Southpointe, Pa. - ANSYS Inc., maker of simulation software and technologies designed to optimize product development processes, has announced that race car engineering specialist Pratt Miller used a combination of software from ANSYS and its partner Safe Technology Limited to redesign a cracked brake pedal face. The team used ANSYS engineering simulation products and fe-safe fatigue analysis technology to explore design alternatives and identify an optimal solution that strengthened the critical part without excessive weight or compromising on race performance. The open architecture of ANSYS technology easily combined with the advanced fatigue analysis capabilities of fe-safe software to make the analysis process seamless, enabling Pratt Miller to quickly identify an optimal redesign that met stringent fatigue life targets.
In world-class auto racing, mechanics often modify the car’s brake pedal face to comply with driver preference. Moving the pedal off center introduces a significant twisting moment — a situation that induces stresses and can lead to material fatigue. Pratt Miller Engineering, a force in motorsports and high-level engineering, discovered that one of its race cars prematurely showed small cracks on the brake pedal face starting near the pivot pin, a result of custom-positioning the pedal face further and further off center. “This critical component clearly needed to be redesigned. Simply over-engineering a part really is not an option in motorsports with weight such a vital consideration; we have to run very close to the limit on our parts because weight costs speed, lap times and ultimately the race. Simulation was key to the solution in this case," says Gary Latham, design office manager, Pratt Miller Engineering.
For the re-design, Pratt Miller’s goal was to greatly increase the component’s fatigue life without compromising on race performance. The team parameterized the pedal’s rib thickness and fillet size in a CAD package and compared the performance of various design alternatives in the ANSYS® Workbench£ environment. ANSYS software was instrumental in expediting design exploration, and it identified the lightest possible design without exceeding the material limits. Fatigue analysis with fe-safe clearly showed where the component needed to be strengthened. The fe-safe software also determined how much the stresses must be changed and how much material must be added — and where — to achieve the target design life of over 1 million cycles. The new design is now in production and back on the race track.
“A software platform that expedites in-depth design exploration of diverse and complex products is mandatory for today’s world of engineering design and development,” explains Sandeep Sovani, global automotive industry manager at ANSYS, Inc. “Customers bring a variety of point solutions to their overall development process. The ANSYS software architecture is intentionally adaptive, open and flexible, designed so it can interoperate within the broader engineering simulation ecosystem of CAD, PLM, in-house codes and other technologies. So ANSYS works with a number of partners, such as Safe Technology, to extend efficiency and functionality. Pratt Miller leveraged this seamless combination of multiple technologies to achieve a winning solution.”