16 Apr 2008   |   News

Software to design away faults before prototyping

Research Lead

Research scientists from seven Fraunhofer Institutes are developing software to simulate possible faults, variations that occur in manufacturing, or potential for breakdown in any product, in advance of any physical version being available.

The project, Computer Aided Robust Design (CAROD), is developing software that can be integrated into product design systems, enabling these systems to take account of possible causes of failure in the earliest stages of designing any product.  

“Today the development and testing of prototypes, be they entire cars or individual components, takes place mainly in the computer,” says Andreas Burblies, spokesman for the Fraunhofer Numerical Simulation Alliance.

But these simulations can only reflect reality to a limited extent. “There are no parts or manufacturing processes in which all product or process properties are identical. But the developers always get the same simulation results if they enter the same parameters,” says Burblies. CAROD makes it possible to factor real deviations into the simulation calculations.

CAROD will improve quality by taking faults, variations and breakdowns into account during the virtual design phase. “We are aiming to get as close to the natural manufacturing conditions as possible with our simulations,” says Tanja Clees, project manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI) in Sankt Augustin. The system is a work in progress, but will be on display at the Hannover Messe Industrial Technology exhibition next week (April 21 – 25).

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