Fun & Games in Mellow Orange

Point of View

Read all about it !

Read all about it !

Total Satisfaction Ride to Lago di Garda with the Touran 2.0 TDI

Fancy a drive down South? Such a simple suggestion and yet the mere mention of the word ‘South’ for the motoring enthused seems to conjure up an escapade of shine peddling along some back road in the hills of Alabama in a rumbling pickup truck.

Wine barrels and Pumpkin Touran

Wine barrels and Pumpkin Touran.

“Susie, grab your shotgun, tie that hound and hang on to your hat – we got rye to deliver”. A veracious recollection, not quite – in our case deep down south meant the eastern side of the beautiful Lago di Garda in Italy. What’s more, no old rambling pickup truck, we had a brand-new car at our disposal: a VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI – in orange metallic, which VW have decided to call “Habanero Orange Metallic”.

Touran – Tower of Reliable Substance

Shot gun and hound storage? Forget about it, as the local would say, pressing the open- the-boot button on the key, flattening the third seat row and in went the bicycle, plus plenty of luggage for 2 persons to set off to an all activity holiday in a multifunctional fun vehicle.

The Italians must have liked Pumpkin because they allowed the Touran to drive anywhere.

The Italians must have liked Pumpkin a lot, because they allowed the Touran to drive anywhere.

In short: The Tiguan 2.0 TDI with just 150 hp (110kW) surprised us all along. Having been used to driving sportscars in the premium segment, we expected to be faced with something resembling that of a suburban tractor, we were proved wrong from the outset. Not only is the car and its navigation system self-explanatory (we hate leafing through manuals), it is great fun to drive. And – a totally new experience for us – it uses so damn little petrol.

Fits in nicely with this luscious area. But what's more: Fun to drive!

Fits in nicely with this luscious area. But what’s more: Fun to drive!

A propos Diesel: It is simply terrible how the Americans have blown the “Diesel issue” out of all proportion. And now all kinds of countries are following suit maligning the combustion engines. How short-sighted can one get, oblivious to proper well-to-wheel, womb-to-tomb considerations. The fact remains: Volkswagen are building fantastically good cars!

It is one thing to ask managers to step down. Winterkorn’s resignation is a sine qua non. His autocratic managerial style, in his later years short of despotism, certainly nurtured an unhealthy ‘culture’ of con tricksing.

And another truth: The cars with the so-called defeat device are extremely good cars.

Bella macchina. My Pumpkin 2.0 in front of a nice hotel in Salo'.

Bella macchina. My Pumpkin 2.0 was allowed exclusive parking in front of hotel Duomo plus ristorante Rosa in Salo’ overlooking the lake.

A further aspect not to forget: Whereas airbag producer Takata and other companies have caused terrible accidents and even casualties, not to mention the oh-so-progressive Tesla’s lethal self-driving software, Volkswagen engineering is safe and sound and intelligent – in spite of American lawyers’ propensity to come up with bogus figures as to how much more deaths through cancer will be caused through slightly higher emissions. What a lot of bull…ocks.

Heavy Duty? No, saper vivere!

Vino e pane - simple life can be bliss! After a wine and oil tasting, we drove home with lots of vini Camincioli. Luckily, the Touran offers plenty of space!

Vino e pane – simple life can be bliss! After a wine and oil tasting, we drove home with lots of vini Comincioli. Luckily, the Touran offers plenty of space!

But to revert to the Tiguan 2.0 TDI: It was real joy to embark on an all activity spree to beautiful Lago di Garda. What might have seemed a somewhat boring utility vehicle has matured into a truly amazing f-car. F for fun, family, fantastic. Clean design. Amazing equipment. All the assistant systems one might want, for instance the very useful rear view camera. The only assistant tool we would have loved to have on top, is a head-up display. Head-up displays in our view are one of the most useful innovations and should be part of every car in today’s confusing traffic with its erratic speed limits. In total, our version came up to 35,850 Euro, plus 11,807 Euro for special equipment. Pity that our mellow orange costs extra. It so befits this car! Makes it stand out in a nice way, as you can see on the photos. At any rate, it truly is an all activity vehicle which suits many quite diverse purposes. Needless to add, the Diesel momentum adds this extra zest when driving.

