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Business Process Management maximizes the scope of SPDM software solutions by ensuring full traceability and interconnectivity in the engineering design processes.

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The added value of combining ESTECO and PACE technologies for a server-based optimization of an EXPEDITE derived preliminary aircraft design.

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Balancing multiple disciplines in AEC

ESTECO Technology helped Bouygues Construction automate the simulation process to identify appropriate designs quicker.

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Success Story
Handling the Complexity of Mechatronic System Design
ABB Group, a global leader in power and automation technologies, covers almost every segment of the power generation and industrial process control market with its products and systems. With $1.4 billion in annual investments, the 8,500 engineers and scientists at ABB Research & Development are committed to meeting the automation industry’s ever-increasing demand for reducing energy consumption and improving reliability and performance. The design projects illustrated here highlight how ABB Group leverages optimization-based development to handle the complexity that electronic and software components entail. Looking at system interdependencies from the earliest concept phase is crucial for an effective strategy that aims at maximizing product performance, meeting reliability demands and easing the environmental impact of their products. ## Optimization-Based Development of Ultra High Performance Twin Robot Xbar Press Tending Robot System The industry challenge Industrial robots are sophisticated systems incorporating hardware and – increasingly – software components. Subsystem design (gearboxes, motors, sensors and brakes) and the interactions between elements such as machine interfaces, safety integrations, field buses, PCBAs, power supplies and drive modules must be carefully planned to assure the best possible performance. Over the years, cost pressures have made robots a commodity in terms of physical specifications. Among the many design challenges, the need for lighter components has resulted in reduced stiffness, making the control problem more complex. Furthermore, many third-party interfaces require integration and products that must comply to software, electrical and mechanical quality standards. ABB experience In the case of the Twin Robot Xbar Press Tending Robot System, one of ABB’s flagship robots, engineers considered 18 design variables (representing the gear torque, motor torque and motor speed) and managed objectives and constraints in modeFRONTIER, achieving a 12% energy saving, solely by varying the software components. “We optimized this robot ‘manually’ for 30 years and it is one of the most used. With modeFRONTIER we were able to identify a new design – requiring no implementation costs – bringing 12% of energy savings without compromising performance by changing only the software configuration. Obviously, this is something that can’t be done by hand – you need an optimization software to do it.” says Dr. Wappling, Global R&D Manager at ABB. ### Benefits “The ability to manage mechatronics is becoming increasingly important as simulation encompasses more and more systems and not just components: the impact of the mechanics, electronics and software all need to be accounted for.” continues Wappling. ESTECO technology keeps pace with evolving R&D needs and provides designers with a flexible environment that handles each delicate step of complex system analysis and enhancement. As seen in the example of the robot, inserting virtual control models in the simulation framework enables designers to apply the optimization approach, calibrate the software and identify zero-cost solutions. ## Multiobjective Optimization of a Medium Voltage Recloser The challenge Medium voltage reclosers now represent an important grid protection device that connects different grid sources, increase the network/grid reliability and make the implementation of self-healing and auto reconfiguration schemes for overhead lines possible. With a high level of renewable energy penetration, medium voltage networks are becoming bidirectional. Therefore, the associated switching devices must ensure the protection of newer types of power systems as well as new types of loads. The optimal design of medium voltage reclosers is therefore important in order to enable excellent switching capabilities. The switching capabilities of medium voltage recloser can be influenced by various parameters such as actuation energy responsible for opening and closing the device. Therefore, to maximize the lifetime of the recloser, it is essential to establish an optimized control especially related to the actuation energy. The goal of the multi-objective optimization is to identify an optimal actuation energy control strategy for the closing and opening operations. The solution ABB R&D Teams built a two-step optimization framework that incorporates the energy efficiency constraints by working initially on the electromagnetic actuator and directly optimizing the Finite Elements Model (FEM). The numerical simulation step was then completed with physical calibration via a Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) optimization process, ensuring that the whole system reaches the desired performance. During the first iterations, modeFRONTIER helped improve the FEM model by identifying the best configuration possible for the electromagnetic system, while satisfying the constraint imposed by the design boundary conditions. The parameterized FEM model created with COMSOL Multiphysics was connected to Matlab LiveLink so as to pilot all design changes automatically and control both models in sequence, leveraging the direct integration node for Matlab in modeFRONTIER. In the second step, the R&D Teams opted for the in-depth analysis of the system where modeFRONTIER was coupled both with the simulation model and with the hardware to further enhance the switching properties. The HIL framework enabled an investigation environment for the whole recloser system. Thanks to this approach, optimization can be applied to the control scheme implemented with CompactRIO/LabVIEW: after running one full closing-opening operation, data is transferred to Matlab for post processing and reinserted in the loop for the next runs. Since reducing overtravel and backtravel is extremely important for the product lifetime, with modeFRONTIER piloting the HIL system (1,500 runs with a DOE featuring selected parameters from the first optimization step), R&D Scientists pinpointed a new control scheme that enables significant extension of the product lifetime. “The identified control scheme enables up to 50% reduction of the overtravel and backtravel, enabling a remarkable improvement in terms of lifetime”, says Octavian Craciun Senior Scientist at ABB.
