French company Dassault Systemes has developed a 3D digital mock up and product lifecycle management software package to slash the development time of new vehicles and closely monitor costs and problems during the vehicle’s whole life cycle.
The company reckons that a new vehicle can take up to five years to develop from a clean sheet of paper to rolling off the production line. 3D printing and modern CAD design have the capacity to cut this dramatically, but with the rapid development potential of both technologies then it’s even more important to keep the whole process tied down.
Clear processes could also encourage, rather than stifle, creativity. Dassault Systemes isn’t just talking about cars. This, after all, is the company that proposed an extravagant luxury airship not so long ago.
A mass of information needs a central hub
Hundreds of companies and individuals now contribute to a new vehicle, too, which can mean that the sheer size of the project, together with a lack of coherent structure to the information, can hinder the whole project.
There’s a clear need, then, for a real-time process management system that can unite all the disparate strands and streamline the whole development process. Of course that project doesn’t finish when the vehicle rolls off the showroom floor.
Manufacturers and suppliers need a clear understanding of the whole life cycle, which includes customer issues, failures, material compliance and the costs incurred at every stage. This software package allows a bird’s eye view of the whole life of a car, together with a collaborative environment that helps suppliers and manufacturers isolate and fix issues.
No place to hide
Accountability is a major function of this software package as it allows complete traceability of costs, hold-ups and repetitive problems. Vehicle Program Intelligence brings in information from other sources, too, to give a complete picture of the development and cradle-to-grave costs of the vehicle in question.
“With the ‘Vehicle Program Intelligence’ industry solution experience, Dassault Systemes provides transportation and mobility companies with a dedicated offer to address analytics for process improvement,” said Olivier Sappin, Vice President, Transportation & Mobility Industry, Dassault Systemes.
“Companies can make more informed decisions with a single source of the truth. The speed and agility of ‘Vehicle Program Intelligence’ helps reduce complexity and costs, enhance vehicle quality and accelerate time to market.”
Could this result in cheaper trains, planes and automobiles?
Project management software like this is still in its relative infancy and the packages are complex beasts. But collaborative software, combined with the short lead times of 3D printing and more advanced design software could change the face of the automotive, aerospace and nautical industries over time. Every kind of vehicle, from electric cars and trains through to ships, can benefit from this package.
That should result in lower production costs and a saving that the industry can pass on to the consumer. We’ll see how that turns out.