The increasing demand for automotive fuel efficiency and mass reduction has resulted in increased use of alternative materials in the design of various components that have historically been produced using steel. Mass benchmarking often is done with a one-at-a-time approach. A reference vehicle is selected, the vehicle is disassembled, parts weighed and analyzed, and then the data used to set mass targets for a vehicle under design. However, a benchmarking study results, commissioned by WorldAutoSteel and the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) and conducted by EDAG Int’l, Inc., point to a powerful new statistics-based benchmarking methodology.
Rather than considering a single vehicle or a small set of vehicles, this study, based on statistical benchmarking methodology presented by Dr. Don Malen, University of Michigan, looks at a very large sample of vehicles over a range of sizes and segments. From this larger population, assumptions on mass drivers and their influence on real vehicles were tested via statistical methods. Using this methodology, an automotive designer can look at subsystems which are much lighter than the ‘average’ vehicle, and therefore set subsystem targets on a more accurate basis than that which is being accomplished in the industry today.
The findings of the study, which used the methodology to study automotive closures, were surprising and put single-point mass studies into context with the reality of what is achieved in current vehicles.
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