Utilising the 3D surfaces created in Alias, we use CATIA or Solidworks to further develop the 3D model. Within this environment we can conduct feasibility studies, define part thicknesses, specify materials, develop part layouts, attachment strategies and conduct assembly studies. Once the design development is complete, this data is used to generate the tools that the final parts will be built from. Parts that will be fabricated require 2D drawings which are produced from the 3D data.
Interior / exterior / platform development
Interior development starts with the artistic design of the interior. Once the design has been conceptualized, 3D data is created. Panel breakup and assembly is considered. Materials are chosen for the components that will make up the various structures and trim of the vehicle. Small items such as switches and buttons are often plastic, while larger pieces such as the instrument panel are often fibre reinforced plastic. Strategies to attach the interior components are developed.
Exterior development begins with the 3D surface data of the vehicle shape. Panel breakup is considered, and swing panel (door/trunk/hood) studies are conducted. Material selection is critical in determining which panels can support other panels. This helps determine the assembly order.
The platform is the backbone of a vehicle. Many options exist, including tube frame, ladder frame, composite monocoque, steel/aluminum monocoque etc. Choosing between these options begins with the market intent of the vehicle. Cost, performance, production volume and vehicle size are considered when evaluating the vehicle platform choices. Once a platform has been chosen, the components that will be included in the vehicle are positioned in a 3D model to ensure there is sufficient space.
Body in white development
Body in white development consists of designing the structural panels which will support the exterior panels. These structural panels are essential to protecting the occupant space, as well as ensuring that the vehicle has sufficient stiffness to handle correctly. Many features are integrated into these panels, such as flanges to attach exterior panels, and smooth surfaces for door seals to land on. The resulting structure is then optimized for manufacturability, to ensure our clients can manufacture the vehicle in a profitable manner.
Spatial studies / packaging
The occupant space is an extremely important part of a vehicle development program. Designing a vehicle that will be comfortable for the occupant ensures that the end product will be marketable. This is achieved by studying the occupant’s ergonomics like headroom and reach studies. Ingress and egress studies are also conducted and considered. Performing reach studies allows us to position vehicle controls and accessories in suitable places. These steps improve a customer’s experience when they are in a Motive designed vehicle.
Designing composites (fibres reinforced with plastic polymers) is an exercise which requires intimate knowledge of the chosen material’s characteristics. The use of composites allows Motive to use complex shapes in our designs. Significant weight savings are achieved by using composites in place of steel or aluminum. Material selection is made by considering the environment it will be used in, the expected loading, and the life cycle requirements. Once the material has been selected, the manufacturing method is determined based on volume and cost considerations.
The tooling for parts we design is as important as the parts themselves. Well designed tools can make the difference between profit and loss. Tools are designed so that the raw materials can be easily transformed to finished parts. This minimizes rework, and increases productivity.
Kinematic solutions are developed for complex assemblies. Moving parts are modelled, and their ranges of motion are noted. Mating points are established, and space constraints are considered. Simulation software allows us to achieve the desired kinematic motion.