DTE Helps Mechadyne Fulfil Complex Design Requirement

CATIA & Automotive Powertrain industry

Mechadyne is one of a growing number of technology development success stories the UK is producing.

Mechadyne researches and develops advanced valvetrain systems for internal combustion engines.

Founded in 1984 as an independent development company serving the automotive industry, for the past twenty years it has focused on technologies that reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency in internal combustion engines.

In the summer of 2012 Mechadyne was acquired by KSPG AG.  Mechadyne has been integrated into the Valvetrain Systems unit of KSPGs subsidiary Pierburg GmbH, while maintaining Mechadyne’s established brand name.

Headquartered near Oxford and in the proximity of the main centre of the UK automotive sector, Mechadyne has seen substantial growth over the last few years with R&D spend increasing year-on-year. This growth has resulted in an increased investment in design and analysis software as the company looks to enhance existing capabilities.

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Mechadyne

As a result of this upward trend Desktop Engineering (DTE), an accredited business partner of Dassault Systèmes, has been working closely with Mechadyne to provide support around the most appropriate software packages for the company’s requirements, while also supplying ongoing support and training. The growth of Mechadyne can, in part, be explained by a successful acquisition back in 2012.

 

Acquisition

In September 2012 KSPG AG of Neckarsulm, Germany, acquired complete control of Mechadyne. Subsequently, KSPG has integrated Mechadyne into the Valvetrain Systems unit of its subsidiary Pierburg GmbH, while maintaining Mechadyne’s well-established brand name.

With the buyout, Pierburg GmbH strengthened its portfolio in the field of cost-effective methods for reducing fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions. Now, Pierburg possesses an expanded range of mechanical valvetrains and systems for reducing pollution and cutting fuel consumption in both petrol and diesel engines.

Pierburg regards the valve control system developed by Mechadyne as an ideal partner to UniValve technology, providing applications for small-to-medium-sized vehicles as well as the truck and non-road mobile segments.

 

FlexValve

Mechadyne’s core product is FlexValve which is a multi-functional, compact, sturdy and efficient mechanical valve train system. It permits the continuous variability of valve lifting in a broad range and even allows secondary opening of the valves, which provides flexibility to influence the intake and exhaust processes of an engine. FlexValve is modular, offering various options to expand the valve train system without having to change the cylinder head. The secondary valve opening is an ideal solution for diesel engines that are used in a variety of vehicles, from small motor vehicles up to large, heavy-duty trucks.

 

Design Requirements

Historically, Mechadyne had used SolidEdge for their CAD. However, due to an expanded brief (larger more complex multi-body models including cylinder head, cover and other auxiliary parts) from a large European OEM, the limitations of this software suite made them look at alternatives, with CATIA from Dassault Systèmes seemingly being the most appropriate.

Jon Aspinall, Senior Project Engineer at Mechadyne, explained:

“CATIA has the widest coverage across the Automotive Powertrain industry, making it an ideal partner for a tier 1 supplier. Also, we were looking for a solution which was able to deal with larger and more complicated models and as the OEM was able to supply us with native models the switch over to CATIA was a relatively straightforward decision to take.”

 

Aspinall continued:

“One of my colleagues had worked with DTE before so we invited them in for an initial chat. Originally we took one seat but have expanded that to seven seats since the acquisition. As DTE is recognised within the industry as one of the leading providers of training and support for CATIA and are also local to us, the professional relationship has blossomed since that first conversation.”

 

The Solution

CATIA is now Mechadyne’s primary CAD system. It uses CATIA V5 PLM Express with an additional Mechanical Product Creation (MCE) module. The MCE module brings a new level of flexibility and productivity to design by providing access to a collection of intuitive functional features. Whereas in most other CAD systems a complex modelling task would usually require the creation of several dedicated features, these industry-specific functional features enable designers to complete the modelling in a single operation. This all-in-one concept saves considerable time when elaborating on a complex form. In addition, the various design elements can be created in any order making it easier for users to capture their design intent and focus on what they want to model, not how to model it.

In addition with MCE, parts can be structured by groups or zones of features making it easier for designers to work on dedicated local design areas, better understand the design, and implement design changes. A unique set of advanced operations is available to manage any combination of design elements therefore dramatically improving productivity and promoting advanced collaborative design methodologies.

Another upshot of the support supplied by DTE was the move to MSC SimDesigner. As previously mentioned, Mechadyne had been using SolidEdge for their CAD and there is a module of SolidEdge, called Dynamic Designer, which Mechadyne used to design their CAM mechanisms. Dynamic Designer is supplied to SolidEdge by MSC Software and is essentially ADAMS inside SolidEdge. DTE made Mechadyne aware of SimDesigner, a solution that uses ADAMS as its solver, but also has distinct post processing benefits over Dynamic Designer. Following a month’s trail of SimDesigner and support from DTE, Mechadyne moved to this new solution.

 

Next Steps

As Mechadyne continues to flourish, the next strategic ambition is to expand from design into production – convert prototypes into parts that can be made in high volumes.

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