Reducing the Development Cycle with Assembly Automation

European based heavy vehicles manufacturer, Scania, is known for its ability to deliver highly customized products. This concept creates a significant challenge for computer aided engineering (CAE) departments, as engineers must rapidly verify a number of different variants with finite element simulations. Therefore, automating the entire virtual model assembly process was a major goal for Scania. The process, which included tasks such as positioning hundreds of components, creating contact definitions and building part connections with pre-strained bolts, was time consuming and prone to error.

Altair ProductDesign’s Process Automation team worked with Scania to identify areas where standard design routines could be automated. Based on the HyperWorks framework, a semi-automatic pre-processing manager was developed to meet the chassis department’s special modeling requests. Some of the steps the HyperWorks Process Manager application performs during model assembly included:
  • Reading CAD libraries and automatically selecting appropriate files
  • Monitoring the FE and geometry libraries and giving notifications if changes are made
  • Cutting holes in geometries/meshes to prepare for bolt connections
  • Generating “spider connections,” solid bolts with pre-tension and contact definitions
The project resulted in a number of benefits for Scania including an improvement in the FE model quality, the establishment of a more consistent computer aided engineering process, Increased flexibility during product development and CAE modeling along with a significant reduction in the overall development cycle.