Materials Strategy Consortium welcomes TRW Automotive, views latest developments

Materials Strategy Consortium logoDetroit, MI—April 14, 2010 Members of the Materials Strategy Consortium and other manufacturing organizations met in Detroit earlier this month to review the latest developments in software for systematic materials selection, substitution, and cost optimization.

Appropriately, given the location in Motor City, TRW Automotive was welcomed as the latest member of the Consortium, and was joined in the open workshop by other automotive suppliers, OEMs and consultants. Manufacturers of consumer products, and industrial equipment and components and were also represented.

Discussion sessions included contributions from a number of companies outlining their use of Granta software. Access Business Group described their use of CES Selector to help guide materials selection for consumer products. Potential materials could be explored, candidate lists identified, and reports e-mailed to designers extremely quickly. TRW Automotive discussed their project, which is in the Occupant Safety Systems division.  Led by a six-sigma master black-belt, the project aims to develop a standardized process of materials data management and selection, across all of the division.

Granta provided previews, including software demonstrations, of the latest technology projects driven by the Consortium. These include:

  • Combined material and process cost modeling—the ability to use complex cost models in optimization exercises, considering process as well as cost implications, and geographic variations
  • Materials equivalence and substitution—a new capability, to be introduced in the upcoming GRANTA MI version 4.0, that identifies and ranks potential substitutes/equivalents to a material that is no longer available for selection. Typical reasons for substitution include cost, local availability, or the presence of restricted substances
  • Synthesis of hybrid/composite materials—another new capability, to be introduced in the CES Selector 2010 software, enables “gaps” in property space to be explored by synthesizing the properties of hybrid materials such as sandwich panels or cellular structures
  • Selection of coatings—few materials are used without a coating or surface treatment for cost, environmental, or performance considerations. Granta is partnering with Rowan Technology Group to create a database that will support the selection of coatings.

All of these examples show the extent to which the state- of- the-art in materials selection, substitution and cost optimization is becoming ever more sophisticated, and generated lively discussion at the meeting.