A Practical Approach for Cross-Functional Vehicle Body Weight Optimization 2011-01-1092
The goal of optimization in vehicle design is often blurred by the myriads of requirements belonging to attributes that may not be quite related. If solutions are sought by optimizing attribute performance-related objectives separately starting with a common baseline design configuration as in a traditional design environment, it becomes an arduous task to integrate the potentially conflicting solutions into one satisfactory design. It may be thus more desirable to carry out a combined multi-disciplinary design optimization (MDO) with vehicle weight as an objective function and cross-functional attribute performance targets as constraints. For the particular case of vehicle body structure design, the initial design is likely to be arrived at taking into account styling, packaging and market-driven requirements. The problem with performing a combined cross-functional optimization is the time associated with running such CAE algorithms that can provide a single optimal solution for heterogeneous areas such as NVH and crash safety. In the present paper, a practical MDO methodology is suggested that can be applied to weight optimization of automotive body structures by specifying constraints on frequency and crash performance. Because of the reduced number of cases to be analyzed for crash safety in comparison with other MDO approaches, the present methodology can generate a single size-optimized solution without having to take recourse to empirical techniques such as response surface-based prediction of crash performance and associated successive response surface updating for convergence. An example of weight optimization of spaceframe-based BIW of an aluminum-intensive vehicle is given to illustrate the steps involved in the current optimization process.