Current R&D trends of technical components are aimed towards part variety reduction with the overall goal of reducing weight, implementation of new bonding types between components and reduction of production cost. This is highlighted by increased component complexity which requires a comprehensive R&D approach.

In ISD group, we tackle such challenges by providing our customers with full R&D support – from product optimization with the main goal of production cost reduction, to full product development according to customer requirements.

Our R&D activities are based on the implementation of a digital twin and related numerical simulations. R&D and optimization of plastic components are fully supported with Moldflow simulations in the latest Moldex3D version (based on FEM). For analysis of aluminium parts, we use the latest version of Sigmasoft (based on FDM).

According to specific customer needs, also additional numerical analysis can be incorporated into the proposed R&D methodology – structural analysis, dynamic (eg. modal…) analysis…

R&D support concept

Each individual R&D based enquiry is being processed in three main steps:

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  • We thoroughly analyze the input data – boundary conditions (mounting principles, contact conditions, external loads), space limitations, functional and assembly requirements and other operating conditions.
  • We prepare a detailed R&D methodology with all required activities to reach the desired aims and objectives.
  • Our solution is presented at customer's HQ and additionally, the time span and other conditions are negotiated and agreed upon.

Case studies

Plastic part optimization

The optimization aim of the highlighted plastic part was weight reduction, internal stress reduction and improvement of the non-uniform warpage trends during the cooling phase. The requirements were met by using an iterative R&D approach where the geometry was modified in several iterations and enhancement features were added in the identified critical sections.

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By following the proposed R&D methodology, the part weight was reduced by 12%, while the maximum warpage amplitude was reduced by 55%.

Conversion of aluminium part into plastic

The main aim of the metal-to-plastic conversion was weight and production cost reduction. The component is part of a larger assembly which is placed under the hood and is therefore exposed to extreme operating conditions: dynamic excitation, high temperatures (120 °C), hot oil (120 °C) under 6 bar of pressure and static load. The requirement, set by the customer, was also to keep the mounting conditions unchanged which allows a direct switch to the new plastic version, without modifying other related components.

The R&D process was initiated by first instantiating an experimentally validated digital twin. Throughout the prepared R&D methodology, we conducted modal analysis (numerically and experimentally), sine-sweep analysis (experimentally), fatigue test (numerically and experimentally), structural analysis (numerically), Moldflow analysis and we comprehensively defined the used thermoplastic (DMA, creep test, S-N curves, ageing, optimization of process parameters with the aim of maximum relative crystallinity…).

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In comparison with the aluminium version, the polymer edition is 15% lighter and 50% cheaper to produce. You can see more about the project in our promotional video.

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