September 26, 2014
I once asked a VAR (value-added reseller) about the reason for his success. He said it was a secret sauce. Stock question, stock answer. Then he added that he worked hard for his clients and explained how he went about it. His approach to his clients’ challenges was the key to success. Working hard for the client would be a good description for the engineering services group at ETA (Engineering Technology Associates). And they really do have a secret sauce. It’s patented too.
ETA probably earns the most press for their enterprise-level CAE (computer-aided engineering) software solutions and their Inventium Suite. The Inventium architecture provides you with access to ETA’s simulation and analysis software tools, including PreSys for developing finite element models, DYNAFORM for die analysis, VPG for mechanical system analysis and NISA, a comprehensive FEA (finite element analysis) software toolset.
ETA’s engineering service capabilities might not get as much of the limelight, but they earn it. They cover all bases from concept development on up. Here’s a quick rundown. Then, the secret sauce.
In a nutshell, ETA can do product design and provide complete product development solutions. They can handle FEA and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analyses, perform design optimizations, help staff your engineering department and deliver IT services. Among the industries that ETA works with are aerospace, consumer electronics, medical devices and renewable power. ETA also is a tier-one automotive supplier. It has expertise in crashworthiness, metal forming, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), and occupant safety. You get the idea. High-end engineering services are their bailiwick.
OK, now, the secret sauce that ETA engineering services brings to your engineering challenges.
All this high-end work over the years led ETA to develop what it calls the Accelerated Concept to Product (ACP) Process. ACP, as you surmise, is a product design and development approach. It differs from traditional engineering services approaches in that it’s an optimization-led and performance-driven methodology rather than an approach that analyzes a design or two. The goal here is to determine the most efficient design solution for an object under development. You’re talking about lots of simulation. But you’re also talking about reducing budgets, time and manufacturing constraints.
ACP is a complement to your product design processes, not a replacement. It’s a multifaceted tool that brings CAD, CAE and CAO (computer-aided optimization) platforms together to investigate your concepts. ACP can be applied to a single component, subsystem assemblies or something as complex as a full vehicle.
How it works is that ETA’s engineers develop a concept model. ACP enables an all-inclusive design approach incorporating geometry, material types and properties as well as manufacturing expertise. The combined multidisciplinary engineering power allows the simultaneous analysis of hundreds or thousands of designs under multiple load conditions. Results are designed, analyzed and optimized using loading, manufacturing, material, and cost constraints. An optimal design is generated, and ETA prepares the design for manufacturing based on your manufacturing processes then provides production support.
The benefits of the ACP approach can include mass reductions, fewer components, improved structural performance and more efficient manufacturing. The compound effects of all of this could well be the most interesting since your product development costs like design, materials, manufacturing and tooling should go down. ETA says you could see cost savings up to 35-40%.
Today’s Check it Out link takes you to a landing page on ETA’s website where they do a better job of explaining the ACP Process. Read the stuff on that page then look on screen right for “Engineering Menu.” Click on the “Core Competencies” link. You’ll get a new list of options. Click on “ACP Process” once again. It’ll bring up a new menu, click on and download the white paper (registration free) for an in-depth look at applying the ACP Process to the FutureSteelVehicle project. This project seeks to help automakers optimize steel body structures for electrified vehicles. Also make sure to step through the other links for quick examples of how ETA can help with your engineering projects. Fascinating stuff.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
About the Author
Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].Follow DE