Troy, Michigan (USA) -- DELMIA Corp., a DS company (Nasdaq:DASTY; Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA)Dassault Systemes software has enabled TWR to take a concept car shown at the NEC International Motor Show and create a road car in full production in just 18 months.<br/>
The car in question is the RENAULTsport V6 24 valve Clio and Paul Burton, Manufacturing Projects Manager of TWR Group Limited, is in no doubt that such a rapid transformation would have proved impossible without specialist CAD, CAM, VR and ERP tools. The £27,000 RENAULTsport Clio is an extremely radical version of the Clio and has little in common with its more prosaic sister. Among the many changes to the design, wheel arches have been raised and the back seats and boot have been dispensed with entirely to house the powerful engine.<br/>
TWR deploys CATIA as its core CAD system and utilises CATIA FEA for CAE. Sister company DELMIA's IGRIP and QUEST systems were used for the first time by TWR to optimise robot off-line programming and determine the best factory layouts.<br/>
All of these technologies were brought together at the company's Leafield HQ which boasts the largest VR centre in Europe with the greatest amount of computing power world-wide. The cars themselves are being built in Sweden at the firm's manufacturing plant.<br/>
Paul Burton outlined the process: "First, we scanned the surface geometry from the show car and transferred it into CATIA. These surfaces were then approved in our VR centre using SGI Clearcoat 2. The obvious advantage of building the car in VR is the total eradication of traditional methods, such as clays or surface models. Concurrent or simultaneous engineering has long been the Holy Grail of automotive engineers. Our VR Centre was used constantly by both our Product and Process Engineers, so they were clearly able to see how changes to the design affected the manufacturing process. Product design, part manufacturing feasibility and car assembly feasibility were reviewed and developed before even building a prototype or committing to the tooling. We even ran crashes virtually and later, real-life crashes vindicated the virtual crash data."
Crucially using IGRIP, the TWR team were able to prove-out manufacturing details like gun access for welding and the off-line robot programming allowed the Clios to share the same paint shop as Volvos being produced at the same facility. Barcode readers told the robots which painting programme to use and the line is now running without a hitch. IGRIP even simulated the paint thickness build-up.<br/>
However, the initial five stations would have proved to be inadequate, with bottlenecks. Using QUEST, complex optimising calculations were undertaken to prove that six stations were in fact required.<br/>