The Latin poet Catullus would certainly have loved to have had Pumpkin at his disposal to increase his mobility in ancient times. Sirmione.

The ancient Roman poet Catullus would certainly have loved to have had Pumpkin at his disposal to increase his mobility to and from Roma aeterna. Photo taken near where his rural villa is supposed to have been. Sirmione.

text and photos: Susanne Roeder

Pumpkin and I hit it off very well together.

Pumpkin and I hit it off very well together.


Bacchus, to thee alone? No, olio e vino!

Bacchus, to thee alone? No, olio e vino!





The INSIGNIA of Attraction

Not a white elephant at all, but a very attractive, stylish car, cleverly equipped with hightech.

Not a white elephant at all, but a very attractive, stylish car, cleverly equipped with hightech. The new Insignia notchback.

Opel: Made in Germany

“We need to regain confidence and impart the fullest passion. We need to polish the Lightning Bolt to the highest gloss.” These words, spoken only six months ago by Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann when he had just assumed the position of CEO, were part of his welcome address to the Opel employees. Right from the outset he wished to give them clear-cut guidelines and a vision as to where Opel is heading from now on.

No sooner had he voiced his mission than positive actions started. Opel is not only revising its component and engine plant in Kaiserslautern (Rhineland-Palatinate), investing a lump sum of roughly 130 million Euro, the car manufacturer has embarked on launching no less than 23 new models and 13 new engines in the coming years. Opel and its employees have always been a proud, tough and ambitious brand, which is probably one reason why the company has managed to survive prolonged years of dire straits and hardship.

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO and an engineer with verve, zest and a clear vision.

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO and an engineer. A man with a wide and friendly smile and full of verve, zest and a clear vision.

The car that is already profiting from all these renewals and changes is no less than Opel’s flagship, the Insignia. Neumann emphasises: “Our flagship is now more sophisticated and eye-catching – but even in the midst of all this elegance, don’t forget what it’s all about: to offer dirvers and passengers a comfortable and safe driving experience with state-of-the-art technologiey at a very attractive price.” Well said. The price for the Insignia starts at 24,130 EUR for the four-door notchback (Opel) or 18,040 GBP (Vauxhall). Thus illustrating value for money in the C-segment where it is competing with premium brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder models. And for its passengers the Insignia might genuinely prove a welcome understatement.

Ready for Take-off… and Rising Sales Figures

The Insignia story started in 2008, its name signalling membership of rank in the business class segment. The car has indeed proven an outright success right from the start. Since its inauguration, well over 600,000 first-generation Opel Insignia have so far been sold.

Paving the way to success with the 2nd generation Insignia.

Paving the way to success with the 2nd generation of the flagship, the Insignia.

The Insignia is the Opel flagship, The “Opelans” have dubbed it “a positive attention grabber with technical substance”. More than ever, the totally revamped second generation Insignia follows the multi-award-winning new Opel design philosophy of “sculptural artistry meeting German precision”. Such is the metal that winners are made of. No doubt about it, Opel is ready for take off. The little Opel Adam is already doing extremely well in the fashion-led A segment. As from now on the flagship, too, can show its popularity and prowess in sales figures.

The second Insignia generation made its debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, before going on sale on 28 September. It comes in a variety of five models, namely as four-door notchback, i.e. saloon, as five-door hatchback, Sports Tourer and as OPC super model.

The Insignia Country Tourer benefits from all-wheel drive as standard.

Demonstrates off road prowess: The Insignia Country Tourer benefits from adaptive all-wheel drive as standard.

