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Siemens Digital Industries Software Automotive Lightweighting
Automotive lightweighting is an engineering concept centered on designing vehicles that are less heavy in order to improve fuel efficiency and overall performance.
In addition to redesigning features and shrinking component dimensions, substituting heavy raw materials with lighter composites is the most effective strategy in automotive lightweighting. Traditionally, the use of composite materials was limited to high-performance cars and aircraft. However, today's automotive manufacturers are increasingly relying on composites to achieve fuel economy targets in mass-produced vehicles.
However, weight is not the only factor that determines which composite materials are viable to use in lightweight vehicle designs. Mechanical properties, cost, and manufacturability are all important considerations when designing new (or selecting existing) composite materials in automotive lightweighting.
Constructing physical prototypes and testing the performance and manufacturing feasibility of lightweight materials can be costly, time consuming, and limited in scope. Fortunately, simulation software can be a great help in determining the impact of a materials change in automobiles. By modeling the performance of composite materials in a vehicle's design, simulation software gives automotive engineers the data they need to select composites that will drive down weight and manufacturing costs while ensuring other design requirements. Additionally, this level of simulation saves production resources and improves the efficiency of manufacturing processes like fiber placement, fiber orientation, tool design, and more. As composites grow in popularity, automotive engineers increasingly rely on advanced simulations to fully explore different lightweighting opportunities within their designs.