Success Story
Faster than the wind: the optimization experience in the America's Cup Challenge
The 34th edition of the America’s Cup was a breakthrough event in the world of sailing, with traditional mono hulls giving way to the AC72 class foiling catamarans equipped with foils and wing sails. Since then, sailing and engineering teams have been dealing with a new set of challenges ranging from boat handling, tactics and, it goes without saying, the design of these new vessels and their subsystems. ## New America’s Cup regulations: a design challenge From a design point of view, naval architects and engineers have been forced to rethink their way of working and open up to other design processes and methods, like in motor racing, which has already gone through a similar shift, where regulations tend to trigger a series of small incremental changes rather than radical one-off developments. Moreover, the change from yacht to flying catamaran has revolutionized sailing philosophy, leading to constant changes in speed and boat response to conditions. This means that catamaran performance needs to be maximized by taking into consideration a whole new set of predictions and external factors. When the Luna Rossa Challenge Team started developing the concept for the catamarans in view of their campaign of the 35th America’s Cup, it opted to implement design process integration and automation routines. The limitations imposed by America’s Cup regulations served to highlight the need for simulations and multi-domain analysis - tools that proved crucial to developing and improving the new AC62 class boats. ## The sailing modes and the need for optimization The new race regulations have brought about a multifaceted design process which requires taking into account different “sailing modes” and their respective physics in parallel. Even though the impact of the hull on overall performance at high wind speeds is practically negligible, its impact becomes significant at low-to-medium sailing speeds. Whereas in displacement sailing mode, the hull is fully immersed and more than 80% of the lift is due to the buoyancy of the hull, in skimming sailing mode, wind intensity makes the boat to start flying, resulting in a reduced effect of the buoyancy to 20% of the lift force. In foiling mode, at high wind speeds, the hull is completely out of the water and the catamaran sails on foils, reaching 30 knots upwind and 50 knots downwind. Analysts therefore need to consider both hydrodynamic and aerodynamic drag when switching from one mode to another, meaning that the higher the number of different configurations in terms of hull, foils and wings considered as design alternatives, the higher the probability of enhancing the performance of each mode. Moreover, given that regulations prevent the actual sailing of 62-foot catamarans until around five months before the competition, most of the important early design decisions are necessarily based on data taken from simulations. The highly sophisticated design skills needed and the different disciplines involved in the design make performance prediction harder, leading to the conclusion that the use, coupling and automation of simulation tools in the design process are indispensable. Add to that the sheer number of variables, constraints and objectives involved and it becomes obvious that a trial and error approach is unfeasible. These considerations led the Luna Rossa Challenge Team to adopt modeFRONTIER as its automation and numerical optimization tool of choice, ensuring an integrated design approach from the earliest stages of the catamaran design process. ## The Design Program Hull shape optimization As mentioned earlier, the hull is still a crucial element in the design of the boat. In the first stage of the design process the team decided to focus on the hydrodynamic analysis, considering the displacement and skimming modes. It is in pre-start phase when the hull shape affects performance the most as the boat accelerates from an almost static condition to reach peak speed and in some of the maneuvering conditions where the wind is not strong enough to make the boat fly. To optimize the hull shape taking into account the two sailing conditions, the team developed a hull shape generator to simulate the response for each variation and calculate the drag considering exclusively the shape. Michele Stroligo, CFD Analyst at Luna Rossa Challenge, set up the logic flow with modeFRONTIER to drive the design investigation and optimization of the hull shape. He first prepared VBA macros in Excel to generate the set of control points and splines. These were then transferred to Maxsurf to create the surfaces and return a geometry file as output. CFD simulations were then computed with STAR CCM+, analyzing a single hull 3D geometry with a time-dependent simulation where the boat was free to sink, moving from the hydrostatic to the dynamic equilibrium. “The automatic process was developed using modeFRONTIER, taking advantage of the Excel direct integration node, and two scripting nodes piloting the Maxsurf routine and the execution of CFD simulations on a remote cluster. This set up enabled us to use up to 400 cores for each design, significantly reducing the computational time from 10 hours to about 40 minutes” says Stroligo. The results from the first design step showed a reduction of drag of the order of 2% in displacement mode and of 18% in skimming mode. A single-objective process was used in the preliminary phase, where the cost function was weighted on each of the two computed conditions making this solution a compromise between the two scenarios. In the second step, the use of a multi-objective approach gave the advantage of making the solution independent from the user defined weight, imposed previously. The geometries generated during this second optimization study ensured better results for the combined displacement and skimming conditions. Moving forward, the team wanted to make sure that even during dynamic acceleration and take-off, the new candidates would bring about the same improvements when compared to the reference hull shape. With this in mind, the team performed a series of acceleration tests using a mathematical model that simulated wing and sail loads and the related force that pulled the boat in order to determine the time needed to switch from skimming to foiling mode. An appended hull configuration was used (hull, daggerboard, rudder