High-performance Computing Speeds Up Optimization for Tailor Rolled Blanks at Mubea

Mubea and Automotive Lightweighting

Lightweighting is critical in today's automotive industry. In addition to reducing a car’s fuel consumption and enabling it to meet CO2 emission requirements, a lighter vehicle structure can add to driving comfort and cost efficiency, using less material while maintaining structural safety standards.

Mubea is a world-class global supplier of lightweight automotive chassis and motor components as well as tailor rolled blanks (TRB). Tailored rolling is a cold rolling process in which the rolling nip is constantly varied in order to tailor sheet thicknesses to meet the needs of an automotive body-in-white (BIW) structure. Compared to a traditional auto body part with constant sheet thickness, a TRB can eliminate approximately 20% of a structure’s weight without compromising performance.

Mubea supports its customers by identifying lightweight potential in a vehicle, designing the right tailor rolled parts, and conducting full lightweight studies with full-vehicle models using their own CAE resources. The company's engineers use the Altair HyperWorks™ CAE suite to design and optimize parts. HyperWorks offers many tools that can be applied during the development process and is available via a flexible patented licensing model.

It's common to use optimization techniques to identify and tab existing lightweight potentials and design tailor rolled vehicle components. The design optimization of tailor rolled blanks is normally based on explicit dynamic simulations, also known as crash simulations. A single simulation run for these large crash models can take between one and twelve hours. Exploring different design concepts leads to various simulation runs and potential optimization, but due to long run times this becomes prohibitive and can easily exceed a project’s allotted timeframe, slowing innovation.

To conduct all the simulation runs needed for assessment and evaluation of different design concepts, high-performance computing (HPC) is necessary to complete an optimization task on time. Mubea typically handles those simulations via their own local Altair Unlimited physical appliance, a private cloud solution with fully configured hardware and software that includes unlimited use of a wide variety of Altair software within the appliance. This includes best-in-class application software and HPC workload management tools, plus an industry-leading licensing model.

"In addition to the resources on our local [Altair] Unlimited cluster, we occasionally rely on short-term computing power in the cloud to cope with peaks in project loads. For this we have tested and used the [Altair] Unlimited virtual appliance via the HPC Challenge," said Niklas Klinke, CAE engineer at Mubea Tailor Rolled Blanks GmbH in Germany.
“With the [Altair] Unlimited virtual appliance we were able to reduce the turnaround time of a lightweight study significantly.”

– Niklas Klinke
CAE Engineer at Mubea Tailor Rolled Blanks GmbH

The HPC Challenge with Altair Unlimited

The Altair Unlimited virtual appliance is a CAE cloud solution that brings software, platform, and infrastructure as a service — SaaS, PaaS and IaaS — to Altair customers in a single, intuitive portal. For the HPC Challenge, the virtual appliance was combined with solutions from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Intel.

To participate in the HPC Challenge, participants could choose from among six different configurations, starting with 32 cores and going up to 128 cores or more on the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 product family, plus Altair’s Unlimited virtual appliance. All participating customers were allowed to access the solutions free of charge for seven or more days to complete the engineering tasks for their project.

"The HPC Challenge was a good opportunity ... It showed the [Altair] Unlimited virtual appliance can be a very good opportunity for us, because we can run optimizations in the same manner we are used to doing on our local resources," says Klinke.

Adding Cloud Computing Capabilities at Mubea

New product design methods are key enablers for automotive industry innovation. In the past, large computational resources were necessary to investigate new product concepts with design exploration. With the Altair Unlimited virtual appliance, users get flexible access to all the CAE tools and computing resources they need. It enhances any private cloud solution and helps cover peak times without requiring a long-term investment.

"Cloud-based resources help us react to short-term peaks in the necessary HPC performance, since it is quite easy to stack up resources based on cloud services. I think it will become a common practice to rent cloud space for big studies rather than host one's own hardware and software resources, which might not be used that much," explains Klinke.

The cloud-based solution performs comparably to on-site resource such as the Altair Unlimited physical appliance. Industry-standard data security is ensured by features including SSL, SSH, and VPN. The biggest benefit of cloud-based CAE for Mubea is that the engineers can react to new projects or changing requirements much more quickly.

The Future of Cloud-based CAE

Cloud-based CAE is an increasingly attractive option for businesses of all sizes. It provides all software and hardware resources on demand for infinite design exploration. According to a 2019 Bitkom survey, 73% of all companies in Germany use private or cloud computing resources, up from 54% in 2016, and that number will only increase. "For Mubea I see a lot of potential in the Altair cloud offering and with the agreement of our customers, we would definitely like to move some of our project workload to the cloud," concludes Klinke.