U. S. and Europe emission standards continue to drive the design of liquid-cooled and air-cooled charge air coolers. These standards are pushing higher thermal loads and more rigorous durability requirements for many engine and exhaust components, such as the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler and charge air cooler from Modine Manufacturing Co., Racine, Wis. For nearly 90 years, Modine has been a world wide innovator and leader in thermal management, serving such organizations as BMW, Caterpillar, John Deere, Paccar, Fiat, DaimlerChrysler, Volkswagen, Hyundai, International Truck & Engine, and Man Diesel. Its products are used in light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles, HVAC equipment, industrial equipment, refrigeration systems, fuel cells, and electronics.
This model shows an Engine Gas
Recirculation Cooler designed by Tom Reiss at Modine’s Racine,
Wisconsin engineering facility using Pro/ENGINEER.
The exhaust gas recirculation cooler transfers heat from the engine exhaust to the same coolant loop that serves the radiator and the charge air cooler in a truck or automobile. As heat is extracted from the engine exhaust, the coolant loop temperature increases, making it harder to cool the engine and the intake air. A hotter engine produces more NOx, a targeted pollutant in current emission laws. Hot engines can also be a reliability concern.
Engineers at Modine felt they needed to optimize the flow field and pressure drop in these components to meet the new specifications. Bringing this about, however, would require more testing and additional design iterations. With the surge in demand for engine components that meet the new emission standards, it was clear that Modine needed to conduct a greater number of concurrent engineering projects without increasing the number of employees or adding to physical test facility capital investment. The need to leverage the virtual environment was clear.
Improving the durability of a liquid-cooled charge air cooler required redesign, which mandated multiple tests to confidently deliver the new product. Modine’s management believed that improved communication between product development engineers and analysis engineers would speed the overall design process. They also felt it was important for the final design to have more input from the analysis engineers. To bridge this communications gap, they restructured the development process and brought in custom analysis tools that would enable more virtual analyses without increasing staff.
Creating the virtual technology hub
To deliver the best products to customers, management made several significant changes within the organization. For one, they opted to insource to meet these new challenges.
Modine has used outsourcing, but it offers little benefit when a project requires multiple design iterations and a tight schedule. Engineers need easy access to each other to avoid excessive delays. Insourcing can be faster and less expensive and is well suited to results- driven, large, quick-turn-around projects. With the right foundation of a talented staff, tools, and efficient processes, the focus is on the project itself.
Another area of focus to streamline internal processes was to substitute simulation for physical prototyping. Prototype design and fabrication often took one to two months, followed by an extensive wait in a queue until the prototype could be experimentally tested.
Thus, Modine decided to build a virtual technology group of analysts to support all product lines around the company. To fulfill their vision, they needed to: • Apply more analysis during the early stages of product development • Facilitate better and more communication between product engineers and analysis engineers • Select optimal technology. In this case, they chose programs from PTC and Ansys. • Determine a way to engage more virtual testing in lieu of physical testing • Optimize and integrate the CAD/analysis software • Reduce capital costs
Management requested that all analysis engineers co-locate to one area. After gaining buy-in, the new team redesigned their layout and setup to enable a successful workflow. This team, the Virtual Technology Group, now sat right in the middle of all product line groups.
With analysts from all product divisions, the Group could share technology processes and create best practices for rolling out simulation technologies to engineers in different divisions. The state-of-the-art environment delivered an expedient work space that removed inter-group barriers. Communication boundaries slowly disappeared while engineers spoke daily.
Modine designs and manufactures thermal
management devices for a variety of applications, including light,
medium and heavy-duty vehicles, HVAC equipment, fuel cells and
Previously, an engineer might struggle for days, weeks, or months on a technical problem, especially as remote location hindered collaboration with peers. The new work space promoted dynamic collaboration. Engineers were soon moving quickly through technical difficulties and leveraging one another’s knowledge. Work quality improved dramatically. The redefined organization handled a higher volume of analyses. “Communication has influenced the environment in ways we never anticipated,” said Dr. Allan Wang, manager, Virtual Technology Group. “Fostering communication lends itself to a more productive and efficient environment. Being able to anticipate one another’s needs is a huge confidence builder.”
