Free Field Technologies and Autoneum collaborate to aid OEM acoustic vehicle design

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Simulation software provider Free Field Technologies (FFT) and automotive acoustic and thermal management supplier Autoneum have formed a collaboration to share expertise on acoustic simulation and modeling. The project will see the development of a computer-aided engineering (CAE) solution for manufacturers in the automotive sector, that seeks to design quiet and comfortable vehicles without any additional weight.

With the move away from noise-emitting internal combustion engines, automotive manufacturers now have the almost-silent operation of electric car architectures and powertrains to deal with, as vibrations and other sounds such as road noise are accentuated. High-performance acoustic treatments are to play an increasingly important role as the automotive industry transitions to cleaner and quieter forms of vehicle propulsion – passenger comfort and perceived vehicle quality are key factors for consumers, and designers require specific information to apply acoustic materials in optimal positions for sound management without increasing overall vehicle weight.

By developing a solution that pinpoints acoustic performance, the time required by designers and engineers is reduced. Through combining the acoustic and simulation expertise of both companies, the collaboration aims to build further knowledge on acoustic behavior for specific treatments, to aid engineers with vehicle design in a rapidly evolving industry.

“From the whine of the electric motor and vibration in the powertrain to noise from heating and air-conditioning units, wind resistance and tires, there are multiple variables that make acoustic design a complex challenge to solve,” explained Diego Copiello, product manager, FFT (part of Hexagon’s manufacturing intelligence division.

“Hexagon offers market-leading solutions that help identify noise sources and mitigate their harshness. Our collaboration with Autoneum will provide new tools to industry engineers helping them in the creation of efficient designs and the best possible driving experiences for their customers.”

The accelerated development of electric vehicles also places pressure on OEMs as they push to find acoustic treatments and new sustainable materials early in the design process by utilizing CAE solutions capable of exploring noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

“Autoneum’s simulation tools for vehicle acoustics are already being used successfully by manufacturers and suppliers worldwide,” commented Davide Caprioli, head of acoustic and thermal management, Autoneum. “By working with FFT and integrating our know-how into the Actran software, our methodology will now be even more widely and readily available, thus making it the global standard in NVH.”

The new solution will support manufacturers in simulating acoustic insulation materials as companies pursue noise reduction, lightweight design and passenger comfort. With Autoneum’s knowledge in designing tailored sound packages based on validated simulation methods, it extends the capabilities of Actran acoustic and vibro-acoustic modeling software to provide accurate information and the reduction of design cycles.

In the future, both partners seek to optimize and standardize processes for acoustic design workflows, alongside the improvement of design and modeling of NVH materials and the exchange of data between manufacturers and suppliers.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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