News of March 14, 2001
GM To Commercialize DieCAS Software Technology Through Technalysis, Inc. In Move To Further Reduce Costs And Improve Quality Of Castings By Suppliers
Warren, Mich. - General Motors announced it will commercialize its dieCAS computer software that analyzes die casting processes at least 10 times faster than similar commercial applications. GM has granted a license to Technalysis, Inc. for exclusive rights to develop, market and support a commercial version of its dieCAS software. Terms were not disclosed.
Developed by GM Research and Development with assistance from EDS, dieCAS (for die Casting Analysis System), is a workstation-based CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) product that has saved GM more than $8 million annually. Since 1990, it has been used to reduce scrap and improve productivity in GM Powertrain's die casting operations for transmission cases and engine blocks.
"By commercializing dieCAS, we will provide improvements in the cost and quality of castings, including non-powertrain applications, that are purchased from our suppliers," explained Gary McDonald, director of the Enterprise Systems Lab at the GM Research and Development Center. "Furthermore, under the agreement, GM can continue to use dieCAS for its own casting operations at a reduced cost by spreading the costs of software maintenance over a wider number of users."
According to McDonald, GM selected the Indianapolis-based Technalysis because it was an established company with experience in manufacturing analysis software, engineering analysis services and specialty casting.
"As an engineering consulting and software development company for over 15 years, our business has been to provide packaged and customized CAE software, software consulting, and engineering consulting in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and materials for product/process modeling and design," said Akin Ecer, president of Technalysis. "We're very excited about our association with GM and the future prospects for commercial dieCAS application."
dieCAS goes well beyond the scope of traditional casting analysis to address a wide variety of product and process problems, many of which are unique to die casting, according to Alan Steffe, manufacturing engineering director for castings at GM Powertrain. "Unlike other general purpose casting analysis products, dieCAS is specialized to die casting," said Steffe.
"As a result, it takes advantage of die casting's unique characteristics and achieves enormous savings in analysis time, without sacrificing solution accuracy." Steffe added that dieCAS has shortened process development time up to one year for large powertrain castings by eliminating trial and error with physical hardware.
The scope of the dieCAS analysis includes heat transfer and solidification, liquid metal flow, and casting and die distortion. The combination of analysis speed and ease of use make dieCAS ideally suited to a design environment, where many different process alternatives must be investigated in a short period of time. Nearly all results are available in about an hour, even on very large dies.
dieCAS is the only CAE product to offer analysis of the entire die and machine, including the nonlinear contact problem at the uneven parting surfaces between die components, GM R&D's McDonald said. He added that dieCAS's broad spectrum of analysis provides valuable insight into the causes and potential remedies for a wide variety of common die casting problems.
GM's increased usage of math models, such as dieCAS, is helping the company to cut costs and shorten product development times by allowing validation simulations and reducing reliance on physical hardware for testing and evaluation. As a result, GM currently has three vehicle programs in an 18-month development cycle and another 25 vehicle programs in a 24-month development cycle, down from 33 months three years ago. The company so far has saved $1 billion in development costs.
(March 8, 2001)