State-of-the-art analysis tools
To equip its group, Modine selected several tools including PTC’s Pro/ENGINEER 3D CAD, and FloWizard from Ansys for analyzing fluid dynamics. Ansys integrated these tools for seamless geometry transfer and to conform to Modine’s new design process. The first devices developed from these tools were the re-designed liquid-cooled charge air coolers, oil coolers, and fuel coolers.
The engineers used “super workstations” that were fully loaded with requisite tools. These workstations let them experience the virtual design and analysis environment – their ‘campsite.’ Design and analysis engineers alike could use these campsites to expedite their learning process in an actual project and have easy access to application knowledge.
There are approximately 600 engineers in the core engineering division. Management needs greater productivity from all of them as business grows. Spreading analysis tools such as CFD is one approach for increasing productivity. Selecting easy to learn tools is another approach. There are a significant number of features that operate automatically in the two integrated software programs. Plus, it was set up for specific design activities for Modine, to make the tools immediately usable by the designers. “Everything is going towards simulation to improve product development processes,” said Dr. Jonathan Wattelet, global director of Research. “By 2010, we’d like one-half of our engineers to use tools like the integrated Pro/ENGINEER-FloWizard software.”
A better process, plus the use of the integrated programs, is delivering impressive results. The company has reduced setup time for virtual testing of products from 2 days to 20 minutes in some cases, while enabling more testing and design iterations. Previously, physical test iterations cost up to $10,000 (this figure includes prototyping, performance testing, data reduction, and labor costs) and required significant time to setup and conduct them. Now, the cost to run these tests virtually using simulation and analysis tools is approximately $400. Also, front-loading of the analysis in the design cycle reduces the design time by 20 to 30%.
Working closely with Ansys staff, Modine has tailored FloWizard for particular components, such as the liquid-cooled charge air coolers. The interoperability between FloWizard and Pro/ENGINEER is maintained because PTC’s Granite Interoperability Kernal ensures seamless geometry interoperability.
Modine’s senior management, championed by Dr. Anthony C. De Vuono, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, said, “I am thrilled with the way the organization has embraced the environment. Computer simulation and analysis allows us to use our physical test facilities more wisely, facilitating these productivity gains.”
With the integrated packaged of
Pro/ENGINEER and FloWizard from Ansys, Modine engineers are handling
more complex analysis, like the design of the Engine Gas Recirculation
Cooler, as well as developing new methodologies and sharing design and
An immediate positive impact
The process changes immediately affected the design of liquid-cooled charge air cooler. Tom Reiss, application engineer from the Engine Product Group, used the programs to optimize the flow and pressure drop in a liquid-cooled charge air cooler. Reiss set up five 3D CAD versions of his design, and in 20 minutes created his CFD runs using FloWizard. He ran his CFD solutions overnight and was able to determine the best path for modeling and manufacturing by the next morning. Reiss estimates that this design, using traditional methods and tools, would have cost a minimum of $10,000 for just two iterations, not to mention the significant additional queue time and setup time needed for physical testing in lieu of these virtual simulations. The previous process would have taken 26 man-hours.
Dave Janke, Supervisor of the Virtual Technology Group, estimates that virtual analysis testing of the liquid-cooled charge air cooler using the current processes costs Modine $400 and approximately one day of time.
As a member of the PTC Partner Advantage Program, Ansys can adapt and integrate PTC technology into its own products, and deliver new solutions to customers like Modine. The Virtual Technology Group and engineering teams at Modine demonstrate how these tools and cross-functional knowledge are being spread across the organization. It’s a partnership that will continue to pay dividends for leaders in a variety of industries across the globe.
Modine Manufacturing Co.
:: Design World ::
Filed Under: 3D CAD, Automotive, FEA software, Fluid power, Mechanical, Software