and elevator) for these simulations. The angles and extensions of the appendages were the same for both cases. The comparison between a baseline hull and an optimized hull is shown in the chart below. As highlighted in the image above, the optimized hull (right) confirmed its superiority also during accelerations and take-offs, enabling the catamaran to begin the foiling phase about 5 seconds earlier, giving an advantage in terms of speed, distance traveled and agility. ### Foil optimization The other major task of the design program at Luna Rossa Challenge was to maximize performance during in foiling mode. The use of daggerboards - or foils - enables boats to lift both hulls out of the water and “fly” in medium and high wind intensity. From a physical perspective, foils must ensure a sufficient upward lift force - approximately equal to the weight of the boat - as well as a high horizontal force to counteract the side force generated by the wing sail and jib. At the same time, the drag and roll moment had to be minimized. To be complete, the analysis also needed to take into account constraints coming from rule specifications, structural behavior, cavitation limitations and stability criteria. “At Luna Rossa Challenge, we managed to setup a workflow that helped us explore a very wide range of foil shapes in an attempt to identify the optimum shape for given targets (drag, heeling moment, VMG…) and subject to a number of constraints (rule compliance, structural, cavitation, stability….). In this way, the exploration became fully automatic, resulting in significant time savings” says Giorgio Provinciali, Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) Leader, in charge of the foil design. The optimization workflow for the foil was built by integrating a Rhino 3D/Grasshopper model to generate the parametric 3D geometry; a CFD code (Panel code / Ranse) then evaluated the hydrodynamic performance. The geometry generation was driven by a script defining – among others - the following parameters: A spine curve defining the front view of the foil The leading edge shape Chord values along the span Airfoil thickness values along the span Airfoil camber values along the span Airfoil twist values along the span Airfoil sections basic shapes along the span The file was read and run by a Grasshopper script within Rhino 3D and the updated .igs geometry file was then transferred to the CFD code selected for the simulation - either the in-house panel code (DasBoot) or Ranse (StarCCM+). When the panel code was used, leeway and rake capable of achieving a target lift and side force were sought for different speed values. Whereas with the Ranse code, the simulated values for leeway and rake were interpolated to find the target lift and side force at given values of speed. The optimization objectives were drag and roll moment minimization at different speeds determined by the upwind and downwind sailing configuration for a given wind condition. These conditions were estimated by weighting each wind condition with the expected wind distribution at the competition venue. All inputs, geometrical variables, constraints and objectives were defined in the modeFRONTIER workflow. To successfully handle the highly constrained physical problem and efficiently explore the design space, the team opted for a combination of the ESTECO proprietary HYBRID and the NSGA II genetic algorithms. By taking advantage of the internal and automatic RSM computation of HYBRID, execution time was reduced even further. Despite the pervasive constraints, the algorithm was able to find feasible and efficient solutions and identify the Pareto front, balancing the optimal solutions for the two objective functions. “The post-processing tools available in modeFRONTIER gave us a good grasp of the most important parameters impacting the objectives and their correlation. Even more so, these advanced tools clearly highlighted the design trends, putting us in the right direction for more detailed investigation. ### Benefits and conclusions The America’s Cup regatta showcases the best sailing and engineering teams in the world who push design and vessel performance to the limits in their aim to win the coveted competition. Relying on design and simulation tools has become unavoidable; however, choosing the technology that serves as a true enabler of a designer’s ingenuity is still an invaluable source of advantage against other teams. As highlighted in the case studies, modeFRONTIER gave Luna Rossa specialists four key advantages: the automation of the design processes, the seamless integration of the software chain, the effective exploration capabilities of its proprietary algorithms and – boosting the efficiency of the whole simulation process - the flexible handling of distributed computing resources. By integrating and automating the multiple tools, engineering team was able to let the complex, multi-disciplinary simulation workflows run autonomously and simultaneously consider several physical aspects while having more time to focus on design analysis, post-processing of results and in-depth decision making. The intelligent design space exploration and optimization capabilities of the algorithms combined with the efficiency of using a distributed computation set-up helped reduce the development time and quickly delivered prototypes to be tested by the sailing team. By running parallel simulations on a network of computers using the modeFRONTIER Grid Tool, designers found better solutions with a reduced number of iterations made by the robust algorithms. Further steps of the design program at Luna Rossa aim to include the other disciplines (structures and aerodynamics) as well as other modeling approaches (VPP simulation, race modeling program, wing sail optimization, and boat handling) in the process. Provinciali concludes that “working on the Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) and race modeling within the foil design optimization workflow would allow us to optimize boat performance by also considering the race track and the wind conditions expected at the AC venue.” Stroligo points out that “sensible reduction of parallel simulation execution in this perspective gives us the option to add robustness in the design optimization process of the hull shape taking into account the variability of sea conditions as well as focus our attention on maneuver and handling requirements”.