Moreover, the Country Tourer has been added as a new family member. With it Opel and Vauxhall are offering a crossover vehicle that works both on the road and offroad, and as such is competing with Audi (A4 Allroad and also A6 Allroad) and the VW Passat “Alltrack”. The latest addition to the Opel range has three powerful turbo engines with up to 400 Nm torque. At any rate, the Country Tourer has more horsepower than the Passat ”Alltrack” – be it the 184 kW/250 hp, 2.0-liter SIDI direct injection gasoline unit, the  high-performance 2.0 BiTurbo CDTI with 143 kW/195 hp, or the 2.0 CDTI with 120 kW/163 hp. The choice is between five Diesel, four petrol engines, ranging from 120 to 325 hp, added to which one can opt for Autogas.

Simultaneously, these engines deliver impressive fuel economy numbers. No doubt about it, this crossover vehicle with its Flex Ride chassis has been a clever, if long overdue step by the Opel and Vauxhall management. Compact crossover models have become all the rage. It is easily predictable that in this segment, the Insignia Country Tourer will be hugely successful as “all in one” vehicle at an acceptable price.

With this car besides answering the demands of faithful fans, Opel will attract a new clientele. Thus, the Country Tourer is a valuable addition to the Opel portfolio. The crossover vehicle with its attractive wrap-around design will fill the gap for car enthusiasts with a strong bias towards Opel who are convinced by the value-for-money pricing, but have so far not been presented with a car by their OEM that can just as easily leave the beaten track to confront unforeseeable challenges offroad. Sales of the Country Tourer Wagon will start in 2014.

The Country Tourer has special styling and benefits from all-wheel drive as standard.

The Country Tourer has been given several upgrades and special styling features.

Success with the Opel Mokka in the sub-compact SUV segment has already proved Opel right and has demonstrated the popularity of crossover vehicles. “Now the high quality of our brand flagship can be spiced up with a strong dose of adventure, too”, explains CEO Neumann.

Success be to the Courageous

The Insignia is a statement of defiance of market moods. With its launch the Opel team has demonstrated courage, especially as they have come out with a mid-sized family car designed for a European clientele at times when Europe’s economy is still rather weak.

On the road of success. The Opel Insignia boasts several benchmarks.

Ticked off for success. The Opel Insignia boasts several benchmarks.

Not so the Opel sales figures. The outlook is positive: In September Opel managed to sell 13 per cent more vehicles in its home market Germany than in the same month of the previous year. That is a good start into the autumn and end of year rally equalling more than 19,000 newly sold Opel passenger cars, resulting in a market share of 7.79 per cent. In fact, the manufacturer with headquarters in Rüsselsheim (Rhineland-Palatinate) has managed to stabilise its market share in Germany at 7.1 per cent. And the future looks auspicious, not least due to the jazzed up and enlarged model range. The Insignia may still not be the most thrilling car, but its complete overhaul has made an incredible difference, both as regards the physical appearance of the mid-size.premium vehicle, its new technology and multimedia options for the driver that can be used intuitively.

Undaunted roly-poly, the Lightning Bolt.

Undaunted roly-poly, the Lightning Bolt.

Not forgetting the fact that Opel is a German brand, and to a large extent the cars are still made in Germany. In other words, here is a German premium brand that is very attractive because of its price level and its down-to-earth cars that appeal both to fleet managers and private drivers.

The Opel crew has meticulously done its homework. As a result, the Insignia has scored several Firsts. When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Insignia 2.0 CDTI is benchmark in its mid-size class, both as notchback and as hatchback. The eco champion with its turbo diesel engine has CO2 emissions as low as 99 g/km and consumes no more than 3.7 l/100 km, with 88 kW/120 hp or 103 kW/140 hp.

The most amazing trophy is an incredibly low drag coefficient of below 0.25, which makes the Insignia the  most streamlined five-door hatchback in the world. The Sports Tourer, too, has an impressive drag efficient of 0.28, making it the most aerodynamic startion wagon in series production.

With one Look: Designed to Thrill

It is just such a spell-binding look that makes one feel attracted to the second generation. The Insignia’s facelift has made the car forever young. It is fresh, it boasts a more expressive, distinct and discernible design. The cockpit has been rid of an abundance of buttons and switches and shaped into a high-quality cockpit with fourfold intuitive operation of the available infotainment systems. Neumann is convinced that “the new Insignia will thrill even more”.

