May 10, 2010
Altair Simulates Full-Vehicle Crash, Reports Results in Less Than a Day
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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In a breakthrough that, for advanced manufacturing, ranks with the efficiencies gained by shifting from drafting tables to CAD stations, Michigan-headquartered
Altair Engineering has succeeded in compressing the time required to mesh, assemble and simulate a full-vehicle crash finite-element model - directly from OEM native CAD data - to just 24 hours. This milestone achievement represents a two-to-four-week reduction in turn-around time that is typically required for this type of analysis.

Never before has this level of automation been successfully demonstrated. The implications are enormous for all industries developing products that require complex virtual prototype testing to address and improve crashworthiness, consumer safety, reliability and quality.

Ford Motor Company, which has earned more five-star vehicle safety ratings than any other auto company, supported Altair's ambitious project by supplying representative CAD data for the proof-of-concept effort.

The record time follows on the heels of Altair's November 2009
announcement that RADIOSS, the solver in the
Altair HyperWorks CAE software suite, was the first in the industry to solve a full-vehicle crash model in less than five minutes. The model contained more than 1 million elements and was successfully executed using the latest Intel software tools and compilers to optimize communications schemes and extract the best performance using an Intel cluster.

This new milestone extends the five-minute analysis achievement to address the entire crash analysis process, from CAD importation to results post-processing. Altair leveraged the pre-processing power of its premier modeling tool, HyperMesh, along with the automotive-specific model setup capabilities of HyperCrash and tailored automations to dramatically cut the time required to get the run-ready model to RADIOSS for analysis. Altair's job management portal, PBS Catalyst, was then used with the computing resource management strength of PBS Professional to simplify and accelerate the analysis process. Upon job completion, automated results post-processing was performed using HyperView,
yielding a custom auto report and Microsoft Office presentations ready for engineer review.

"With this kind of speed, engineers gain more time to carry out more investigative studies and explore more alternatives relating to weight, materials and performance, while still accelerating the time to market of the final product," said Dr. Uwe Schramm, chief technical officer for HyperWorks. "These types of turn-around times now provide the opportunity to perform statistical and stochastic studies in the crash domain to further improve for the performance and robustness of designs."

Altair's CAD2CRASH24 process can be customized and implemented for manufacturers globally, offering weeks of additional simulation time annually to meet program objectives and product safety requirements. The process extends to any industry that must ensure the soundness of its products, including the execution of drop tests of cell phones, bird strikes on airplanes or fatigue analysis of implantable medical devices.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

This accomplishment was presented at Altair Engineering's Americas HyperWorks Technology Conference (HTC) 2010 last week, and we were there. The feat was an attempt to dramatically compress the usual time frame for conducting and presenting a full frontal vehicle crash from approximately three weeks to 24 hours. This ambitious attempt was all made possible through Altair's software tools, hardware up to the enormous computational tasks, and internal Altair processes.

The "CAD2CRASH24" initiative was announced during Altair's opening keynote address at the 2010 Americas HTC and discussed later in more detail at a dedicated conference presentation.

The simulation used a generic sedan model from Ford as a body in white (BIW) - the stage or progress automobile manufacturing in which the car body sheet metal (including doors, hoods, and deck lids) has been assembled or designed but before the components (chassis, motor) and trim (windshields, seats, upholstery, electronics, etc.) have been added. All of the vehicle's part files originated in CATIA and resided on one system. The duration of the simulated crash was 65 milliseconds.

Amazingly, this entire process was undertaken and performed by only five core people from Altair, literally locked in a room for 24 hours. The process used only commercially released Altair software tools (version 10) in the HyperWorks platform and on Altair's infrastructure. The simulation itself used 64 CPU cores in Altair's computing center using a batch process.

The end result was better than expected. The targeted time for completing the entire process was 24 hours. The actual time that elapsed to complete the process was approximately 21 hours, so the team beat the goal by three hours. Made even more impressive when compared to a typical crash simulation and presentation (animations and reports) process that takes on the order of three weeks to set up and run.

