— Shrikant Marathe, Director, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)
Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) is an automotive research body operating under the Ministry of Industries, Government of India. It has been playing a crucial role in assuring safe, efficient and clean vehicles, and provides technical expertise in R&D, testing, certification, homologation and framing of vehicle regulations. Excerpts from an interview to Huned Contractor.
Can you cite one of the latest developments at the ARAI?
The latest development at ARAI is the Multi-Axis Shaker Table (MAST) hexapod configuration. Many vehicle systems and components experience complex in-service loading conditions, which makes it difficult for a validation engineer to design an equivalent block cycle or constant amplitude durability test. A need has been felt to use multi-axis test rigs for replication of in-service loads. At the same time many durability test conditions are well-simulated using real-time multi-axis simulation. Considering this need of the industry, the Structural Dynamics Lab (SDL) of the ARAI has made available various dedicated test simulator rigs. It has also added a six-degree-of-freedom Multi-Axis Shaker Table (MAST) in hexapod configuration. This dynamic simulation table comprises a platform that can be programmed for position and acceleration control. Road load data can also be simulated using dedicated real-time simulation software. MAST can be typically used for validation of components like seat, cabin, chassis-attached components like battery and spare wheels, engine mounts, and electronics or instrument panels (IP). The facility is backed with the existing expertise of SDL in the area of road load data acquisition and analysis, laboratory simulation, fatigue life analysis, accelerated durability testing program, etc. The MAST system is one of the best methods of quickly conducting durability tests of vehicle components and sub-systems. The target data required for this system can easily be measured using traditional road load data acquisition on the component, or adjacent to the component, on the proving ground or road. The instrumented component or sub-assembly is then mounted on the table and simulated to achieve the target data measured in multi-directions.
What is the update about your Centre of Excellence for Automotive Tyres and Wheels?
ARAI has a long-term vision to establish this centre, which will offer under a single roof not only homologation services but also cater to the research and development requirements of the automotive and tyre industry, providing turnkey solutions for tyre-road-vehicle interaction dynamics, performance testing and tyre technologies that can be adapted to Indian environment, road conditions and safety. A lot of new R&D initiatives have already been taken by the ARAI in this area for various customers from the automotive and tyre industry. This includes tyre characterisation in terms of longitudinal dynamics and lateral dynamics. We are also studying the effect of tyre design on the handling characteristics of vehicles. One such study is the evaluation of friction potential of tyre for a 25-tonne 6×2 truck that includes longitudinal dynamics’ characterisation, panic braking carried out at different speeds, and post processing and analysis to determine friction potential. We are also studying different tyre models from point contact, brush contact to advanced flexible tyre models such as F-tyre. Use of digitalised 3D road profile data is being done for tyre-road interaction analysis.
What about the forging laboratory?
Utilising reliable computer simulation tools, it is possible to optimise the complete forging process and billet dimensions with minimum, or no shop floor trials. This saves considerable time, efforts and cost. Similarly forging process simulation tools can help optimise the existing forging processes to increase the yield, make it more energy efficient and eliminate defects. The ARAI facility at Chakan has one such reliable software, Forge2011, with dedicated workstations and 16 core cluster computing infrastructure along with other modelling and pre/post processing software tools like Unigraphics, Pro-Engineer, Autodesk Inventor, Hyper Works, UGNX – Nastran coupled with experienced and trained manpower. The objectives of this facility include benchmarking of various forged components and carrying out forging at different temperatures for seven hot forging materials and also heat treatment of samples and comparison of properties of materials with respect to temperature and with or without heat treatment. The materials under study include 38MnVS6, 42CrMO4, Al6061, AISI1040, 40Cr4, 38MnS6 and UNS C37700.
Which are the forthcoming events that ARAI will be a part of?
ARAI had participated Telematics India & South Asia 2014 held in May 2014. This event was uniquely positioned to align the interest of the international telematics audience with the indigenous marketplace. This event offered local companies the ability to scope out business opportunities with pioneers and decision-makers in automotive and telematics industries at a local, regional and global level. The importance of this event can be gauged from the fact that telematics transforms logistics because it offers owners of large and small fleets the services of vehicle tracking and fuel savings. The event also brought into focus the connectivity landscape in India to align services, e.g., provide those requiring low-level bandwidth in areas covered only by 2G, and data intensive mapping apps in those with higher bandwidth to align services accordingly. Another significant event is the Commercial Vehicles Supertrends. Held in June 2014, this event will bring together decision-makers from the manufacturing and distributing companies and international parts and services suppliers. Designed by industry leaders, the event aims to tackle key issues faced by the Indian commercial vehicles industry, including the current Indian market scenario, which recently saw a vehicle sales downtrend. It will throw light on how the market has since seen an unprecedented surge in interest by a large number of international manufacturers eyeing the Indian commercial vehicles market. As the world’s third-largest truck and bus market, India is increasingly becoming a hot spot with growth opportunities for some of the biggest global commercial vehicles manufacturers. June 2014 will also have ARAI participating in the Automotive Testing Expo, Germany. It is a leading international testing, validation, simulation, modelling and quality engineering exposition for every aspect of vehicle, motorcycle and components testing, validation, reliability assessment, quality evaluation and related data capture and analysis. The latest technologies and new iterations of existing technologies.
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