BEinGRID - Business Experiments in Grid: BE08 - Initial Business Plan

BE08 - Initial Business Plan

Situation and Business Context

The automotive supplier industry is faced with a constant increase of complexity of products and the related manufacturing processes. By the way, the suppliers have the demand to shorten the time-to-market and to sustainable reduce the production cost to compete in the market. By reason of these market requirements the need for adequate software systems to support engineering and business processes during the lifecycle of a product raises. This need will also be intensified due to the fact, that the original equipment manufactures (OEM) are tending to delegate also developing tasks to the automotive suppliers.

Therefore, regional small- and medium sized enterprises like FIUKA have stated their demand for supporting the virtual development of products. Especially, joint multistage simulations of the product and manufacturing process – mainly in the domain of sheet metal forming, deep drawing, punching and folding, but also DMU kinematics simulations for the behaviour of product, process and automatic transfer equipment – coupled with appropriate distributed and scalable optimization algorithms offer a high potential for achieving the aforementioned business goals.

Regrettably, current simulation and optimization systems for sheet metal forming as well as DMU kinematics simulations are almost unaffordable for small- and medium sized enterprises (SME), because besides the mandatory hard- and software the enterprise has to employ expensive experts to utilize the virtual prototyping environments and systems. As an example, the DMU Kinematics simulation software CATIA V5 will cost approximately 50.000 Euros plus an annual fee of approximately 10.000 Euro for service contracts. An adequate workstation will cost around 5.000 Euros, the required personnel costs for operating the simulation environment can be stated with about 50.000 Euros per year.

End User's Statement

Jürgen Bischopink, Sales Manager at FIUKA:

"FIUKA is pleased about the possibility to see in an early stage of the development process the impact of changing’s in the process. This allows us to reduce the time to market and brings us a cost benefit."

Mission and Vision

Hence, our vision is to create a grid solution that offers services for numerical sheet metal forming simulations as well as DMU kinematics simulations. The simulations can be coupled with an optimization service to either optimize given parameters of the product like the strength of the material or to find an optimal stroke rate (strokes per minute) of the manufacturing press. Because optimization services require numerous simulation runs, a compute cluster will be utilized.

These simulation and optimization services will improve the competitiveness of the automotive supplier industry in Germany and Europe. Business and engineering processes related to the development of parts can be accelerated. For example, construction and development faults can be recognized as soon as possible prior to any part being manufactured.

The developed grid solution will be offered especially (but not exclusive) to SMEs in the automotive supplier industry for the first time. Nevertheless, potential early adapters of the solution could also be found for example in the aerospace industry [1] or more generally every industry with engineering tasks and the need for virtual development. As an example, we have started to develop an environment to also simulate transfer processes in the forging industry.

[1] General market Study Report and Specific Pilot Context, Deliverable D2.1.1 of BEinGRID project.

Business Impact

  • Improved Competitiveness: The ability to access high-end simulations just with a web browser on hand enables SMEs to overcome the various market pressures arising from globalization.

  • Cost Effectiveness: End users are not forced to keep own hard- and software systems as well as experts to operate the simulation environments. Hence, the total cost of ownership for end users will be reduced an absolute minimum required.

  • Improved Quality: The utilization of virtual prototyping techniques improves the product quality and the safety of the associated production process. Especially, the ability to perform Finite-Element simulation-based optimizations by utilizing remote cluster resources offers possibilities that are going far beyond the capabilities of an in-house solution.

Value Chain

From an end user’s perspective our business can be visualized as a value chain depicted below. A telecommunication provider (for example T-systems) delivers the network infrastructure that obviously is a mandatory part of the grid solution we are offering. SCAI - the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI) performs applied research and development in numerical simulation, optimization, and bioinformatics - and therefore is an excellent technology provider. The service provider (in our case COCOM Concurrent Computing GmbH) is in charge to set up the simulation models and communicate with the end user. So, the service provider is the interface to the end user by offering the simulation services via the grid infrastructure. The Information Systems Institute at the University of Siegen - as well as the Fraunhofer SCAI - strongly participates in the development and maintenance of the grid infrastructure and further on provides hardware resources (cluster systems) that can be utilized to perform the simulation jobs. The end user (here FIUKA) orders simulation services (deep drawing simulations or DMU kinematics simulations of transfer systems) via a portal by the service provider and gets the simulation results also via the portal. The end user pays for the simulation results.