Success Story
Balancing multiple disciplines to design adaptable and sustainable buildings
Bouygues Construction develops innovation to support companies with new construction methods and materials, while considering future usages. The main requirements for a new construction include objective measures, flexibility, industrialization, collaboration and sustainability. Moreover, customers also ask for innovative and evolving buildings. Bouygues keeps developing innovative processes together with a collaborative Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) platform, which allows the various actors involved in the project to make quicker decisions and have a crystal clear overview of the possible solutions. Cover image: courtesy of Bouygues Construction | Morpheus Hotel | credit photo Virgile Simon Bertrand (2018) Challenge A building is a prototype that is manufactured once. It’s not a functional project like a car or an airplane, where a design process can be profitable thanks to the sales volumes involved. On top of this, a building is created on site with local resources and labour, as well as environmental challenges that need to be taken into account. Engineers have to mix different disciplines such as cost engineering, methods, structure (reinforce concrete, steel, timber etc.), and building life cycle. Bouygues Construction had to take into consideration a variety of disciplines and variables to optimize building performances and propose the most adapted design to its client. ## Solution Bouygues has automated the design process of a building floor with modeFRONTIER, considering 26 input parameters such as geometry, solutions, usage specifications, structural dimensions, unit prices, and unit times of construction. The outputs were the costs, construction pace, carbon footprint. Within the VOLTA collaborative platform, engineers succeeded in implementing different construction designs and provided the most profitable and the most sustainable solutions to the building team. This was possible thanks to the seamless integration of the simulation tools currently deployed at Bouygues. This was performed in as little as two days with one engineer. “The good software is the one the designer knows and masters - explained Sylvain Géry, Senior Structural Engineer at Bouygues Construction - ESTECO Technology can easily integrate with any simulation solver. This helps when a project involves different countries and enterprises who are used to working with different tools”. Benefits Thanks to the ESTECO Technologies for process automation, design optimization and simulation data management, Bouygues fastened the simulation process and reduced the overall design project time. Engineers built multidisciplinary processes and effectively coordinated all the phases involved. They could also assess the final design performance while considering costs and carbon footprint. Moreover, the collaboration between experts from different areas and the traceability of the simulation model evolution simplified the management of the project. In the building industry there are many construction options available. “Thanks to MDO, - Géry said - we could objectively quantify the benefits of the various construction types and identify the most appropriate combination of material usage, material technology and construction workers costs.”
Success Story
Perfecting the manufacture of pressurized gas vessels
Funded by the European Union, the GASVESSEL project aims to prove the techno-economic feasibility of a new transport concept for compressed natural gas (CNG). ESTECO, in partnership with other industrial organizations from the energy, Oil&Gas and naval engineering fields, has developed an innovative solution to manufacture pressure vessels that are considerably lighter than the current state-of-the-art alternatives. These super-light pressure vessels enable new ship designs that have much higher payloads and dramatically lower transportation costs per volume of gas. ## Challenge Traditional pressure vessels normally used to transport liquified gas by ship cannot be used to transport CNG. This is because the relevant thickness of the ship walls required to maintain the operating pressure of 300 bar would add significant weight to the vessels, reducing their loading capacity. In fact, one of the main challenges addressed by the project is to produce lightweight pressure vessels for the transport of CNG using filament winding, which is a popular method suitable for manufacturing axisymmetric structures that are light and stiff. It involves the use of several layers of fiber-reinforced composite materials wrapped around a thin internal metal liner. ## Solution During the design phase, the material and geometrical parameters of the vessel (mainly related to the number and winding angle of the layers, the percentage of composite fibers and the liner’s mechanical properties) were considered for optimization to reduce the weight and costs while honoring the structural constraints. The winding process was physically modelled with CADWIND software to evaluate the distribution of composite layer thickness at each point of the vessel. The filament winding simulation model and the stress analysis of the vessel were then integrated in a modeFRONTIER workflow to evaluate the different solutions and choose the best designs. The optimization task, which aimed to maximize the uniformity of distribution of the winding layers and minimize their number while respecting the structural constraints of the vessel, was conducted using pilOPT, ESTECO proprietary autonomous algorithm. ## Benefits modeFRONTIER process automation and optimization capabilities enabled the engineers involved in the project to automatically evaluate thousands of gas vessel designs in just a few days, as opposed to losing weeks by doing it manually. The Bubble Chart allowed them to visualize and identify the best candidate designs among those with the lower weight and manufacturing costs. As a result, the first gas vessel prototypes, which weighed up to 70% less than the vessels not reinforced with filament winding, could be manufactured and have already been successfully tested.
Success Story
Honda enhances pedestrian protection with modeFRONTIER
Using modeFRONTIER to minimize crash deformation of an aluminum hood Honda Automobile R&D Center strives to fulfil their social responsibilities as an automaker with respect to environmental conservation, safety and quality assurance. Among these challenges, engineers at Honda employed modeFRONTIER software solution to find the optimal vehicle aluminum hood configuration in order to reduce pedestrian head injuries caused by car collisions. ## Challenge Japanese traffic accident statistics show that more than a thousand of fatalities occur every year mainly due to head injuries. The European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) is widely used to evaluate pedestrian head protection with impacts against vehicles. In addition, car manufacturers are required to reduce vehicle weight to meet CO2 emissions standard. As a result, they have increased the use of aluminum hood which guarantees 40% of weight reduction compared with steel. However, this normally demands a longer crash deformation for pedestrian protection because the energy absorption characteristics is lower than steel (low inertia and stiffness). Accordingly, aluminum requires increased clearances under the hood together with further restrictions in terms of layout structure. Combining pedestrian protection and weight reduction became a key challenge in the car industry. Engineers at Honda, focused on building an aluminum hood capable of reducing crash deformation and achieving five-star Euro NCAP for head protection. ## Solution Starting from a conventional aluminum hood with many large holes, the panel has been filled and impressed with truncated cones to increase mass and stiffness. An optimization process was created in modeFRONTIER workflow to perfect the inner embossed aluminum hood for 9 head impact points defined by Euro-NCAP. modeFRONTIER allowed to refine 15 design parameters (mainly related to mass and stiffness) to minimize the impact deformation, and automate the interaction between different simulation solvers. CATIA was used to modify the shape, while ANSA solver generated the mesh for head impact simulation performed by LS-DYNA solver. The results were then processed in LS-PrePost to evaluate Head Injury Criterion (HIC) and deformation. Benefits Starting from a conventional aluminum hood with many large holes, the panel has been filled and impressed with truncated cones to increase mass and stiffness. An optimization process was created in modeFRONTIER workflow to perfect the inner embossed aluminum hood for 9 head impact points defined by Euro-NCAP. modeFRONTIER allowed to refine 15 design parameters (mainly related to mass and stiffness) to minimize the impact deformation, and automate the interaction between different simulation solvers. CATIA was used to modify the shape, while ANSA solver generated the mesh for head impact simulation performed by LS-DYNA solver. The results were then processed in LS-PrePost to evaluate Head Injury Criterion (HIC) and deformation.