The Insignia Cockpit: Tidied up, clearly arranged and ergonomic: the new Insignia cockpit.

Tidied up, clearly arranged and ergonomic: the new Insignia cockpit.

New leather and trim packages, plus simpler steering wheel buttons complete a decent facelifting for the Insignia. The AGR seats (Aktion Gesunder Rücken, i.e. Campaign for Healthier Backs, see, have been an outstanding feature with Opel cars for many years. These back-friendly seats are not standard equipment in any Opel. Nevertheless, 60 per cent of German car drivers have ordered their respective Opel with AGR seats.

Determined look with winglets of attraction.

Determined look with winglets of attraction.

The look of a car, meaning its lights at the front and at the back, is always important. It is what gives it its character. And the Insignia definitely now has a confident, focused and direct look, as if to say: “Here’s looking at you… and I do expect an answer when I am talking to you”. Part of this look are the distinctive winglets as design elements for both headlamps and taillights. Additionally, the new look of the redesigned headlamps is strengthened by embedded chrome accents below halogen or bi-xenon modules surrounded by high gloss, black bezels. The “wing” signature is characteristic of all body versions.

On the Winglets of Desirable Design

Opel has abandoned its dated and slightly frumpy appearance, resulting in an altogether rejuvenated styling. The same applies to the second Insignia generation. The top model

Winglets with a view - the rear lights of the new Insignia.

Winglets with a view – the rear lights of the new Insignia.

has become altogether more masculine, with its flowing shape more solidly planted on the ground. Added to which it has distinct design features that make it discernible as an Insignia. In a sense, the car has become a personality, is no longer “just” a practical means of transport.

The eye-catching bodywork encapsulates state-of-the art technology. This holds even more true for the ultimate top-of-the-line perfomer, the Insignia OPC. Trendsetting technologies range from an Active Air Shutter lowering the drag coefficient, adaptive 4×4 all-wheel drive, Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL+), Advanced Park Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), FlexRide Premium Chassis, Independent Car Heater, LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Traction Control (TCPlus), with engine and braking intervention and many other ingredients that make this car state-of-the art in every respect.

Mulimedia Options Intuitively Understood

Irrespective of whether it is true or not that generations X and especially Y are more interested in smartphones and multimedia than in cars – we actually do not reckon much to that view, but rather attribute the decrease in young car tenants to the exceedingly expensive maintenance costs – Opel has introduced revolutionary infotainment in the new Insignia.

8-inch touchpad catering for all conceivable needsof communication.

8-inch touchpad catering for all conceivable needsof communication.

Integrated into the newly designed cockpit with a radically simplified control panel and two 8-inch colour displays is the so-called IntelliLink, a user-friendly technology that integrates smartphone capabilities into the car. IntelliLink allows its user to choose between four options to operate the infotainmen depending on whichever option is most convenient at

Touchpad with letter recognition.

Touchpad with letter recognition.

any given time. It has been developed to distract the driver’s attention from driving as little as possible. The four possible operation modes are voice command, steering wheel controls, the 8-inch touchscreen or a revolutionary touchpad centre console. The latter has letter recognition and will even translate scrawls into sensible information. Selected smartphone content can be transmitted via Bluetooth, added to which the touchscreen can download apps. IntelliLink is actually not just here to deliver infotainment, but moreover offers some powerful advanced functions:

The INSIGNIA of Power: OPC

Pure motorsport ambience: the instrument display has specific engine information available.

Pure motorsport ambience: The instrument display has specific engine information available.

Pure motorsport ambience awaits the driver of the OPC, the ultimate Opel powerhouse. The new Opel Insignia OPC, too, follows the new design language of the Insignia family. Its bold appearance has been restyled at the front and at the rear displaying specific OPC design elements, such as distinctive saber-tooth front detailing and integrated exhaust tailpipes. The OPC chassis is enhanced, with special focus on the re-worked rear axle – as in the other members of the new Insignia family – where engineers have modified around 60 percent of the componentry. In addition, noise and vibration behavior is improved through numerous fine-tuning measures.And at the heart of it all is the 2.8l V6 rubto engine with 239 kW/325 hp and 435 Nm maximum torque.

