Tools for Integration of Analysis and Testing 2003-01-1606
The automotive vehicle design process has relied for many years on both analytical studies and physical testing. Testing remains to be required due to the inherent complexities of structures and systems and the simplifications made in analytical studies. Simulation test methods, i.e. tests that load components with forces derived from actual operating conditions, have become the accepted standard. Advanced simulation tools like iterative deconvolution methods have been developed to address this need. Analytical techniques, such as multi body simulation have advanced to the degree that it is practical to investigate the dynamic behavior of components and even full vehicles under the influence of operational loads. However, the approach of testing and analysis are quite unique and no seamless bridge between the two exists.
This paper demonstrates an integrated approach to combine testing and analysis together in the form of virtual testing. Multi body simulation software  was used for multi body simulation of both the component under investigation as well as the test equipment used for physical testing. Road load simulation software  was used to reproduce field observed data on both the physical and virtual test rigs. There are two main advantages to this approach. The integrated application of physical and virtual tools allows the user to conduct virtual tests prior to having physical prototypes available. This accelerates the design process and can reduce cost. Secondly, by using a common framework for all physical and virtual investigations, the results remain comparable and trouble shooting of both domains is facilitated. This paper presents the results of a study of a vehicle mounted refrigeration unit. Observed failures in both physical and virtual tests corresponded very closely with respect to location and time to failure.