Success Story
Pipistrel: flying straight from simulation to production
The ESTECO optimization technology as a way to skip any prototype phase for a hybrid-electric aircraft propeller Pipistrel, an aviation & aerospace company based in Slovenia, relied on ESTECO Technologies to design the propeller for a highly efficient, hybrid-electric aircraft. The work was part of the EU-funded project MAHEPA (Modular Approach to Hybrid Electric Propulsion Architecture), that had the aim of advancing two variants of a low emission, serial hybrid-electric propulsion architecture to TRL (Technology Readiness Level) 6. The modeFRONTIER process automation and optimization software allowed automation in the simulation process and identification of innovative and optimized designs in a limited time. Challenge Engineers at Pipistrel had the challenge to design a propeller, driven by hybrid-electric propulsion system taking into account the different conditions the aircraft meets during the four flight phases: takeoff, climb, cruise and descent. Considering speed, power and thrust requirements changing during the flight, the objective was to maximize takeoff thrust and recuperation power during descent and minimize power during climb and cruise phase. The optimization involved three stages: the preliminary propeller optimization, the airfoil optimization, and the final propeller optimization. ## Solution For this multi-phase optimization project, Rok Lapuh and David Eržen, aero-dynamics engineers at Pipistrel, used modeFRONTIER coupled with CHARM (Comprehensive Hierarchical Aeromechanics Rotorcraft Model) and XFOIL, an interactive program for the design and analysis of subsonic isolated airfoils. Benefiting from the ESTECO process automation technology, Pipistrel could automate the simulation workflows, simultaneously evaluate thousands of designs and identify innovative optimized results. This process was conducted in a fully autonomous way leaving Pipistrel’s engineers the task to select the most appropriate design. With the first propeller optimization, Pipistrel optimized the chord and twist distribution to get the maximum thrust and minimum power for a given set of airfoils. The results were then used as requirements for the airfoil optimization. The design team used modeFRONTIER to design the airfoil under specific geometry constraints (thickness, cur- vature or leading-edge radius), while increasing the lift and reducing the drag. They started a Design of Experiments phase and then used the HYBRID genetic algorithm to successfully run the airfoil optimization and get the Pareto front with the optimal designs. At last, they used the optimum airfoil for the final propeller optimization. With the ESTECO optimization algorithms, engineers at Pipistrel could evaluate almost five thousand designs in a limited time and increase the thrust by 30% during takeoff. ## Benefits Before using modeFRONTIER, Pipistrel went through a manual process to simulate multiple designs and choose the preferred one. With the introduction of ESTECO Technology, Pipistrel engineers not only were able to automate this process, but could evaluate options not considered otherwise. “modeFRONTIER optimization technology gave me the opportunity to think outside of the box - said Rok Lapuh, Aerodynamics Engineer at Pipistrel - We could find a design that is completely different from what we’re used to, but that may work even better”. They also dramatically reduced the go-to-market time as they moved from simulation directly to the production. “We trust the results we get with modeFRONTIER so much that we don’t expect we’ll require a prototype - said David Eržen, Aerodynamics Engineer at Pipistrel - We go straight into production”.
Success Story
Optimizing a perfect race engine. ESTECO Academy Design Competition winner
modeFRONTIER enabled Michael Bambula of the University of Florida to run the workflow, integrate third-party software, automate the design exploration process and perform post-process analysis. The winner, Michael Bambula of the University of Florida, presented a top-notch design project, in which he achieved significant performance improvements (64.2 hp @16500 rpm) while developing a complete model for a Moto3 bike and realistic simulations that also considered the specifics of the race track. Organized in partnership with Aprilia Racing and Gamma Technologies, the competition was open to teams of undergraduate and graduate engineering students. The challenge was to improve the design of a 4 stroke single cylinder engine through multidisciplinary optimization (using modeFRONTIER) and 1-D simulation of the engine system with GT-SUITE. The competition award included an internship opportunity at the APRILIA Racing team, which counts several World Championship Awards. The goal of the project was to maximize engine power. Due to the constrained engine architecture, an optimization of the Intake/Exhaust system was performed. Gamma Technologies supplied a set of simulation tools (GT-Suite) to develop the 1-D model of the high-performance engine. Various aspects of the base engine architecture were constrained such as Bore, Stroke, Con Rod Length, Engine Speed, Max Valve Diameters, Max Valve Lift, Max Throttle Diameter, Max Compression Ratio, Non-variable Cam Timing, and Naturally Aspirated. Considering these constraints, the optimization of the cylinder filling (Wave Dynamics) was seen as the logical design direction. modeFRONTIER workflow was used to automate the design exploration process and integrate Excel and GT-Suite for computing lifts value intake and exhaust valve lift profiles and simulating the engine power output. During the development of the 1-D Engine Model there were inherently many unknowns, therefore Michael made assumptions supported by rigorous research. The design variables related to the intake/ exhaust system were automatically found by modeFRONTIER to optimize the output results: sum of engine power across engine speeds speeds from lowest to highest respectively (11500 rpm to 17500 rpm). “modeFRONTIER ran 1000 different designs that varied the input parameters. The Hybrid Algorithm did an amazing job at finding the optimum solutions based on the objective of maximizing the engine power” said Michael Bambula, University of Florida Racing Team. “The analysis went beyond just determining the most powerful engine”, continued Bambula, “in fact the final objective, aimed at determining whether a certain design is sufficient for motorsports, was to compare it to lap times. This is why it was decided that the final group of optimum results from modeFRONTIER would be simulated in OptimumLap software considering, among other assumptions, a Moto3 motorcycle model traversing the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Australia”.
