As customers continue to demand more from their vehicles and as regulations for noise, safety and emissions become increasingly strict, the winning formula for successful product design and a strong brand image continues to depend on a solid testing process
Product success today is all about getting it right. All of it right, including producing the right car with the right functional performance profile, the right brand and regional market characteristics and the right price tag, all with the right timing. That is a lot to handle, to say the least.
So what is the magic formula to strike the right balance?
To begin with, there has been a seismic shift toward simulation software to streamline today’s platform-based, multi-variant design process. Test experts at a major automotive manufacturer estimate that 75% of a car’s noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), ride and handling or durability performance is now designed using simulation solutions. They estimate that this could reach 100% in few years.
Even with upfront simulation, the question still remains:
how do you make sure that what was designed on the computer screen will act like it should in the real world? The answer is simple: you test it.
You test it throughout the development cycle. At the beginning, there are extensive benchmarking and target setting studies to collect valuable data on the vehicle, system and component level for new product development. During the development process, you might test so as to close verification and validation loops or investigate specific acoustic, structural or durability issues to make sure that product development is going the right way. And then you test again on the final prototype to validate the performance prior to production.
More precious than gold
Today prototype time is more precious than gold and test
cycles simply need to be faster and faster. The secret is resource optimization. Ask any test engineer and they will reply that despite streamlining manpower and using more sophisticated simulation processes, the trend today is to do as much testing as fast as possible with the best possible quality. Final validation happens as late in the development stage as feasible. And nobody wants to have to troubleshoot during the late prototyping stage. It is just too expensive.
From a testing perspective, all this might sound like mission impossible, but it isn’t if the testing team has the innovative process, expertise and tools to get the job done right. This is why successful testing teams count on the best-possible tools such as dedicated LMS Test.Lab software and LMS SCADAS hardware. This is the secret.
Bruno Massa – Vice President Test Division (STS) at Siemens PLM Software