Insignia OPC as notchback and as hatchback.

Insignia OPC as notchback and as hatchback.

Bright Future Ahead

In China, the mid-size limousine Insignia wishes to appeal to a demanding clientele as Buick. Considering the looks, the multifarious options for a distinctly individual car, the 8-inch touchscreen for “generation Playstation”, the Insignia will undoubtedly be a success as Buick in the increasingly important market of China.

Not only the Chinese will be grateful for such clever devices as “My Opel App”, an interactive device which saves one ploughing through unwieldy instruction manuals. Instead, take your smartphone, move it to the area about which you would like to learn more and have the relevant information displayed to you:

With the Insignia family Opel has managed to offer a car for every taste. Given the choice we would go for the OPC, as it definitely fun to drive, especially along long and winding roads with lots of bends.

Only six months ago Neumann acceded the thorny Opel throne. But already now one is inclined to say: Mission successfully completed. Opel as one of Europe’s largest automakers has the backing of General Motors allowing the German carmaker to make the necessary investments into Research end Development. The Insignia is a perfect example of Opel rejuvenated and displaying advanced technology. The Lightning Bolt has regained its shine.

Zusammenfassung / Summary:

Opel ist mit der vollständigen Überarbeitung des Insignia in der zweiten Generation ein weiterer Rundumerfolg geglückt. Nach Meriva und Corsa als Segmentführer in ihrer jeweiligen Klasse und den sehr guten Verkaufszahlen des knackigen Kleinwagens Adam

New member of the Insignia family: Insignia Country Tourer for both town and rough countryside.

New member of the Insignia family: Insignia Country Tourer for both town and rough countryside.

zeichnet sich schon jetzt abab, dass der Insignia die Marktposition des deutschen Herstellers weiter festigen und verbessern wird. Anhaltenden Schwung und Aufwind bringt der Marke nicht zuletzt das neue Mitglied in der Insignia Familie, der Country Tourer – als Outdoor-Version und Crossover Cowboy für die Straße und für Offroad-Abenteuer.

Susanne Roeder


Big Data for Cars’n all

There is a better way to fly... According to Altair engineers, the company had significant involvement with both the A380 and 787 programs, helping to reduce the weight of both aircrafts.

There is a better way to fly… According to Altair engineers, they had significant involvement with both the A380 and 787 programmes, helping to reduce the weight of both aircrafts.

Aesthetics of Lightweight: Dallara, Airbus & Art

It is our vision to radically change the way in which companies design products and reach decisions.” Mere waffle? Far from it. The man who said it has a solid engineering background as consultant to the automotive industry, beginning his career with the Ford Motor Company in 1978. Seven years later, together with two partners he, James R. Scapa, better known as Jim Scapa, founded Altair engineering. What started out as a small scale consultancy in Troy, Michigan, in the then new field of computer-aided-engineering (CAE), has become a global player indeed, with more than 2,000 employees in 19 countries. Added to which the Altair portfolio of clients reads like an impressive who’s who of the  producing industry. For a first impression of how digitalisation works in an engineering process, this is what CEO Scapa has to say about innovation intelligence:

Digitalisation is omnipresent. And apart from being a most valuable tool for engineers in the production industry, even artists have become infatuated with the clever Altair software.

The making of ...

Design to the Xtreme or: The making of …

So what could the above turn out to be? The result of the rapid simulation process is a sculpture by the London based designer and author of the famous trouser chair Assa Ashuach. And thus it happened, Altair as a software company has entered the London Design Museum – as part of the show Future is Here. Further proof that this company is avantgarde and anything but antiquated. The Israeli, whose work focuses on progressive design and manufacturing, relied on Altair’s programmes solidThinking Inspire and OptiStruct to model his futuristic Femur stool. The stool is exhibited in the Design Museum till the end of October 2013.

3D print of the stool.

3D print of the stool.

