By Pramod Thomas:
Globally driverless vehicles, and driverless but assisted-driving vehicles are becoming a reality. By 2030 India plans to have more electric vehicles (EV) on its roads. Weight is going to be the biggest deterrent for EVs. “These are the new developments across the globe and in India. Our tools are ready to handle these new requirements. We are equipped to help OEMs in light-weighting of the EVs,” Pavan Kumar, Managing Director, Altair Engineering India,
told AutoParts Asia.
Altair is a leading provider of enterprise-class engineering software enabling innovation, reduced development times, and lower costs through the entire product lifecycle from concept design to in-service operation. Its simulation-driven approach to innovation is powered by an integrated suite of software which optimises design performance across multiple disciplines encompassing structures, motion, fluids, thermal management, electromagnetics, system modelling and embedded systems, while also providing data analytics and true-to-life visualisation and rendering.
“Our immediate focus is to stay relevant to the changing requirements like active safety systems, which involve antennas, high frequency communication, sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud for predictive analytics. These are the latest developments in the sector. There are several things that are driving change. The way our customers design products is an example. The first change in the industry is electrification. The second one is a blend of new manufacturing techniques like 3D printing. The third is automation where people will be increasingly replaced by machines, robots or cobots. All these require different types of engineering tools,” he said.
“Shedding weight is an important issue. Altair has two ways of helping an OEM; one is through consulting services and the other is through tools which are used for lightweighting. We have applied both of them together, or individually in many OEMs. They help OEMs reduce the material used to create something and get specific structural and performance characteristics without having any weight penalty. We have tools and techniques which the OEMs can use to reduce the weight of the vehicle. Altair can also teach them how to cut weight. Nowadays everyone is gunning for light-weighting to carry more weight or for better performance,” Kumar said.
When asked whether EVs will be more compatible for connected vehicles compared to their traditional counterparts, he said that it is very unlikely. “Compatibility for connected vehicles will be just another factor of EVs. Whether it is EV or Internal Combustion Engine vehicle, today all of them have enough communication capabilities to be compatible. So electricity is just one of the driving forces of the product. It is not necessary that because I want a connected vehicle I should go for an EV,” Kumar said.
It is a known fact that the number of moving parts in an EV will be 1/10 or 1/20 that of the traditional vehicle. The cabin will be quieter hence the unwanted noise will be evident in EVs. Altair supports OEMs in reduction of Noise, Vibration and Harshness(NVH).
“We provide this service with a combination of two things. One is the software which will allow them to analyse NVH and understand how the noise or vibration is getting transmitted. So it is easy to find out what is contributing to that and what frequency is causing it. In that case, you can avoid those frequencies. That is one method. The other method is process. We can also teach them the process of doing it. We have something called NVH Director, which will be of great use for OEMs,” he said.
The NVH Director employs Altair’s HyperWorks suite of computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools in a fully integrated, user-friendly, customisable form to automate the tasks involved in NVH analysis. By integrating the entire process of meshing, assembly, loadcase set-up, and post-processing, it dramatically reduces the full-vehicle NVH simulation time, freeing CAE engineers to focus on optimising product design and performance.
Founded in 1985, Michigan-headquartered Altair Engineering is focused on the development and application of simulation technology to synthesise and optimise designs, processes and decisions for improved business performance. With more than 2,600 employees, Altair has over 50 offices in 22 countries, and serves more than 5,000 corporate clients across industry segments. The clientele represents a broad range of industry verticals, including automotive, aerospace, government and defence, heavy equipment and consumer products. Altair also has a growing client presence in the life sciences, financial services, insurance and energy markets.
Altair, which started India operations 15 years ago for internal outsourcing of software development and services, has now over 600 employees in three major locations: Bangalore, Chennai and Pune. The company caters to about 400 marque customers with substantial contribution to Altair’s global revenues and has plans to expand its operations in the country. Probably India will be the single largest office for Altair globally.
Kumar said, “Altair is primarily focusing on developing modelling and visualisation techniques in its centres in India. Altair also caters to the user experience part. These are the areas of expertise which Altair is leveraging India for. Other than our regular structural engineering products, we have products ready for Communication, Internet of Things (IoT) and Data Analytics.”
“The latest addition to the product basket is Carriots, a complete IoT application enablement platform (AEP) to rapidly connect and manage devices, collect and analyse data and build intelligent applications together with enterprise business systems. Besides, Carriots Analytics speeds up data visualisation, exploration and discovery,” he said.
Altair has been making considerable investments in the recent past to develop products and services in the software segment. It plays a vital role in standardisation while also giving variety. This journey of transformation has been very significant for Altair.
“Now, we can even automatically generate code from a model-based design. Those tools exist with us. So, Altair will continue to be a key player in developing systems which will have software at its core. However, we are not an independent vehicle developer. We are basically helping our customers create products
that are relevant to changing times. That is entirely a different ball game,”Kumar said.