Engineering Meets Creativity
CATIA V5 tools to harness talents - SPC Design
Before his tragic and untimely death rally champion Colin McRae MBE was working with SPC Design’s chief designer, Simon Carrier to develop a new concept 4WD rally car, the Colin McRae R4. This car was to be the latest in a long line of competition vehicles that allowed rally drivers to exceed the achievements of their predecessors.
Simon has been working in motorsport for more than 20 years and uses Dassault Systèmes V5 technology to develop track and off-road rally cars that are world-beaters. Starting on aerodynamic research at Lola on F1 and Le Mans cars, later for F1 Team Lotus, on to Super Touring Cars and major World Rally Car (WRC) teams with stints on luxury and off-road cars for UK OEMs. Simon has been with winning teams all his working life most recently working as chief designer on the victorious 2006 and 2007 WRC.
Driven to Succeed
As a designer driven to seek excellence Simon has started his own motorsport development company SPC Design, where he can bring design experience, engineering skill and passion to his work.
The company based in Sawtry, Cambridgeshire UK has been aided in its deployment of V5 technology by DS specialist value added reseller (VAR) Desktop Engineering which ensured that the implementation and subsequent support services were appropriate to tasks that SPC undertakes. Geoff Haines of Desktop Engineering said, “We currently work for several motorsport companies and are able to add considerable value to any V5 implementation by bringing our experience of the industry to them. Because we work across a varied range of other industries we can help further down the production road using our knowledge of advanced manufacturing methodologies."
SPC chose to deploy CATIA V5 after many years experience using most of the alternative systems. Simon Carrier spoke of the decision,
Working as I have done in many of the leading motorsport design facilities I have been exposed to the full range of design systems. The fact that I chose to implement CATIA V5 tells the story of how I feel about software options other than Dassault Systèmes. The DS product allows the most creativity while also being the one with the best engineering robustness. The software does not force designers into a solution but rather provides the freedom that is needed to explore innovation.
“Desktop Engineering has considerable knowledge of V5 and is able to assist in developing what is at present a dedicated design system, into a more expansive PLM infrastructure. This effectively future-proofs the software by allowing SPC to develop new capabilities over time. Currently V5 enables file transfer to subcontractors and FE specialists in formats that best suit them. As we grow we will not outgrow the software, which can be scaled well beyond any scenario in which SPC might find itself. Our own in-house workshop will be able to benefit from V5 for example in NC programming and quality assurance using design data to check CMM output.”
The company’s workshop handles carbon fibre, fabricates assemblies and is developing its capabilities for more work of this type. Simon Carrier is confident that as the workshop grows more utility will be extracted from V5 and its role will expand to meet the greater need.
At SPC every project is an improvement on the last one but brings all the designers’ accumulated experience into play. Ultimately a rally driver must trust his car and be able to see his suggestions and comments incorporated into the design. Simon commented,
It is possible to make a car faster but the driver may actually need greater rigidity or improved damping to win the race. CATIA V5 is a great repository for this kind of information and really helps to get the car right for the driver. We can do what we need to in CATIA to optimise the design in terms of weight distribution, wheel travel and aerodynamics.
Championships are won or lost at the design concept stage. This initial abstract activity defines the direction that will be taken during the design-to-manufacture stages and CATIA V5 is used throughout to meet the concept targets and design parameters.
“Even a modest increase in vertical travel of a wheel can increase its ground contact to provide more motive power but if poor control of its attitude is introduced then handling is compromised. CATIA, because of its rule-based operation, accommodates this type work perfectly without stifling creativity or making us design in ways that affect our intentions. This is not the case with several alternative technologies that I have used where you have to ‘fight’ the system – which stifles creativity.”
SPC is working on several high-profile, projects where a mix of profound engineering skill is combined with deep creativity to produce the winning formula. The company is growing and now has a staff of 4 designers each equipped with V5 technology and the skill to generate maximum performance. Simon Commented,
You don’t have to be a dedicated V5 expert to use the software because it is so intuitive. In this industry new ideas win races and we have to use our creativity, channel it through a design methodology and do the job under extreme time pressures. CATIA is the ideal tool in this environment and it is hardly surprising that it has become the industry standard over the past few years.
SPC is a great new company founded on a wealth of experience gathered by working for the world’s best teams and drivers. It is producing world-beating designs using the most advanced design to manufacture tools available to industry. With its combination of creativity, skill and dedication there is little doubt about future winners driving awesome cars developed by SCP using V5 Technology.Find out more
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