Sponsor Success Thursdays: Virginia Tech and Siemens

The help of sponsors has been instrumental in the success of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team at Virginia Tech. Silver‐level competition sponsor Siemens, in particular, has aided the team tremendously with the donation of their NX computer‐aided design (CAD) software. Siemens is a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services.

“Virginia Tech has been a great school in applying NX 7 software to solve design problems,” said Senior Director of Partner Strategy at Siemens PLM Software Bill Boswell. In Year One, HEVT faced the design challenge of integrating multiple hybrid components, such as motors or batteries, into the vehicle. Because EcoCAR 2 teams didn’t receive their GM‐donated 2013 Chevy Malibu until after Year One, all of this design work must be done in a virtual environment without having an actual vehicle present. Without Siemens’ NX CAD software, this would be impossible.

One particularly challenging task is the integration of the generator motor, which will be packaged between the engine and the transmission. The generator motor will essentially replace the torque converter between the engine and transmission, which will require extensive and detailed modifications to the transmission. The Siemens NX CAD software helps HEVT’s engineers work with the engine and the transmission to evaluate packaging tradeoffs in this process.

One of the strengths of the NX software suite is its ability to support every part of the design process, from concept to analysis to fabrication. Within the NX environment, HEVT can build CAD models, perform Finite Element Analysis (FEA), and then automate the fabrication of the design. This capability is invaluable and allows engineers to perform FEA on parts like the generator motor housing without the need to transition to a different program. Eliminating the need to transition to a separate program for analysis greatly reduces the design time and streamlines the design process.

“We wouldn’t be able to accomplish half the stuff that we are really trying to do. This is especially true of the integration of the P2 custom generator motor between the transmission and the engine,” said Kieran Lee, mechanical subteam member. “It actually makes our job a lot easier.”

Not only does Siemens NX software help HEVT in the design process of the EcoCAR 2 competition, it also helps the engineers prepare for the workforce. Boswell said that the Siemens software gives engineers “opportunities for them to be already trained in the software, [and] to provide them with job experience for internships and careers.” This software helps engineers prepare for the industry by giving them experience with design tools that are actually used in industry.

“It has been a great relationship to provide both the training and the software and [to] see [what] students at Virginia Tech have done to build some awesome projects,” said Boswell.

HEVT would like to thank Siemens for providing the team and all the EcoCAR 2 teams with NX 7.5 and for helping us overcome challenges in Year One of the EcoCAR 2 competition! Thank you Siemens…GO PLM!