1994-11-01

Process for Vehicle Structural Components Certification 942381

This paper describes a new process being used by Autolatina Truck and Bus Operations, to increase productivity in the analysis and certification of vehicle structural components. It was implemented in 1993.
The concept vehicle is designed using Finite Element Stress Analysis (FESA), based on historical road inputs data. Primarily the analyses pinpoint the highly stressed areas, indicating possible weak points of the new structure. These are strengthened prior to prototype build.
The concept prototype is instrumented following the needs shown by the FESA. It is then run for a lap on Proving Ground and/or typical routes used by the fleets. Comparing the data acquired in the vehicle with the FESA, it is possible to better suit the design for the real application of the new product.
The engineering prototypes are then built and accelerated durability certified to sign-off the released design.
The significance of this process in the design of structural components is that it allows a direct vision of how they are being stressed and accurate projections of their lives. Test data are tranferred directly from the track to the design areas through computer link.
The conclusion is that the new process improves quality and productivity, offering the following advantages:
  • Real time results of forces, strains, stresses, and accelerations.
  • Real time life projections of structural components.
  • Choice of more suitable materials and shapes aiming optimum life, weight and cost.
  • Reduced time to certify new products, eliminating retests.
  • Increased confidence level.
Simultaneous Engineering is the upmost important tool for having the full benefits of this new process.

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