There has been a marked increase in the use of analysis and simulation technology over the last decade by the producers of cars and trains. This industry now faces many of the issues confronting the aerospace industry discussed above; for example the integration of analysis technology into the CAE and overall business processes. However it appears that some industrial applications have not achieved the same level of technical maturity as aerospace and there is perhaps some scope for cross – dissemination. Examples include crack propagation and composite materials.
Reduced time to market, reduced development cost and improved performance are strong drivers and in response there is a requirement for better simulation and “virtual assessment“ modelling – both in respect of basic technology and in guidance about their use.
In addition the public demand for better safety has focussed attention on “crashworthiness”.
The high cost of prototype testing has increased the routine use of crash simulation codes, however there is a need to provide reliable information on model validation techniques and guidance on realistic crash scenarios where experience is still relatively limited. On the other hand, the applications of smart structure technology are perhaps more common, particularly in the field of crashworthiness. This, in conjunction with the progress in microsystems technology is now expanding into intelligent automobiles concept.
Market pressures are dictating lighter vehicles to improve fuel economy, this involves a high degree of optimisation to reduce component mass. Increasing use is being made of alternative manufacturing methods, such as adhesive bonding where suitable methods and materials data are scarce and there is a generic need to improve confidence in the modelling of connections. The requirement to predict failures and service life are important to vehicle performance and ultimately the acceptance of the product in the marketplace.