Digital prototyping software means speedy design of winning cars

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Cars are designed and produced within three months thanks to streamlined workflow using Autodesk Digital Prototyping software

Triple Eight Race Engineering UK has shown that using Autodesk’s Digital Prototyping software helps win the race – literally. When MG became one of its sponsors at the end of last year, Triple Eight was faced with completing six months of work within three months to get the MG KX Momentum racing team on the road for the 2012 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Using Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Alias and Autodesk Showcase, Triple Eight designed and produced the new MG6 cars by the deadline – and then went on to lead the championship on the first day of the season.

Ian Harrison, Triple Eight managing director, says: “Developing digital prototypes using Autodesk Inventor and being able to easily exchange files with MG and also with suppliers using Autodesk software helped us no end in this achievement.”

He added that the team’s goal on the first race weekend of the season at Brands Hatch, Kent, had been to “demonstrate the reliability of the cars”. In fact, they did much more, clocking the fastest lap of one race and speeding to a superb victory in another. Driver Jason Plato says: “To win on our debut is just incredible, it’s been my finest race weekend.”

Triple Eight engineer, Carl Faux, explains: “Our engineering team is smaller than ever, while the cars now have three times as much body work as they did previously because new parameters provide more scope for modification. Despite this we knew that our Autodesk workflow would enable us to achieve much within the tight timeframe.

“It certainly helped that MG does its surface design of body work in Autodesk Alias, which meant we could easily exchange files without any compatibility issues. Also, we already had our library of parts in Inventor which accelerated the design. But above all, being able to test every part as an accurate digital prototype, simulating its movement and behaviour on screen, enabled us to optimise the cars’ performance at the engineering stage, before the cars were even built.”

New design technologies

Faux stresses that Triple Eight’s readiness to adopt new design technologies and methods is key to its success. In line with this policy, it is considering Autodesk’s new cloud-based product lifecycle management system, Autodesk PLM 360.

Faux says: “We were one of the first companies to implement Autodesk Vault data management, and this has helped the development of our entire business. Autodesk PLM 360 is based on the same concept and we are eager to see what it can do for us.”

He concludes: “But it’s not just about workflow and processes. Using a combination of Autodesk Inventor, Alias and Showcase helps us to get the aesthetics of our designs right, which gives us a real competitive edge over every other touring car team.”

Follow the link for more information about Autodesk’s Digital Prototyping products.

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