Through the gears: boosting car industry competitiveness

 

The visualisation facilities at the Hartree Centre have been used to help car manufacturers reduce time and money from their innovation processes

Now that the summer break is pretty much over (what was that I hear some of you shout?), I thought it was time for us to publish another post on here. In this post I touch a little on the automotive industry.

The automotive industry is one of those sectors that countries tend to use as a barometer of their overall industrial and economic performance. In the UK, the sector enjoyed a pretty buoyant 2015 all things considered.

“Big data, machine learning, cognitive computing – they all offer real scope for improving product design as well as production practices,”

The key question is this: can the UK car industry consolidate its success, particularly with the manufacturing industry entering yet another new era (an era symbolised by the onset of Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things and the other ‘usual suspects’ when industrial futures are up for discussion)? Specifically, where does cutting-edge and next-generation computing fit into the mix? It’s a question I put to one of our Business Development Managers, Duncan Sime, who is responsible for the automotive sector at Hartree.

“Big data, machine learning, cognitive computing – they all offer real scope for improving product design as well as production practices,” Duncan says. “They can have a big impact on key areas like fuel efficiency, emissions performance, lightweighting and connected/autonomous vehicles. What we could call ‘traditional’ high performance computing – things like computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis, for instance – already plays a big role in the industry and there’s still room to extend it. But globally we can also expect to see quite rapid take-up of the ‘new’ disciplines, potentially offering an edge for manufacturers with the imagination to grab the opportunity.”

Big data is an excellent example, as Duncan explains:

“Over years and even decades, the automotive industry has built up phenomenal quantities of data. But it hasn’t had the time or the human resources to drill into it and benefit by making links and connections between very diverse data often generated at different times and in different places. At Hartree, we’ve got the tools, technologies and skills that car manufacturers can use to exploit big data and release its potential. But that’s just part of our mission to help the industry leverage cutting-edge computing to best advantage, from building and optimising software code to supporting the new practices and technologies set to start cascading across the sector and through its supply chain in the next 3-5 years.”

“Right at the forefront of this are our partners the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) located alongside us at Daresbury.”

Right at the forefront of this are our partners the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) located alongside us at Daresbury. Part of the University of Liverpool, they are the UK’s leading centre for virtual engineering, with the focus squarely on solving industry’s problems. Together our combination of HPC, leading-edge immersive modelling, simulation and visualisation solutions explore design possibilities, evaluate literally thousands of scenarios quickly, accurately and cost-effectively and cut the cost of physical prototyping, enabling both the big leaps and the small steps that can be key to vehicle manufacturers’ competitiveness in today’s challenging global markets.

Duncan says: “Helping to integrate virtual engineering, HPC and other emerging technologies into businesses, with partners such as the VEC, is just one way Hartree is helping the industry move forward and demonstrating the huge opportunity for the UK to exploit cutting-edge computing to stay ahead in this vital sector.”

If you wanted to find out more about how we can support your R&D in the automotive or in other industries, please leave a comment below or visit our website. You can also find out more about our partners the VEC on their website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *