Lightweighting Case Studies



Customer Request
Utilize optimization techniques to enhance their vehicle body structure to reduce weight and complexity of components.

Optimal Approach
Optimal used a multidisciplinary CAE design optimization approach by incorporating all relevant design variables simultaneously. This methodology offered the most precise optimization by addressing the effects of the interactions between the relevant variables:

  • Design Sensitivity Analysis
  • Topology and Topography Optimization
  • Shape and Size Optimization
  • General Computer Aided Optimization (multidiscipline)
The zero-base weight approach using these disciplines offered a ground up approach where you only add material where you need it for structural requirements. Optimization was completed at both the BIW system level as well as the sub components level (e.g., body pillars). Shape, size and joining methods are all optimized in the virtual domain.

The Resulting Benefits of CAE Design Optimization
  • Weight and process costs reductions of 20% for BIW structure
  • Enhanced product performance: durability, NVH, and safety
  • A significant decrease in the number of design iterations from packaging to design
  • This process resulted in a higher quality body structure with reduced end-product costs



Topology optimization of a stamped steel to cast aluminum conversion

Customer Request
Reduce weight of stamped steel vehicle component utilizing lighter weight materials and engineering optimization techniques.

Optimal Approach
Utilizing topology optimization, Optimal identified the high stress points for the component to determine design iterations that would reduce mass before considering lighter weight materials. A specific aluminum alloy was selected as a replacement for stamped steel. Further optimization of component structure was conducted to ensure component integrity based on material trade-offs including hardness, stress strain curve, thermal conductivity.

The Resulting Benefits of Lightweighting Optimization:
  • Reduced component mass by 51%
  • Reduced material cost
  • Reduced complexity of component shape and manufacturing process
Lightweighting Topology Optimization

CAE Engineering Optimization - Crossmember

CAE Engineering Optimization - Crossmember

Background and Objective
Back-of-cab crossmember was found to develop cracks during durability testing.

Results - Baseline
Maximum von Mises stress of 754 MPa was observed during FE simulation.

Stress areas above yield of the material correlated with areas where the cracks formed during durability testing.

Design Optimization - Proposal I
Topology optimization resulted in design shown.

Stress analysis resulted in a maximum von Mises stress of 633 MPa.

Design Optimization - Proposal II
New design space defined.

Stress analysis resulted in a maximum von Mises stress of 427 MPa.

Summary of Results

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