Success Story
Takenaka Corporation: from Integration to Collaboration in the simulation process
Discover how designers, engineers and managers benefit from ESTECO Technology to simplify their DESIGN&BUILD process. Using VOLTA simulation process & data management, and design optimization capabilities, they collaboratively assessed the performance of structural elements of a new company building to maximize office space capacity. ## Why Design&Build and Simulation Process and Data Management Collaboration between design and construction has traditionally been playing an important role in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. Takenaka Corporation, one of the top construction companies in Japan, ensures certified process and construction quality at the highest levels with its integral DESIGN&BUILD system. This methodology integrates architecture, building technology, and construction in a unified flow of work from concept through completion, replacing the traditional approach where the design and construction phases of a building project are carried out in a sequential manner. The DESIGN&BUILD system leads to many advantages: effective communication, unified quality, effective timing and cost overruns, and reduced completion time. In fact, architects and engineers collaborate with each other, share data, and are updated on various requirements to deliver innovative building solutions and meet clients’ expectations. When Takenaka Corporation embraced the DESIGN&BUILD system, it looked for a reliable Simulation Process and Data Management (SPDM) platform. That is why they partnered with ESTECO to simplify the whole simulation design process, manage a huge amount of data across teams, and shorten product development time. Designers, engineers and managers involved in the architectural projects access ESTECO VOLTA from a web browser and intuitively interact with the simulation process. From running 3D building simulations to applying design optimization techniques, analyze results and share data on the internal cloud for collaborative decision making. ## Expanding 3D building modeling and design optimization techniques across the enterprise Conducting manually parametric studies on 3D building models can become a time-consuming process leading to delays in project schedules. Overcoming these challenges for designers and engineers at Takenaka Corporation translate into an extensive use of ESTECO process automation, integration, and design optimization technology to significantly accelerate the architectural simulation design process. By combining modeling solvers as Rhino3D/Grasshopper, Abaqus, Midas iGen, or other in-house design software in modeFRONTIER powerful workflow, they can execute complex simulation chains and evaluate thousands of complex geometries in a short time. On top of that, applying ESTECO state-of-the-art design exploration and optimization algorithms to assess the correlation between several requirements (room size, thermal comfort, structural design to name a few) and maximize the building performance. At Takenaka, they had to make a step forward to expand the usage of 3D building modeling and design optimization techniques across teams with different expertise. Indeed, designers and engineers usually perform simple data analysis and are not necessarily confident in simulation and workflow set-up execution. Moreover, the DESIGN&BUILD methodology requires effective collaboration between the different actors involved in the simulation process to make changes and update their models for further analysis. This gap has been filled by scaling up modeFRONTIER desktop solution capabilities across the enterprise with the ESTECO VOLTA collaborative web platform. It enables simulation experts to create and make the simulation workflow ready to be executed via web. Then, designers and engineers can use these simulation models, apply design optimization techniques, and analyze results in the VOLTA platform. Since the simulation data are accessible in their internal cloud, it is easier for them to quickly interact with the simulation experts asking for updated CAD/CAE models when design changes are required. In the end, managers can log in to the VOLTA web platform, access product performance metrics, and monitor the whole simulation product development advancements. This scenario has been successfully applied in the early design phase of a new office building project. VOLTA made simulation usable by different teams to optimize structural elements in order to guarantee maximum office space capacity. Use case: rationalize the slab shape of an office building with VOLTA web collaborative platform Expanding the usage of simulation and optimization became a true fact when Takenaka’s designers and engineers had to collaborate in order to assess the performance of structural elements for a new office building. The subcontracted project required to drastically reduce the number of columns to make the most of the office space. However, the expected distance between the columns is about 17 meters, which is quite a lot according to the Japanese regulations. This has an unavoidable impact on the flat surface of a slab, a common structural element used to construct floors and ceilings. The slab needs a proper curve in order to guarantee the stiffness. Although, a side effect of the increased curvature may unbalance the floor forces and cause local additional bending moments. The solution is not just filling the curved slab shape, rather including massive amounts of ribs in some areas. To achieve this, the company’s designers and engineers combined the use of 3D building modeling techniques with ESTECO VOLTA collaborative web platform to explore reasonable volume amounts and coverage of the slab. First, they used Rhino3D/Grasshopper to create and model the shape of the office building and then converted it (in Grasshopper) to be meshed in Midas iGen to perform structural analysis. In the end, the several outputs from finite element analysis such as maximum displacement and the stress were extracted by using a python script. The interaction between the different simulation solvers was automated in the modeFRONTIER workflow coupled within the ESTECO VOLTA platform environment. This enabled simulation experts to upload the modeFRONTIER workflow and execute it through a web interface. Then, the structural engineers benefited from the VOLTA Advisor, a web environment for advanced post-processing and data visualization, to assess the simulation results from the finite element analysis model and validate the deformed shape of the all structure. For the same project, they also performed additional analysis through the VOLTA Planner dashboard, a modular interface to apply several optimization strategies in an intuitive way. This allowed them to easily create new simulation plans, change parameters bound, objectives and constraints with the aim of finding the best designs with minimized both the building weight and the maximum displacement of slab. “Thanks to the VOLTA HPC & Cloud capabilities, we were able to evaluate more than 700 designs in just four days. The VOLTA Player interface allowed to execute these computational heavy multi objective optimization analysis on the cloud without having to think how resources are used remotely”. Toru Inaba, Computational Design Group at Takenaka Corporation, also said that one of the key benefits of using VOLTA is to make simulation data accessible to a broader team of designers and engineers. “In particular,” concluded Toru Inaba, “our simulation experts could share the best practices on how to use the VOLTA Advisor, the web environment for advanced data analysis and visualization, with the structural engineers. The VOLTA web platform and its apps enabled us to truly democratize our DESIGN&BUILD simulation process. Designers and engineers can now access to the simulation results in one click and collaboratively take decisions without only relying on siloed reports of data”.
