Harald Hasselblad - Volvo, Sweden
Harald Hasselblad has his location at the advanced body and exterior engineering department at Volvo Cars as advanced engineering leader with responsible for AE-projects with focus on structure and architecture. He is also responsible for development of methods and tool for efficient concept engineering and optimization. Harald has done his PhD in mechanical engineering at Linköping University, Sweden, as an industrial PhD student at Volvo Car Corp. with the focus on topology optimization. Harald Hasselblad has twelve years experience in conceptual analysis and optimization and has worked with development of methods and tool for structural optimization.
Structural Optimization in Early Development Phase at Volvo Cars
Structural optimization is an area with a long history but it is not since the early 90s that optimization starts to be used in the vehicle industry. The optimization theories have developed rapidly and the applications for structural optimization have become complex and advanced.By studying product development in the vehicle industry it is found that the use of CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) tools and optimization methods used in the late stage of design is well developed. This can be tools for advanced part optimization or fine tuning of the crash performance for detailed vehicle body structure models.
However, when studying the very early phases of design, CAE tools and optimization methods are not widely used by design engineers. A great number of researchers has identified that the concept phase is the perfect place for topology optimization. This can be realized since the main idea during conceptual design is to analyze a large design space and get an understanding of the structural behaviour. By doing so, the possibility of achieving new designs that differs a lot from the current design can increase. It has also been pointed out that the tools in the early phase could point to true innovations, not only improvements. By introducing the possibility of investigating a large design space on a concept model could also reduce late iterations and shorten the development time and increase the structural knowledge and performance.
The author sees the development of methods and tools supporting the early development phase being the most important way to have structural optimization applied. At Volvo Cars the use of optimization is well established in many areas but still a lot of research has to be done to increase the use in general. The use of topology optimization to support the creativity has come to a mature stage. Also optimization of static load cases such as stiffness is now straightforward and widely used. Structural optimization for crash is still an area in great development and more research is needed to identify effective to handle the length simulation times related to crash. However, a number of crash-based optimization studies has been performed to identify the potential and to point at the need for further research.
Due to the ongoing and upcoming requirements on CO2 emissions the focus on weight reduction has increased. This drives the need to look into new materials for light weight design. One such material is boron steel. This material drives the need for new design guidelines due to its high strength and low ductility. This in combination with the experience on the need to handle multi-load conditions drives the need for research in robust optimization. Also an increased use of composite materials can be seen on the market. This is an area with long tradition in the airplane industry but not in the vehicle industry. The development and implementation of structural optimization of composite materials will be of great importance in the future.