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VISTAGY Inc., a leading provider of industry-specific engineering software and services, on August 6 announced that ING Renault F1 Team was able to reduce the time it took to design and manufacture a composite diffuser for its R29 race car from 12 weeks to six weeks using FiberSIM composites software as part of the project. As a result, ING Renault Team was able to get the new diffuser on the track two races sooner than would have been possible without FiberSIM, dramatically enhancing its race competitiveness.
The so-called “double diffuser” was used to great effect by the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams teams in the first two rounds of the 2009 Formula One season. However, ambiguity in the regulations meant many teams felt the double diffuser was not permissible under the 2009 regulations. Renault F1 was one of four teams to appeal its use, an appeal that was denied by the governing Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
Like many other teams, Renault F1 Team had been working on its own version of the large “double diffuser” floor, which smoothly channels air under and out of the back of the car, increasing downforce, lateral grip and overall performance. Once the FIA issued the ruling allowing the use of the new diffuser, FiberSIM helped Renault F1 Team quickly implement it.
ING Renault F1 Team has used FiberSIM for the last seven seasons to design and manufacture all composite parts, including the chassis, gearbox, floor, side pods and wing main planes. The team reported time-savings of 20-30 percent for the gearbox on the R29, but the 50 percent reduction in time it took to design and manufacture the diffuser, which was comprised of over 100 plies of carbon fiber, set a new standard for efficiently developing composite parts at ING Renault F1 Team.
“We worked with an outside supplier and asked if they’d like electronic templates generated by FiberSIM for manufacturing the diffuser,” said Ian Goddard, senior CAE engineer for ING Renault F1 Team. “This provided the supplier with better accuracy than they were used to. In fact, the quality of manufacturing data was better than anything they’ve ever had.
“With ply books, we normally expect some ambiguity, but by using FiberSIM we are able to manufacture the car just as it is designed. That makes a big difference in the 16-week period leading up to the season, but it is even more critical during the season when a part needs to be produced and shipped in time for the next race, as was the case with the diffuser.”
The ING Renault F1 Team reported that the 50 percent savings experienced on the first double diffuser design, reducing the composite laminate design time from 12 days to six days, was bettered again on the next iteration. The subsequent double diffuser, an evolutionary design concept, took just three days compared to around nine days for previous developments.
“There’s a constant battle in F1 to find ways to design and manufacture parts better and faster,” said Mr. Goddard. “Our experience with FiberSIM on the development of the composite diffuser once again demonstrated just how critical it is to our efforts to meet our deadlines and put the best car possible on the starting grid.”
About ING Renault F1 Team
The Renault F1 Team was born in 2002 with a single purpose: winning the FIA Formula One World Championship with a 100 percent Renault car. Drawing on a heritage of motorsport innovation that stretches back to Renault’s first Formula 1 race in 1977, and includes six world constructors’ championships during the 1990s when Renault supplied V10 engines to front-running F1 competitors, the team steadily grew in competitiveness thanks to a blend of performance, reliability and technology reinforced by the engineering expertise of the Renault Group. The team reached the pinnacle of performance during the 2005 and 2006 seasons, winning the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in both seasons in an historic double-double achievement.
About VISTAGY Inc.
VISTAGY Inc. is a leading global provider of engineering software and consulting services that optimize product development processes by enhancing the functionality of commercial 3D CAD systems. For almost 20 years, VISTAGY has been a pioneer in providing industry-specific solutions that capture complete virtual product definitions and facilitate automatic reuse and efficient exchange of engineering information across the enterprise and supply chain. VISTAGY solutions help customers deliver robust products on time and on budget by increasing productivity, improving communication throughout the product lifecycle and enabling better-informed decision-making early in the design process. The company's customers include over 200 of the world's leading manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive, transportation interiors and wind energy industries.