CAE Simulation in Design and Development of an Automotive Sunroof System

The automotive industry relies heavily on CAE simulation to reduce product weight and development costs. Even “non-structural” components are engineered to withstand unusual events like collisions or unlawful forced entry. This is especially true of aperture systems like door latches and sunroofs. ArvinMeritor, a global automotive supplier, incorporates CAE in the development of its aperture products. One example is FEA verification of sunroof “push-out” strength-- a sunroof’s ability to prevent occupant ejection during an accident. This paper will discuss ArvinMeritor’s use of FEA to verify push-out strength for a new generation sunroof design that replaces critical steel components with polymer. Throughout this effort, ANSYS was used to simulate the highly non-linear test-to-destruction that defines push-out strength. Discussion includes development of FEA methods that were both practical to implement and accurate when compared with tests, thus inspiring the design team’s confidence. Also discussed is the analyst’s role in not only screening, but also suggesting design changes.

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