The challenges of automotive manufacturers are evolving rapidly due to the increasing complexity of their components and products as well as environmental constraints and globalization. Due to this fact, the automotive industry is pressured to reduce the development, manufacturing and testing times needed from early concept phases to the completely finished vehicle. In addition to time reduction, attention is also focused on the efforts associated with development, manufacturing and testing processes, as this also needs to be reduced. As a result of this pressure, adequate development and testing methods must be implemented to optimize the entire automotive development process. One of these methods includes the utilization of enhanced virtual products (EVP) in the areas of styling, design, simulation, and production engineering within various computer-aided environments. Nowadays, the automotive sector also focuses on the environmental friendliness of its products. Therefore, emission reduction and environmental compatibility should be considered from the outset in the development and integration of enhanced virtual products. Vehicle manufacturers and suppliers have been able to take a big strike ahead to accelerate engineering processes thanks to the application of virtual product development. Especially in the initial phase of vehicle development, it is feasible to achieve virtual test results by analysis and simulation resulting in avoidance of superfluous process steps as well as resource and time savings throughout the entire development process. Crash tests and aerodynamic tests on vehicles are examples of how virtual simulation models can increasingly replace physical prototypes to a large extent. The influence of virtual products in combination with knowledge-based engineering methodologies in the early stages of automotive development, manufacturing and testing processes is the subject of this research. In addition, the approach presented demonstrates the significant potential for time, cost, effort, and resource savings that support earlier time-to-market of products by EVPs incorporating the most diverse phases of the automotive product lifecycle and associated engineering environments.
Graz University of Technology: Alexander Kreis, Alexander Fragner, Tarik Kanuric