BMW Standardizes Its FEA

In efforts to improve the crashworthiness of its vehicles, BMW Group is standardizing on finite element analysis (FEA) software from ABAQUS, Inc. (Providence, RI; www.abaqus.com), a Dassault Systèmes company.

In efforts to improve the crashworthiness of its vehicles, BMW Group is standardizing on finite element analysis (FEA) software from ABAQUS, Inc. (Providence, RI; www.abaqus.com), a Dassault Systèmes company. BMW has been working with the software since 1986, when it deployed it for engine development (specifically, according to a paper, “Migration of Crash Simulation Software at BMW,” written by four BMW Group researchers and presented at the 2005 ABAQUS Users’ Conference, “thermo-mechanical analysis of the creep effects of particular engine components.”). Now it has taken it beyond engines to chassis and body-in-white design and all the way to crashworthiness studies. Given BMW’s experience with the software, the vehicle manufacturer approached ABAQUS in ’98 to discuss the development of crash simulation capabilities, which led to several joint programs. One such program, in 2002, involved taking a 5 Series model, and decomposing it into subsystems and components, which were then used to develop crash models. In 2003, BMW decided to put the software to the test in a pilot production project, which has been running on ABAQUS/Explicit since September 2004. Among the activities undertaken included making sure that the software works with the pre- and post-processing systems used at BMW; collaborating with First Technology Safety Systems to develop FEA crash test dummy models; and working with Autoliv to develop airbag modeling capabilities. All of this work has led up to the announcement of the standardization on the software, which was made in late ’05.