ManufacturingJanuary 15, 2019

Partner Spotlight: CAELYNX

As a design and simulation consulting company based in Ann Arbor, MI,…
Avatar Dennis Corain

As a design and simulation consulting company based in Ann Arbor, MI, Caelynx stands at an interesting vantage point from which to observe the ever-changing landscape of the ground-transportation industry. This perspective is informed by requests from OEM and tier-one suppliers who ask Caelynx to work on specific needs related to their innovation initiatives, particularly in electric vehicles. This often leads to methodology development projects for new technologies for which standard analysis techniques are insufficient or inapplicable.

Thirteen years ago, when Caelynx was established, we received two large consulting projects. A brief description of these projects will give a sense of what it’s like to be a finite element analysis consultant and, as we compare the two, it will be clear that change is on the way and that design innovation will extend into simulation technology and even how we approach the simulation process.

The first project was for a new high-horsepower internal combustion engine design. The design included numerous fine-tuning concepts to improve efficiency, torque, and power. One of Caelynx’s tasks was to simulate the thermal and pressure cycling of the cylinder head and exhaust manifold. Although the design was fabulously unique, traditional simulation methodology, thirty years in evolution and practice, would be the ticket to success—CFD results mapped onto structural mesh, thermal expansion, structural assembly loading, time-dependent creep and low-cycle fatigue, and some topology analysis for the cherry on top. Yes, still quite complex from an FEA point-of-view, but nothing to give us the feeling that disruptive industry changes were on the way.

The second project was a direct request from a large OEM’s transmission group regarding one of their first hybrid vehicles. They needed help understanding the noise content of the electric motor, a whole new concern in their transmission assembly. Neither Caelynx nor the OEM had direct experience simulating this phenomenon, and even physical testing was still a work in progress. Over the next nine months, we developed a simulation method that correlated to physical testing and was robust enough to be used in standard simulation processes for new production vehicles.

Although common FEA techniques—like assembly preloading for linear dynamics—were foundational, technological innovation brought novel challenges that allowed us to flex our simulation muscle: What was the best way to model the motor’s elaborate copper windings and their epoxy coatings? How could we include the stator, comprised of hundreds of thin plates? But most interestingly, how could we really push the simulation to the next level with multiphysics? Electromagnetics would provide vibrational loading for structural, structural would provide velocity excitation for acoustics, and so on. The project gave us a feeling that we were working on technology that could change the world – and for the better.

Today, Caelynx projects are dominated by new technologies, and that often means looking for ways to integrate simulation into new design processes. A typical day in the life of Caelynx includes a large variety of simulation methods for electric vehicles. Just like motor development, battery development also needs simulation, including CFD for thermal management, impact and crush testing, as well as random vibration and fatigue. With the rise of autonomous vehicles, we have also seen an increasing need for interior cabin design, which introduces concerns like cabin seating comfort, variable airflow designs, and new crashworthiness criteria, just to name a few.

The world is on the cusp of great technological change, and Caelynx brings simulation expertise to the innovators at the vanguard of this electric and autonomous revolution in transportation. In these endeavors, we are proud to be a partner of Dassault Systèmes for sales and support of SIMULIA and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

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