At the SAE World Congress in Detroit, Mich., Granta Design (Cambridge, UK) announced the launch of the Automotive Material Intelligence Consortium (AutoMatIC). This new industry collaboration will bring together OEMs and suppliers in the automotive and off-highway vehicle sectors to develop best practices for materials information and its use. It will help these members as they aim to increase engineering productivity, lower costs, improve product performance, lower risk associated with materials supply and regulations on restricted substances, and make the most of investments in simulation and PLM. AutoMatIC is modeled on two projects that have pioneered the industrial application of materials information technology: the Material Data Management Consortium (MDMC) and the Environmental Materials Information Technology (EMIT) Consortium.
In a climate of aggressive deadlines, major redesigns, and reduced physical prototyping, the automotive industry is acknowledging the strategic importance of accurate, controlled materials information. This information is essential to initiatives involving virtual product development, materials substitution, supply chain qualification, certification, and risk assessment. Automotive organizations also need to keep up with a rapidly-evolving materials landscape, understanding and applying innovations in areas such as higher-strength steels and composite materials. Good materials data and effective materials decisions are essential in optimizing product designs for global manufacturing, lightweighting, and emissions reduction.
A strong base of technology already exists to manage materials information, deploy it for use, and turn it into material intelligence that can have business impact. The AutoMatIC project will further enhance this technology for automotive applications. Competitive advantage will accrue to member organizations, as they will be able to adopt and apply these tools with maximum speed and effect as well as benefiting from sharing experiences and networking with other members at regular Consortium meetings.
The Consortium will begin an initial three-year phase in June. Founding members will be announced before the first meeting later this year and are expected to include leading OEMs and suppliers from the USA and Europe. The project is open to any organization in the relevant sectors interested in applying materials information technology. Further expressions of interest are welcome via the website at www.grantadesign.com/automatic/.
The Consortium is expected to develop similarly to the MDMC and EMIT consortia. The MDMC, founded in 2002, remains active with over twenty leading aerospace, defense, and energy member organizations (e.g., Boeing, NASA, GE, Rolls-Royce). It pioneered tools to meet the stringent materials data management requirements of companies in these sectors. EMIT, founded in 2008, has a dozen members (e.g., Airbus Helicopters, Emerson Electric, Honeywell) from varied manufacturing sectors. It is developing tools to assess environmental and restricted substance risk in organizations’ materials portfolios and product designs.
In supporting the work of the Consortium, Granta will provide members with access to technology, data, and project work including: software to manage corporate materials data; innovative tools to integrate materials data into CAD, PLM, and simulation; leading reference data sources on automotive steels, lightweight alloys, polymers, and composites; and the outcomes of collaborations in areas such as data generation for steel and composite crash models, and restricted substance reporting.
“The AutoMatIC project will build on established technology for material intelligence in automotive organizations”, says Dr Patrick Coulter, chief operating officer at Granta Design. “It also applies the proven Consortium model, which has enabled close collaboration with industry to develop software and information resources that have a practical impact in materials engineering, simulation, product design, and development.”