Tools for collecting, managing and using autocomposites data
As the composites universe expands into new markets and applications, resins and fiber reinforcements of many types are, increasingly, landing on the desks of design engineers who have little or no experience with composites.
As the composites universe expands into new markets and applications, resins and fiber reinforcements of many types are, increasingly, landing on the desks of design engineers who have little or no experience with composites. Nowhere is this more common than in the automotive industry, whose denizens are drawn to composites’ compelling strength-to-weight properties but repelled by its multi-material complexity. Complicating matters is a dearth of standardized, uniform, easily accessible composites material property data that might help designers and engineers navigate the unfamiliar composites materials landscape. Seeing this challenge, Granta Design Ltd. (Cambridge, U.K.) is developing the Automotive Material Intelligence Consortium (AutoMatiC), which, it hopes, will help map the autocomposites design landscape by generating best practices for materials information and its use.
Established in June 2014, the Consortium comprises manufacturers and suppliers from the automotive and off-highway sectors. Members plan to optimize tools that will help organizations to manage all of the diverse materials-related data they need, to get it all in one place, to capture information about the relationships between linked items of data, and to apply this information resource to practical problems. They also intend to share lessons learned and, thus, improve practices. Each has committed to provide Granta with guidance, as it optimizes these tools for automotive applications.
Consortium members have the Granta system, called GRANTA MI, installed in-house and use it to manage corporate materials knowledge. A second available software application, GRANTA MI:Materials Gateway, works from within various CAD/CAM, CAE and PLM software systems to provide direct error-free access to materials data.
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Composite parts are formed in molds, also known as tools. Tools can be made from virtually any material. The material type, shape and complexity depend upon the part and length of production run. Here's a short summary of the issues involved in electing and making tools.