The COVID-19 pandemic has seen demand for simulation go stratospheric, says Claytex’s Managing Director Mike Dempsey.
“People are turning to simulation more than they ever have done. It’s not as easy to go and take a car out and do some tests on the public road or around a test track now, because you have all the COVID related problems with multiple people needing to be there, to do it all. Using Dymola, we can simulate it all.”
Dempsey may miss the social interaction (and the frequent international travel), but for Claytex, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a boom for business. The firm uses Dymola, a Modelica-based simulation software produced by Dassault Systèmes to create incredibly accurate digital simulations of automotive systems.
The engineering firm is now firmly established as one of the world’s leading providers of automotive simulations, with an established client base of OEMs and suppliers, including household vehicle brands and motorsport marques. Demand is driven by the shift to zero-emissions technology, a change that has accelerated through the pandemic, says Dempsey.
The sheer complexity of these systems and the interdependencies make modelling an ideal solution. “We can model the entire powertrain, including the motor, gearbox, battery packs and power electronics. We can simulate that electrical and mechanical system to understand how it performs as a whole in different scenarios.” Using the system, engineers can simulate acceleration, performance over duty cycle, and energy usage across drive cycles and take into account the thermal behaviour of the system to understand the interactions and dependencies.
Dymola has been around for almost 30 years, and provides full support for the open source FMI standard, which allows it to integrate with other commonly used tools and programmes. “I feel we’re in a position where we’re ahead of what people are asking for,” says Dempsey. “We have a significant capability that people aren’t taking as much advantage of as they could.”
Dymola can process vast amounts of data, recording the impact of design decisions on performance. Take, for example, heating and cooling systems inside a vehicle. The system can simulate the AC, heating system, model the material properties of the car and its solar load. It can combine these models with the powertrain model to provide a comprehensive simulation of how minute changes will impact the entire system. “We can put all of those together into a simulation where you have the physical interactions between the different systems.
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