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Mahle, in Salisbury, UK, is using V5 PLM methodology from Dassault Systemes to aid the design and manufacture of its air induction systems (AIS) for a range of OEMs around the world.

Its systems are found in some of the most popular and some of the most desirable cars on the market.

Alex Groffman, design engineer at Mahle, and Catia V5 expert, has harnessed aspects of V5 PLM in certain ways to produce AIS’s that are optimised across several, often-conflicting, design and function specific parameters.

‘An air induction system comprises a filter, its case, clean and dirty air ducting, seals and a host of clips and fixtures, plus resonators to provide sound tuning qualities,’ said Groffman.

‘The elements of the AIS have to fit a specific design envelope within the engine bay, and airflows must be matched precisely with each engine’s specification.

‘Another complexity is that ducting must retain specific cross sectional area to maintain airflow rate.

‘Typically, car models within a range need a different AIS or variant components of the AIS.’ This complexity is magnified because each OEM has a target mass, weight and volume to achieve for their AIS.

‘OEMs will change their design package envelope numerous times per car before the final volume space is defined,’ added Groffman.

‘We have to accommodate those changes fast and also manage our quotation process to ensure that each change is factored accurately into our pricing.’ Design conflicts inevitably arise within this set of parameters and Groffman must help manage them.

‘We have been a Dassault Systemes V5 PLM user since 2004 and had been using V4 for many years before that,’ he said.

‘We make extensive use of the Power Copy feature of V5, which allows us to re-use retained knowledge of previous designs and adapt them to new components and systems.

‘We have a growing library of hundreds of Power Copies of components and systems that we access to respond to new design challenges.

‘Using this feature, we produce fully optimised designs very fast, then, when the OEM needs a change, we can modify it in minutes and provide a complete model and a totally accurate new quotation.’ Design envelopes are shrinking all the time, so Mahle has to be very adaptable.

‘Another vital element of the PLM system is the Generative Shapes module of CATIA,’ added Groffman.

‘While all the design and specification parameters are defined within a rule-based regime, modifying components is virtually automatic with this software.

‘When, for example a length of ducting is modified; related clips adapt parametrically within pre-set rules.

‘This way, hours are taken out of the design modification process and fully optimised components produced as a result.’ Mahle uses Digital Mock Up software within the V5 PLM system for fitting simulation, clash analysis, access definition and to help accord with crash regulation requirements.

Customers often comment on the levels of accuracy with which Mahle operates and the speed with which work can be turned around.

‘Using V5 PLM allows us to weigh plastic components before they are made,’ said Groffman.

‘This leads to much higher accuracy in quotes and because we issue very realistic 3D digital models, customers can see exactly what they are going to get; including details like paper pleats and very high-level material and AIS performance information.

‘For example, we can produce a model and quote in three days rather than the three weeks it used to take; all in the knowledge that our accuracy is absolute.’ Another aspect of the V5 PLM methodology is the way that an AIS can be made to fit the design envelope with elegance.

‘Having designed the optimum AIS that meets all of the OEM’s parameters, we are often required to change the external shape to accommodate a design modification,’ said Groffman.

‘We deal with this using Relational Modelling.

‘This feature of V5 makes it possible to use the surfaces from surrounding components to generate AIS’s own external profiles.

‘This produces an AIS that fits perfectly between other engine bay components and look great under the bonnet while complying with every rule requirement.’ Alex Groffman pioneered V5 PLM methodology at Mahle and will be instrumental in future developments.

Dassault Systèmes

About Dassault Systèmes

As a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, Dassault Systèmes brings value to more than 100,000 customers in 80 countries. A pioneer in the 3D software market since 1981, Dassault Systèmes develops and markets PLM application software and services that support industrial processes and provide a 3D vision of the entire lifecycle of products from conception to maintenance to recycling. The Dassault systems portfolio consists of CATIA for designing the virtual product – SolidWorks for 3D mechanical design – DELMIA for virtual production – SIMULIA for virtual testing – ENOVIA for global collaborative lifecycle management, and 3DVIA for online 3D lifelike experiences. Dassault Systèmes is listed on the Nasdaq (DASTY) and Euronext Paris (#13065) stock exchanges. For more information, visit our website.

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