Here is the animated version of the genesis, an unusual piece of seating furniture based on the human anatomy: Its creator Ashuach claims that 3D design starts with zero and that it is all about materialising one’s thoughts. This is precisely how Altair would like to see industry employ the software, because only starting from scratch, on a white sheet of paper, makes one reach the best results in weight reduction and durability. However, most use the software as a tool to improve existing design with the aim of reducing weight by removing material where possible.

The making of the Femur stool relied on the same work process as designing cars, parts of cars, parts of aeroplanes, trains and other industrial objects. As the artist explains: “In this project we used a new algorithm that removes any redundant material according to stress zones on the object’s surface. An optimisation of the exterior and material use was made to achieve a light and economical form.” What is unusual for the arts, has become widespread practice in industry, where saving time for production, weight and material means saving money and energy.

Less is more – Learning from Nature

The stool elegantly demonstrates Altair’s capabilities in the field of lightweight design, optimisation and additive layer manufacturing. The name Femur stool indicates that like the human pelvis and femur, this piece of art follows the human bone structure. Meaning, this shaping is driven by the mathematical intelligence of human bone formation. Bionics, i.e. analogies from nature, is much acclaimed in the car manufacturing industry for mimicking human nature, as it helps to reduce the drag coefficient. The difference with Altair’s software OptiStruct is that it does not simply copy nature as a static process. Rather, the company meticulously collects data, be it from the human ossification, from the structure of cobwebs, leaves or trees. This data allows fast and detailed calculations for industrial constructions, resulting in significantly reduced weight and a simultaneously increased lifespan..

For the artist, the looks of an object and perhaps its lifespan are of paramount importance, industry is keen on reducing weight, saving energy and improving the entire lifecycle. Drastic reductions in the CO2 emissions from passenger cars have been ordained by the European Commission and due to the global climate protection agreement of Kyoto will also be introduced worldwide sooner of later. The OEMs are therefore under enormous pressure to reach these goals. In Europe the fleet average to be achieved by all new cars is 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g/km) by 2015 and the hotly debated 95g/km

CO2 curse of modern times

Curse of modern times: CO2

by 2020. The 2015 and 2020 targets represent reductions of 18% and 40% respectively compared with the 2007 fleet average of 158.7g/km. These goals are not only extremely ambitious, they are highly unrealistic, a typical example of the green ivory tower of the EU.

Weightwatching is the Watchword

The experts all agree that there is still enormous potential for improvements and increased efficiency regarding vehicles with combustion engines. No stone is left unturned on the search for greater efficiency. Apart from building ever more efficient engines and recuperating energy while driving, one of the most important aspects is saving weight. Each gram gained translates directly into less CO2 per kilometre. Rule of thumb: On an average, 100 kilograms less weight lead to about half a litre of fuel saved.

Holistic design of a vehicle concept with OptiStruct.

Holistic design of a vehicle concept with OptiStruct.

Slimline is beautiful” could be the motto for the car industry. And this does not only imply using lighter materials in the intelligent material mix. The secret lies in an efficient change of shape, in other words in innovative lightweight construction. Altair is certainly a leading global provider of technology that strengthens client innovation. It therefore comes as little surprise that in the automotive sphere all the OEMs, be it Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dallara, Daimler, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, GM, Honda, HWA, Hyundai, McLaren, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Tata, Tesla, Volvo or VW, plus the suppliers all use Altair software one way or another to make their products more efficient. With over 3,000 clients, Altair serves the automotive, aerospace, government and defense, heavy equipment industry sectors as well as the consumer products, ship building, energy, electronics, life sciences, and architectural engineering and construction markets.

Time is money 

Efficiency in the workflow and designing process is crucial in a cost-intensive production industry. This is why Altair wants to revolutionise the whole process. In the automotive industry, the established development process puts priority on the fulfilment of functional targets such as crash safety, fatigue as well as comfort and noise. As a result, weight

Single item designed by OptiStruct: Steps towards optimised VW engine mount for dynamo, A/C compressor and control pump.