Success Story
American Magic perfects AC75 design for the 36th America’s Cup
The America’s Cup isn’t just the first sailing competition in history, it’s also the first when it comes to innovation. Learn how American Magic engineers partnered with ESTECO to prepare for their next challenge. Using modeFRONTIER in different phases of the design process, they integrated geometry changes, performed hydrodynamic CFD simulations and explored different optimization strategies. ## New design challenges: monohulls that fly The America’s Cup is the oldest and most important trophy in sailing. What makes it unique is that the reigning champion gets to decide the rules for the next edition, like the date and the location. More importantly, it defines boat class and design rules. The 33rd America’s cup in 2010 pushed the boundaries of boat design by introducing new technologies, design concepts and materials. When BMW Oracle pitted its 34-meter trimaran and 55-meter high rigid wing against Alinghi in the first regatta, it won by 15 minutes, sailing at more than 18 knots in 8 knots of wind. The 36th America’s Cup builds on changes to previous edition class rules with a new boat concept: a monohull racing boat that doesn’t sacrifice the concept of flying boats. Two t-shaped side foils guarantee that the boat flies above the water. Engineers can’t rely on previous experience and now find themselves having to design a completely new boat. Moreover, competition rules allow teams to design only certain parts of the boat, like foil wings, sails, hulls and systems, while others must be designed by third parties. Whereas the foil wing structure and profile can be designed by teams, the arm structure is determined, designed, and built by a supplier company. American Magic is using ESTECO technology in each phase of the design process, from concept to the refinement of foils and sails. Specifically it uses modeFRONTIER. Its process automation, intelligent algorithms and advanced post-processing capabilities enable engineers to deliver optimized solutions faster. ## Complex simulation studies on foil and mainsail geometries The AC75 has two t-shaped side foils. The arm is attached to the hull with a moving joint which allows the crew to move the foils in and out of the water according to the sailing mode. On the other end of the arm is the foil itself. The foil has a main airfoil profile section coupled with moving flaps. Internally, enough space must be guaranteed for the systems to operate the flaps. Foil design is challenging because it involves the simulation of myriad geometries in different configurations and under multiple operating conditions - all of which determine boat performance. Foils need to create low drag but generate enough force to enable the boat to lift at the start and fly during the race. Righting moment is required to balance the heeling moment of the sails. At higher speeds, cavitation can cause significant loss in performance. Stability is fundamental, especially during maneuvers. In the first stage, hydrodynamic performance is computed using a low-fidelity solver that takes into account the different operating conditions - namely speed, sailing mode and position in the water. In the second stage, the full 3D geometry is designed and evaluated using CFD simulations. High-fidelity simulations can’t be used directly in the first stage of development due to lengthy computational times. The sail plan is composed of the mainsail and a jib or code zero, which are interchangeable. All dimensions are restricted by rules, so engineers can optimize the shape within specific limits. The mainsail is a twin skin sail that acts like an airfoil. By adjusting mast rotation, twist and boom position, the 3D geometry of the mainsail can be tuned for different wind speeds and sailing modes foils, the aerodynamic forces are tuned to generate lift, maintaining momentum and low drag. ## Getting foil and sail design just right American Magic engineers are using several simulation software for the foil and sail design which consists of three steps: geometry definition, force computation and boat speed estimation. The entire process is automated in modeFRONTIER. Multiple workflows handle input modifications, the execution of different tools and file and data exchange. Mares, developed by Airbus, handles the geometry generation of the airfoil and the flap, considering different combinations. Hydrodynamic forces generated by the foil, lift, drag and momentum, as well as cavitation speed are obtained through CFD simulations. The designers use a low fidelity 1D potential-based code in the initial phases to evaluate multiple configurations in a small amount of time. American Magic uses a RANS-based tool to perform high fidelity 3D simulations in the final refinement and optimization phase. Both Mares and the CFD tools are coupled with modeFRONTIER using Easydriver nodes. This enables them to couple their in-house tools using input and output files and customize execution scripts. Geometry consistency is guaranteed by constraints that filter out weird shapes and meet requirements for internal cabling and mechanisms as well as cavitation limits. The main goal of the optimization is to minimize drag for specific lift values. It isn’t enough to understand the efficacy of a foil shape. It’s important to understand how the boat behaves. An in-house Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) software estimates the overall boat performance at different wind speeds and sailing modes. The software uses forces generated by foils and sails to find the overall boat equilibrium and predict boat velocity. A nested modeFRONTIER workflow handles different operating conditions. These are sequentially run, using internal loops to compute the global performance of the design. Multiple operations are handled in parallel to make the most of