What we do
Any vehicle entering today’s competitive global market will have undergone endless man years of engineering design and development. However, a motor vehicle is never a simple sum of its parts and simply bringing together an inventory of high quality components / systems is no passport to customer satisfaction. This isn’t to say that component system selection is unimportant, on the contrary the systems must be selected against very stringent criteria Inc: performance, quality, reliability, cost, availability etc,. But before any of these criteria are considered they will have to pass through the concept selection process which considers Packaging, Aero & Thermo dynamics , NVH, Safety, Talking point design, Brand contribution etc.
Harmonising all of these inputs is entrusted to one department; ‘Vehicle Integration’. It comprises of a multi faceted team of engineers tasked with managing whole vehicle performance targets. The team provide an overarching service to the component area specialists and is divided into the following principal disciplines:-
Concept & Packaging
Packaging or the master vehicle layout considers all major systems and components in 3 dimensions the occupant position which has to conform to both ergonomic and legal requirement and impacts heavily on the crash requirements, primary operating control position and also mass distribution which is a very significant dynamic handling parameter.
Rapid developments in the field of active and passive safety to address both legal and consumer demands has no end in sight. Kinetic energy contained in the vehicle during the crash event must be managed ever more efficiently in order to preserve the safety cell and its occupants and F.E. simulation provides a starting point for this activity followed by physical vehicle crash tests in the laboratory.
Aero / Thermo dynamics
Air flow management must manage wind resistance for economy., lift characteristics for dynamic handling, under bonnet airflow for thermal management and equally water and dirt management for a user friendly customer environment. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) provides a starting point followed by practical empirical tests in the wind tunnel and test chambers.
Noise vibration and harshness and its elimination from the drivers cockpit is often judged as the hallmark of a vehicle’s quality, however, to successfully eliminate all noise and vibration from the vehicle interior would isolate the driver to such an extent as to remove any driving pleasure. Noise can be defined as unwanted sound and this would not include for example the rich exhaust note of a high revving engine,. Road inputs are equally important and are among the parameters that have to be considered during the vehicle’s design/development cycle.
Delivering distinctive vehicles of character requires that engineers know which features and engineering parameters are important to the customer and their expectations of performance. Equally sales and marketing need to know that the image to be projected is one that any product within the brand actually delivers.
Test & Validation
Customer’s expectations of their cars are constantly rising for every aspect of the vehicle. To ensure these demands are met, a wide range of validation tests are conducted, not only simulated synthetic tests but making full use of all the environmental conditions and physical test facilities the world markets have to offer.
The homologation function is the “legal wing” of product engineering and monitors the products legal compliance throughout its development. Keeping abreast of current and emerging legislation worldwide, it compiles all legal documentation in conjunction with the relevant legal authorities, manages approval test programmes, in-market certification and ensures continued legal conformity throughout the vehicles production life.
All of these functions rely on practical support at some time or other. This comes in the form of vehicle workshops, preparation and measurement areas, material laboratories, prototyping facilities etc. All of these functions are backed up by engineers and technicians with significant technical expertise.