CONSULTING FROM EXPERTS
WITH YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
FASTER TOOL RELEASE
LOWER PROTOTYPE COSTS
THROUGH VIRTUAL PROTOTYPING
VALID COMFORT EVALUATION THROUGH
PROVEN DUMMIES & TEST BENCHES
The shift toward largely virtual vehicle development is also associated with a late entry into the prototype phase. It is therefore imperative to also evaluate seating comfort during the virtual development phase. Employing simulation is already standard practice for crash tests and NVH analyses, but it is not yet widely used to improve occupant comfort. Yet it makes it possible to improve the development process, speed it up and make it more economical:
• Key parameters for evaluation (e.g. the strain distribution in the foam), which are often difficult or costly to determine by measurement, can be determined much more easily.
• Faults and weak points are identified at an early stage and can be optimized even before expensive prototypes are built.
• The evaluation of perceived comfort is objectified by standardized boundary conditions. The result is a much more reliable and quantifiable impression.
• The tool release can take place much earlier. The time-to-product and the entire development cycle are significantly shortened.
• Numerous variants can be tested and compared quickly and easily, and new seat concepts can be evaluated efficiently. This significantly increases overall performance and optimizes the use of materials.
• Communication between the individual departments is greatly simplified via interfaces.
The interaction between human and seat is very complex. The basis for the successful, virtual optimization of seating comfort is therefore a deep understanding of the interaction between the two factors – referred to as the "occupied seat". Since the vibrating mass of the human body has a major influence on the entire system, measurements and simulations in which the seat is only loaded with a rigid mass can lead to incorrect decisions.
Accordingly, two models are needed – one of the seat itself, and one of the human body. Depending on the intended use, these occupant models exist with different structures and different levels of detail. For crash and comfort evaluations, anatomy-based finite element models are particularly suitable. They enable a realistic loading of the seat. On this basis, many variables important for comfort evaluation can already be reproducibly determined in the virtual development phase.
The changing interior creates a variety of possible seating positions – away from relatively upright to more relaxed postures. In many concept cars, it is also possible to rotate the seat to face one's passengers. There is also a functional extension: In the future, control panels could be attached directly to the seat to enable a simple and comfortable interaction between man and "machine" in all positions. Seats will therefore have to be completely rethought.
Two other key factors characterizing the transformation of mobility are personalization or customizing on the one hand and car-sharing concepts on the other. Tailored solutions according to the needs of the individual are becoming increasingly popular and therefore must be producible in a quick and cost-effective manner. At the same time, so-called shared mobility offerings are gaining ground, especially in cities, which in turn means that a seat must meet the requirements of all types of drivers.
In terms of innovation and responsiveness, digitalization of the development chain is essential. This is because only the use of numerical tools such as CAE and CAD make it possible to run through a large number of variants in a short time and at a low cost, thus achieving a high level of safety and comfort for new seating positions without making it worse for the previous ones.
Measurement and simulation are our trade: NVH and comfort analyses, H-point simulations and experimental modal analyses are a big part of our daily work. In particular, our strength is our many years of experience in evaluating simulation results. We thus draw the right conclusions and help our customers to drastically shorten product development times, save costs for prototypes and at the same time implement a high level of innovation. We have been further developing our system and software solutions, e.g. CASIMIR/Automotive, for many years in collaboration with various OEMs and seat manufacturers. This has enabled us to achieve a very high level of accuracy and detail, which in turn allows for a very precise analysis and evaluation of seating comfort.
“Adient uses Wölfel’s CASIMIR manikins in determining and evaluating seating comfort in a simple and reliable way.
This covers both standard driving postures as well as future mobility postures.
CASIMIR manikins make our virtual seat development much more realistic, efficient, repeatable and predictable.”
Comfort Engineering CAE Manager, Adient LLC
“Wölfel has proven its great expertise in virtual seat development. With CASIMIR/Automotive they provide a great tool
for reliable prediction of seating comfort, considering the demanding foam material properties.”
Engineering Manager at major foam manufacturer