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Designing the whole

  • Magazine Feature Article
  • 12OFHD0614_01
Published June 14, 2012 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Connecting model-based system engineering through PLM tools to CAD, FEA, and physical test is on the horizon.

System-level modeling and simulation- tools for complete vehicle behavior-are about to expand, according to Derek Wright, Product Manager for Maplesoft. “A vehicle, like a front-end loader, has specific performance it must meet to be attractive in the marketplace. These requirements are getting both more difficult and interrelated,” he explained in a discussion with SAE Magazines. A front loader, for example, must be stable, safe, lift heavy loads, and use fuel efficiently. “If one part of that vehicle system fails to meet those requirements, it affects everything it is connected to,” said Wright. With the growing use of mechatronics, and its complexity, engineers that once could work in isolation must find a way to collaborate. All disciplines need a practical way to work together. System-level modeling and simulation software such as MapleSim from Maplesoft are designed to help engineers do just that. “You are going to see full system-level performance and analysis at all stages of the product design cycle,” said Wright.

The collaboration net will need to expand beyond engineering. “We are moving towards bidirectional connectivity with the CAD environment, for example. That is going to be very important in the future,” he says. Why? According to him, using CAD to create simplified models for system-level models is vital to tame computational complexity. Computational complexity is nonlinear; only simplified models can compute a solution in a reasonable time. For example, so-called lumped-parameter models simplify a mechanical system to its essence. “You need to use CAD to create lumped-parameter models without losing the connectivity if you adjust the system model,” he explained. “The CAD guy does not want to know the lumped-parameter model. The lumped-parameter guy does not want to know all of the CAD detail. We need one model that I can look at with different lenses.”