AAM is a Tier-One global automotive supplier of driveline and drivetrain systems for light trucks, SUVs, passenger cars, crossover vehicles and commercial vehicles. Based in Detroit, Michigan, AAM has offices in 13 different countries. It specializes in the design and manufacturing of axles, chassis modules, driveshafts, transmission parts, and metal-formed products.
AAM was an early adopter of Inspire and has been using it for many years, “I think we were one of the first users of Inspire, we have used it on multiple projects over the years,” noted AAM Senior Manager of Analytical Engineering, Jerry Chung.
When tasked with redesigning an optimized carrier for one of its customers, AAM naturally thought to use Inspire to help generate the lightest possible design that would still meet strength targets. Lightweight design is particularly important in the automotive market to not only help improve performance, but also help increase efficiency and fuel economy.
Inspire in the Design Process
AAM started the process by creating a basic design space in CAD. This was essentially the maximum volume that the redesigned carrier could occupy. The next step was to apply all of the loading conditions. “Using Inspire, we applied vertical beaming and gear forward and reverse loading conditions, as well as manufacturing constraints,” mentioned Jerry.
Utilizing the supplied loading conditions, Inspire then generated the ideal shape for the new part. Jerry noted, “Using the results from Inspire, we were able to create an optimized ribbing design for the part. Structural components were optimized for bending and deflection performance.”
After further testing, interpretation, and validation of the new design, AAM determined that the new design was 20% lighter than the original. “Inspire helped us to significantly reduce the mass of the part. Our baseline design for this carrier weighed 47.97Kg, while the new design weighed in at 38.34Kg. With the new design we also achieved a gear deflection improvement,” noted Jerry.
AAM is currently using Inspire to generate concepts for many of its designs. Jerry noted, “we are super users of Inspire.” AAM plans to continue to use Inspire to assist with its structural designs to not only reduce mass, but also increase part stiffness.