How IT is speeding up growth of auto firms

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Published: June 1, 2015 12:13:10 AM

Platforms such as 3DExperience can provide software solutions for every segment in the automotive ecosystem

In 2013, for the Guangzhou, China, launch of Dongfeng Nissan’s new Teana, Realtime Technology (RTT)—the provider of professional high-end 3D visualisation software—created a virtual reality-based presentation that offered the public a detailed and scaled product experience in a hitherto unknown form and quality. During the unveiling, a virtual image of the Teana was projected onto the stage and orchestrated interactively in front of the public’s eyes.

This was made possible by tracking the presenter’s on-stage movements in real-time and combining the information with scenes produced in RTT DeltaGen. (Dassault Systèmes has since acquired RTT, which is now called 3DExcite.)
While that was a simple launch presentation, automotive companies globally—using technologies such as
3DExcite and 3DExperience—are increasingly putting brakes on prototype costs. In fact, even cars which are completely made in India—from design stage to the final product—today have a lot of components that have been fully created using such technologies.

Earlier this year, in an interview to FE, the India MD of Dassault Systèmes, Chandan Chowdhury, had said that the role of IT in speeding up growth of automotive companies is assuming greater prominence (

He spoke about the fact that, in the near future, most automobile manufacturers would deploy telematics, embedded software and in-vehicle infotainment to enhance their competitive positions. “The challenge, however, would be to integrate the various technologies and offer in-vehicle experience in the most simple, seamless, safe and user-friendly manner.”

Dassault Systèmes specialises in the production of 3D design software, 3D digital mock-up and product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions. The company says that its 3DExperience platform can provide software solutions for every organisation in an automotive ecosystem that can help customers in the value creation process.

However, the question is, how can 3D solutions reduce manufacturing cost? It has been reported that, per year, over
1 billion euros are spent by OEMs globally for producing prototypes before a vehicle is validated for mass production.

Chowdhury says that a new trend has started to emerge—called NPD (No Prototype Development)—using which manufacturing costs can be brought down significantly. “If potential issues of products can be checked early in the product development phase, the cost incurred in fixing them can be drastically reduced. Today, many of our premier automotive customers in India are adopting this strategy in varied levels of maturity in their product development process,” Chowdhury adds.

One of the solutions is digital manufacturing—the use of an integrated, computer-based system comprised of simulation, 3D visualisation, analytics and various collaboration tools to create product and manufacturing process definitions simultaneously.

While PLM implementation is helping the auto industry become more collaborative, adaptive, flexible and responsive, but today’s market drivers require more from PLM technology to survive in the increasingly competitive and global industry. “In India, we see a huge wave of digital technology adoption right from conceptual engineering phase until better dealership experience and there are varied number of projects we are working on across sectors to bring value to our clients through 3DExperience,” says Chowdhury.

The future technological development in the Indian automotive industry would also be driven by changing demands in the core areas of fuel efficiency, emission reduction, safety and durability and innovative features. With the focus on green technology, green vehicle manufacturing—product and process innovation and enhancement of efficiency and productivity—is also set to assume centre-stage.

Indeed, in view of fluctuating fuel prices and increasing expectations of Indian consumers for cost-effective and fuel-efficient vehicles, OEMs would start to place greater thrust on two core areas—reduction in weight of the vehicle and the development of smaller engines. “The need for improved margin would put cost optimisation high on the industry’s agenda. This would increase the need for local sourcing, local manufacturing and collaborative multi-plant operations. Globalisation objectives would lead to companies widening their presence, not just within the domestic boundaries but also across global markets,” Chowdhury adds.

Does this mean that the Indian automobile manufacturing landscape is set to significantly change, going ahead?
Chowdhury says that the government, with the help of regulatory bodies ARAI and SIAM, is trying to give directions for the long-term growth of the automotive industry and is also giving a special impetus to the automotive component sector, aligned with its Make-in-India policy. “Key policy decisions such as the National Electrical Mobility Mission Plan, new fuel efficiency norms, Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program and Vehicle Recall Policy are expected to change the direction of the industry since it is becoming important to be transparent with the customer on vehicle quality,” Chowdhury adds.

Clearly, the future technological development in the Indian automotive industry would be driven by changing demands in the areas of fuel efficiency, emission reduction, safety, durability, cost-optimisation and innovative features, where IT will have a major role to play.

What is the 3DExperience platform?

3DExperience is a business experience platform. It provides software solutions for every organisation in a company to help create value and differentiating consumer experiences. With a single, easy-to-use interface, it powers industry solution experiences—based on 3D design, analysis, simulation and intelligence software in a new class of collaborative, interactive environment. It is available on premise and in public or private cloud.

Industry solutions

** My Car Experience industry solution can improve global collaboration by enabling crowd-sourcing and co-creation, which can accelerate innovative new concepts to productive and profitable reality. One can now explore new designs, at any stage in the process, in an integrated virtual 3D environment.

** Target Zero Defect can enable comprehensive vehicle development capabilities, in a collaborative 3D environment, to ensure right-the-first-time results from concept to final production. It can help reduce risks for OEMs and their suppliers associated with new vehicles, minimising the potential for vehicle recalls.

** Modular Global & Secure can provide an integrated, multi-discipline development platform to accelerate global, modular vehicle programmes and respond to strategic regional requirements, so that companies minimise cost and maximise reuse, and simplify or master complexity across programmes, teams and locations.

** Smart, Safe and Connected can accelerate product innovation to market and provide an integrated platform for mechanical, electronics, software & simulation. With assurance that industry standards for safety and embedded systems are fulfilled, companies can refocus their teams on strategic new vehicle innovation.

** OEMs and suppliers are not only challenged with developing profitable transportation, they must also fulfil regional requirements for fuel consumption, recycling and other environmental impacts. Lean, Green & Compliant provides automated capabilities one may need to capture consumer preferences, and manage cost, weight and compliancy.

Source: Dassault Systèmes

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