Single item designed by OptiStruct: Steps towards optimised VW engine mount for dynamo, A/C compressor and control pump.

targets are frequently not fulfilled early in the development process, which leads to late weight firefighting and often unfavourable compromises between weight and functional targets. The introduction of numerical optimisation methods has improved the possibility to find better compromises. Still, as long as the usage of numerical optimisation is focused on component based, on-demand firefighting, large weight saving potential is left unused. It must be a goal in vehicle development to better utilise the potential that numerical optimization methods provide to help saving mass. The Altair engineers will not grow tired

McLaren takes advantage of Altair' advanced material modelling for its Formular 1 racing-car.

McLaren takes advantage of Altair’s advanced material modelling for its Formular 1 racing-car.

of emphasising how important it is to approach lightweight construction holistically. “We want to give the designer a tool with which he can come up with better solutions right from the beginning.” This means the designer will no longer start with the “white sheet” in front of him.

The old time-consuming and expensive approach.

The old time-consuming and expensive approach.

Thanks to frequently repeatable and fast simulation he can fall back on design suggestions which deliver the most efficient structures within any given framework, before he gets down to work. Real tests become replaced by virtual tests. And ideally, the Altair engineers use their methods and programmes for optimisation to collaborate with the respective OEM from the very outset. As in the case of Opel where the optimisation process concerns the development process of a passenger car.

Simulation – Inspiration – Innovation

Ideally, the Altair team would suggest using design optimisation techniques on every single component in a product, in order to ensure the entire structure is as lightweight as possible. In reality however, this is rarely possible as development schedules need to be

Optimised wheel suspension at the racing-car builder Dallara. (photo: Dallara.)

Optimised wheel suspension at the racing-car builder Dallara. (photo: Dallara.)

met with a limited amount of resources. So when faced with an existing design and often hundreds of components that could potentially be optimised, the challenge is to find out which ones could yield the biggest weight savings. The answer is to screen a product’s components during the early stage of the development process. The screening process helps to answer several vital questions when assessing where to focus time and energy such as:

  • Which steps are necessary to enhance the product?
  • What does this mean economically?
  • How large is the economic and technical potential of an optimisation project?
  • How much will it cost and how much effort will be required for an optimisation project compared to its benefit?
  • What are the consequence-, synergy- or interdependency-effects which may come up during the optimisation project?
  • What are convenient or realistic development targets?
The Altair vision ... massive weight reduction through CAE by means of cloud computing coupled with high-performance computing.

The Altair vision … massive weight reduction through CAE by means of cloud computing coupled with high-performance computing.

Be it on isolated issues such as weight reduction of an aluminium frame at Ferrari, the concept design of a cross car beam at Fiat Group, or a more comprehensive approach, as in the case of Porsche, with virtual vehicle development under the constraints of changing products and processes – Altair HyperWorks, OptiStruct, HyperStudy, HyperMesh and all the sub-programmes will help to produce viable solutions fast. Thus,

The Altair Way: Revolution of the design process as simulation-driven innovation.

The Altair Way: Revolution of the design process as simulation-driven innovation.

Daimler uses HyperMesh for Brake Disc Morphing and to check the durability of the Brake System in specific cars. OptiStruct comes in for multibody dynamic simulation, because it is all about how to best shape the brake discs in order to avoid brake noise and vibration issues. Many more examples can be given from the car industry.

In essence, Jim Scapa and his company focus on two main areas. In the analytics realm it is advanced material modeling, including composites, in business analytics it is solutions provided to analyse massive amounts of data for rapid descision-making.   

Is Sebastian Vettel's "Hungry Heidi" partly designed with the help of Altair software? Most of the time this remains a secret. Not so in the case of the F 1 Sauber Team which does cooperate with Altair Germany.

Sebastian Vettel’s “Hungry Heidi” was constructed without the aid of Altair. But as costs for Formula 1 continue to be cut who knows what the future will bring.

Susanne Roeder


And here is a printed version in German:

Altair: Not a Heavy Metal fan...

Altair: Not a Heavy Metal fan…


Alternatives to Heavy Metal - by Altair

Alternatives to Heavy Metal – by Altair