computational resources. Once the forces are solved, these are passed on to the VPP calculation. Foil and sail design share most of the process and simulation tools but defining the geometry is more complex. The mainsail is divided into several sections where each section can have a different shape based on input values. On top of this, optimal adjustments for every shape need to be calculated. This results in large numbers of configurations which are run to find the best design. It’s fundamental to formulate constraints based on maneuverability, considering adjustments that are feasible for the crew - optimal solutions have no meaning if they are too complex to be performed during the race. Each design phase requires a different optimization strategy. In early stages, genetic algorithms guarantee robustness to find the global optimum in a large design domain. In the last phase, it’s important to cut optimization time - conventional techniques aren’t feasible. Therefore, multi-strategy algorithms are used in combination with advanced initialization techniques to speed up the whole optimization process. ## American Magic and ESTECO - partners in innovation The American Magic design team relied on ESTECO technology in the design and optimization of the boat. Paolo Motta, Performance Prediction Engineer says, “The AC75 is a complex racing boat with interacting subsystems. This makes the design process a challenging and time-consuming task. Using modeFRONTIER process automation, intelligent algorithms and decision making capabilities enables us to decrease foil optimization time from 3 weeks to 4 days. This gives us time to discuss and think about present challenges and develop new solutions”. According to Arthur Rozand, Performance Prediction Engineer, “The key benefit of using modeFRONTIER is to have a suite of tools in one place. In this way it’s easy to manage design and optimization from the exploratory phase to post-processing and decision making. Time is a constraint in development. With modeFRONTIER, we have the flexibility to tailor the strategy. For example, in the early stages of development, DOE strategies and the sensitivity analysis tool help us understand which design variables are the most important. In the final stage of development we use multi-strategy algorithms and advanced charts to select the best design.” “Our partnership with ESTECO is bringing in great results.” says Giorgio Provinciali, Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) Lead, “Working side-by-side with ESTECO engineers enables us to pool our respective expertise to get the most out of modeFRONTIER”.
Success Story
Best performance of blast furnace with material charge optimization
Using modeFRONTIER coupled with Rocky DEM to design a better deflector while saving up to 130 hours of computational time The Arvedi Group turned to the University of Trieste to find a solution to the uneven material distribution inside the hopper of the blast furnace in Trieste, Italy. The Mechanical Engineering Department investigated the problem and used modeFRONTIER to optimize the design of a new deflector ensuring a better distribution of the materials. Exploiting the ESTECO integration and process automation technology they coupled modeFRONTIER with Rocky DEM software to accelerate the simulation process of the material distribution. Using the proprietary algorithms available in modeFRONTIER, they were also able to find the optimal design for a new deflector. ## Challenge The project concerned the charging process of coke coal and iron ore inside the hopper. The different materials formed piles and pitches, leading to a lower performance of the plant. The uneven material distribution inside the hopper caused variations in the temperature profile, gas flow, and gas composition. To solve this problem modeFRONTIER was coupled with Rocky DEM to get a better understanding of materials behavior and optimize the design of the deflector. The integration with modeFRONTIER also allowed to meet the time constraints, reducing the computational time for each simulation. ## Solution This project was developed in two phases. The first phase concerned the calibration of Rocky DEM parameters and the simulation of hopper charge. The second phase consisted in optimizing the geometry of a new deflector for the charging process.For the calibration process, they used the parameters of Discrete Element Method as inputs in modeFRONTIER, such as particle- particle static friction and rolling resistance. The repose angle of simulated material was used as output. For the device optimization, a sensitivity analysis with Uniform Latin Hypercube allowed to run 90 designs and identify the most important design variables. Engineers then optimized three different geometries, taking these geometrical variables as inputs. The outputs were based on the material distribution, calculated by virtually splitting the hopper into 12 sectors and performing statistical analysis on the particles found in each. These values were used to define the two objectives and the constraints of the optimization. They used the ESTECO proprietary pilOPT algorithm to run the three optimization studies. Thanks to the autonomous mode they could evaluate more than 1000 designs in just a few weeks, without having to set any parameters and with remarkable benefits in terms of time. Benefits Thanks to a user-friendly graphical user interface, modeFRONTIER helped automate the simulation process. Without modeFRONTIER, engineers would have had to manually change the geometry of the deflector for every simulation, with significant waste of time. With modeFRONTIER they were able to save up to 130 hours of computational time. Finally, by automating the process, design engineers could launch the optimization and avoid the painstaking process of manually combining the output from multiple applications.