap crashworthiness collisions.
Vehicle Structure Optimization

One challenge in automotive development is to design strong and lightweight vehicle structures. Using topology optimization, engineers can reduce the vehicle’s carbon footprint while also designing a stiff, safe structure that can withstand static loads (such as suspension loads during normal operating conditions) and dynamic loads (such as a collision).

To consider both static and dynamic loads, researchers applied a scaled energy weighting (SEW) approach to level the energy field variables in a Hybrid Cellular Automata (HCA) approach. The method, known as SEW-HCA, allowed researchers to create a vehicle structure that yielded a good trade-off in terms of stiffness and crash energy absorption for all load cases.

The first stage of the optimization process (left) and the second stage of the optimization process (right).The redesigned sill was subjected to dynamic bend load cases (top) and static torsional load cases (bottom). The optimized design (right) performed better than the reference design (left).Vehicle Side Sill Local Topology Optimization

The design for a vehicle’s side sill is dependent on static and dynamic loads commonly experienced on the road. Researchers optimized the side sill using a three-stage optimization process, enabling the development of a design based on a coarse representation of the structure’s original design space.

After the optimization process on the body-in-white structure was complete, the sub-design space of the side sill was re-meshed with smaller-sized elements and was subjected to static and dynamic loads. The results from this stage were used in the third stage to perform a size optimization on the shell representation. The new design was stronger than the original design, but it required the same amount of material to produce.