Before I went to the HTC, I didn't know a lot about Altair and its HyperWorks technologies. That's no longer the case and I have developed quite an appreciation of the technologies, as well as the company itself. The HyperWorks software suite is built on a foundation of design optimization, performance data management, and process automation, HyperWorks is an enterprise-scale simulation suite for design exploration and decision-making. It is a comprehensive, open-architecture CAE suite that includes modeling, analysis, visualization, and data management capabilities for linear and non-linear, structural optimization, fluid-structure interaction, and multi-body dynamics

In the next edition of MCADCafe Weekly (that will be published May 24) we'll provide an overview and recap of the HTC 2010 conference and what we learned about Altair Engineering's products and technologies, business philosophy, partners, customers, and direction. As the company's conference week progressed I learned that Altair is a very diverse software and services company with a unique business model that warrants a closer look, and we'll be doing just that in our next edition.

The Week's Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

Aras announced the latest open release of Aras Innovator, its enterprise PLM software suite. The new release download is available at This release of Aras Innovator is specifically designed for large-scale global PLM deployments. The release combines expanded enterprise manageability, advanced upgrade capabilities and enablement on the latest Microsoft platform technologies. Together these enhancements make Aras suited for enterprise-wide PLM deployments that use geographically distributed data centers, private cloud resources or a hybrid environment (both on-premise and in-cloud infrastructure simultaneously).Enhancements to Aras's PLM architecture include:
  • Enterprise Virtualization - Comprehensive support for data center virtualization enabling distributed deployment scenarios across physical server infrastructure resources.
  • Enhanced Caching - New caching techniques optimize system calls and minimize traffic over the WAN for even faster performance worldwide, particularly on high latency networks and in low bandwidth conditions.
  • Multilanguage Workflow - Workflows operate in multiple languages at the same time delivering workflow activities & instructions in the native language of each participant; critical for international business process collaboration.
  • System Notifications - Multi-level system notification functionality enables system administrators to issue notices out to users and provides admins with information on service packs and security updates.
  • Expanded Security - Advanced database protection, additional system administrator controls and enhanced track & audit capabilities add to Aras's enterprise security management capabilities.

  • MSC.Software announced that Marc 2010 is released and ready for download. Users can now take advantage of multi-core machines for parallelization. The Marc multi-frontal solver now utilizes multi-threading on Windows- and Linux-based shared memory architectures. The Pardiso solver utilizes parallelism in a shared memory Windows and Linux environment and the MUMPS solver may be used in both a shared or distributed memory Windows and Linux environments. Functionality improvements include:
  • Contact Enhancements Improve Accuracy - A new procedure for contact based on segment-to-segment and surface-to-surface is now available. These methods provide efficiencies for assembly modeling and interference fit problems.
  • New Material Models Help You Simulate New Classes of Materials - Two new material models are added in this release to increase the accuracy of simulations.
  • Large Deformation Enhancements Improve Convergence - Updated Lagrange analysis is improved to handle large shell and beam rotations more accurately and with improved convergence.
  • Fracture Mechanics Enhancements Provide More Control - Enhancements have been made in the VCCT capabilities which may be used to predict both crack onset and crack propagation.
  • Global Adaptive Meshing Increases Efficiency - Global adaptive meshing now works with two additional features, global-local analysis and the Exclude option. Users can now make better use of global remeshing in complex contact situations.
  • Wear Improvements Speed Solution - Users will now see more accurate calculation of wear especially for deformable-deformable contact.
  • Multiphysics Enhancements for Evaluating More Designs - Marc has extended its multiphysics capabilities to solve coupled magnetostatic-thermal and magnetostatic-structural problems along with the ability to simulate electrical windings and thin laminations of thin magnetic sheets.

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    You can find the full MCADCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.


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