The 3DEXPERIENCE platform, said Bernard Charles, president & CEO of Dassault Systèmes (3ds.com), at the 2019 3DEXPERIENCE Forum North America in May, is an infrastructure for moving from the design experience to the thinking experience. “A way to adopt a digital transformation that is not information technology centered. It’s people centered.”
The “most important aspect” of 3DEXPERIENCE, said Charles, is its centralized data management, which supports “all engineering processes worldwide from one global database. This enables collaboration among development locations, giving everybody the ability to work on the same components. The platform helps design right the first time and validate models digitally. We have less waste, fewer errors, and we know what the results are going to be thanks to simulation.”
Developing new materials
The 3DEXPERIENCE is ever-expanding. Acquisition is one way Dassault is doing that. Lots of acquisitions. For example, in March, 2019, Dassault acquired ARGOSIM (argosim.com), which applies artificial intelligence to the systems engineering and architecture for embedded systems. The company’s STIMULUS software is essentially a requirements management system providing requirements-in-the-loop simulation. The software detects ambiguous, incorrect, missing, and conflicting design requirements—even before functional design starts—ensuring complete and consistent high-quality specifications for validating embedded systems.
Adding functionality is the other way Dassault is expanding the scope of 3DEXPERIENCE. Take, for instance, BIOVIA Materials Studio. First, some background from Michael Doyle, Dassault’s senior scientist industry applied materials. He cited the adage “form follows function,” then went on to explain, “In the modern world, we have the ability to engineer material that can directly govern the function and the form. I can build complex materials, and then shape or design them in an additive process, where that process also affects the material’s attributes.”
Material Science and Design
For example, printing a new part and then running it through several cycles of thermal processing, such as annealing, may change the grain size of the material or cause domain growth. Doyle noted, that in both those cases, “the material science is directly related to the print process, which is then ultimately subservient to the design requirement.
“If I need a part to take a load or a stress or have a certain elasticity or certain torsion or stiffness and compliance, I can design that into the shape. I can design that into the print process that changes the nature of the polymer used. Or I can design that into the polymer. Sometimes I have to use all three levers in conjunction.”
Or consider printing complex composites using functioning graded materials (FGM). For automotive, applying FGM to glass can yield a material that incorporates the safety requirements of lamination along with the gradient color and photochromic properties.
Developing better battery chemistry
Incorporating CATIA and BIOVIA in 3DEXPERIENCE bridges a gap engineers often face in, say, electric battery design. “Some of them are working at the molecular level; some, at the battery cell and battery pack level,” said Olivier Sappin, Dassault’s vice president, Transportation & Mobility Industry. Sappin said that combining BIOVIA’s molecular-level view with Dymola, a software package for modeling and simulating integrated and complex systems, in CATIA, there is the opportunity to develop new battery chemistry.
“Battery technology is an interesting material challenge because it involves understanding the degradation and aging processes in many material systems. We talk about the design for new and shiny products, but the flip side is understanding environmental and degradation effects,” said Doyle. Manufacturing also has its material challenges. For example, when considering new bonding methods, engineers have to consider the joint costs and speeds of new adhesives. “When I bond aluminum to steel, my joining speed and therefore my costs are awful. If I move up to plastics and new materials, and then new glues, awesome,” said Doyle.
“That’s why materials matter. That’s why we believe materials are the enabler of civilizations and societal change.”
BIOVIA Materials Studio 2019, the latest release, has a new module that predicts the spatial distribution of reactants and products on reactive surfaces, such as catalyst surfaces, as a function of time using a Kinetic Monte Carlo approach. It also has a new DFTB+ library, LIB 2019, for simulating electrolytes in Li-ion batteries. The library contains parameters for various elements (Li, C, H, O, N, F, and P), and can measure Li-ion diffusion as a function of electrolyte formulation. New ways to estimate partial atomic charges have been added for calculations with spin-orbit coupling. Plus there are performance improvements and a slew of new features.
Why 3DEXPERIECE matters
The problems that exist in translating the “voice of the customer” into product design, into manufactured product, and eventually into customer hands may nowadays be more varied, more sophisticated, and the losses more expensive when there’s a failure, but such pressures are not “new.” They are basically “the nature of the beast” in—endemic to—product lifecycles. Will these pressures ever go away? Doubtful; people will always want lighter devices, smaller devices, better power utilization, more features, more functions—whether in their toasters, their smartphones, or their vehicles. And physics and the randomness of life will always exist.
The 3DEXPERIECE platform mitigates these pressures. It breaks down silos, such as the ones between materials research, product development, and all the downstream departments that follow. It provides constantly updated, real-time data—a single source of the truth—to design, simulate, analyze, and then manage the vast interplay of complex steps in a product’s lifecycle. A key feature of the 3DEXPERIECE platform, explained Sappin, is that it’s a platform, “but beyond the platform, you have a common data model to make sure the different applications are talking to each other.”
Web applications are another key feature. CATIA V5 was never cloud-enabled; multi-, remote-, worldwide-access to a common data model is now only available through the 3DEXPERIECE platform. “Before function-driven design,” explained Richardson, “we would take CATIA V5, go into Abacus [FEA/materials/multiphysics simulation], go into Tosca [topology optimization], go back into CATIA, and reconstruct a design by importing. Now, there’s no import. It’s all on the same data model. You reconstruct your model, make it parametric, and you’re done. One platform, you’re collaborative, and you can make any changes you need. One data set; one simulation-driven model”—accessible by all sorts of software tools (“from microscopic to macroscopic”).
So while problems in the product lifecycle may be endemic, the tools solving those problems have changed. “It’s the level of technology that’s changed,” explained Richardson.
According to Frank Jourdan, president, Chassis & Safety Div., Continental Contitech AG (continental-corporation.com), the high-resolution 3D flash LIDAR (HFL) technology that the company is developing for deployment in automated driving systems in the 2020+ timeframe provides an array of benefits.
Although all OEMs and suppliers do their utmost best to assure nothing but top-notch quality is achieved for their vehicles and systems, sometimes things simply go wrong because, well, that’s just how the Universe is.
To know that 3,000 cars have been delivered since October 2015 would undoubtedly result in a shrug: in 2017 Toyota delivered 387,081 Camrys, so that 3,000 is less than one percent, and this is in one year, not just over two.