Società Gomma Antivibrante SRL (S.G.A.) is a leading manufacturer of anti-vibration components, including pivots (flexible joints), resilient inserts, bushings, bumpers, guiding components, and suspensions. Because the company’s products are found worldwide in railway, tram, and subway cars that carry passengers, safety is a priority at S.G.A.
The behavior and vibration-damping characteristics of the rubber and elastomers used in S.G.A.’s wide range of products are thoroughly analyzed by S.G.A. engineers. Explains Quality System/Test Laboratory Manager Stefano Meli, “Analysis and definition of the overall product dimensions/footprint and laboratory development of the related load-failure diagrams, and subsequent prototype testing, are the most challenging portions of our product development process.”
To accelerate time to market, S.G.A. needed an accurate, efficient solution for conducting nonlinear large displacement analyses, in addition to other types of sophisticated simulations.
Robust and Integrated FEA
S.G.A. was attracted by SOLIDWORKS® 3D product development solutions to leverage the robust and integrated SIMULIAworks FEA simulation capabilities. The nonlinear FEA application, SIMULIAworks, incorporates the SIMULIA Abaqus solver, which was able to accurately solve S.G.A.’s advanced analysis problems and supports multistep/multiphysics simulation scenarios.
“While we evaluated other FEA systems, we chose SIMULIAworks because it was the only product that delivered results comparable to those achieved through traditional prototyping techniques,” says Technical Manager Davide Massa. “We also value the ability to change the subject geometry inside SOLIDWORKS without having to apply the modifications in SIMULIAworks or create a new mesh for running subsequent analyses.”
Reduce Prototypes and Lead Times
S.G.A. used SIMULIAworks to save time and money by minimizing the number of prototypes required to define the elastic properties of the elastomers used in the silent block on the connector arm bushing of the railway carriage for the Hitachi Caravaggio train car.
“The biggest savings we’ve experienced using SIMULIAworks derive from the reduction in lead time between product design and final configuration and from the reduction in costs related to changes to production and control equipment,” Meli stresses. “Because SIMULIAworks enables us to eliminate and/or minimize the number of prototypes required to achieve final product performance, it helps us to reduce lead time from design to final production as well as reduce both prototyping and fine-tuning costs.”
Complex Simulations with Accurate Results
The majority of simulation scenarios encountered when developing anti-vibration systems involve large displacement analysis, but S.G.A. engineers also use SIMULIAworks to achieve accurate results for many other challenging nonlinear, large displacement analysis problems.
The toughest issues involve the simulation of shrinkage/stress due to thermal variations and pre-compression due to steel plasticization. “With SIMULIAworks, it is very easy to achieve results in line with the real results of a project that we had already finalized,” Massa adds. “In other words, we demonstrated the accuracy of the simulation results by validating an existing project with SIMULIAworks.”
“SIMULIAworks gives us the full range of tools that we need to ensure that our products provide safe, reliable performance,” Meli says. “We also value the ability to conduct multistep/multiphysics simulations, such as performing thermal and mechanical analysis within the same project without having to duplicate geometry changes or create a new mesh due to the full integration between the SOLIDWORKS portfolio and SIMULIAworks.”