Product Development Process for Suspension Component Aided by Numerical Simulations 2017-36-0348
Considering technology development and the raise in computational power, numerical methods became important device in developing new products and in improving existing ones, being a differential for market competition among companies, consequently from the reduction of time and cost in projects. For Student Competition Teams, like Formula and Mini Baja SAE series, the use of simulation is even more important in their vehicle development, due to team limited resources available and their lack of experience. This work has the main goal of presenting the development steps of a structural component of the suspension system, the steering knuckle, for Formula SAE competition vehicles, aided by computational aided engineering. Starting from the geometrical and functional configuration of the vehicle, a multibody model was generated by the Altair Motion View software to simulate high performance maneuvers, and then estimate two cases of loads. The first case estimates the critical loads which it would be submitted. The second evaluates high frequency loads, to assess a cyclic load case. After this stage, a preliminary geometrical model of the suspension knuckle was created, meeting the functional requirements of the system, serving as base to simulate the topological optimization through the finite element method. The process of optimization has followed the casting manufacturing guidelines. At this stage, the project has suffered iterations until the conception that meets the structural criteria, evaluated from the load cases, and reaching its final geometry. Finally, the final product was evaluated by simulation regarding the component durability on the cyclic load case, and the manufacturing feasibility of the component through the simple casting process by gravity simulation.