Digital engineering is changing the way that we design and develop the mobility products of tomorrow. It is the practice of implementing digital tools and methodologies into the engineering workflow. Calibration projects, in particular, can benefit from this approach. Being able to run advanced simulations and optimise without the requirement for physical prototypes increase value to our customers by lowering development costs and reducing time to market.
We spoke to Alistair Peel, Calibrations Solutions Lead, about Ricardo’s Efficient Calibration to find out how it is being used within our workflows to benefit our customers.
Q. Can you sum up what Efficient Calibration is?
"Efficient Calibration is the collective term for the toolchain, processes, and methodologies that we use to develop calibration at Ricardo. It’s part of our virtual calibration approach where we use virtual system models and digital twins to deliver calibrations efficiently and effectively, without the need for many expensive prototypes.
Q. What are some of the benefits of using Efficient Calibration?
"The most clear benefit is that it makes the development process much more efficient, but without compromising on the quality of the finished product. Being able to use simulation results to develop calibrations before physical prototyping saves a lot of development time. The virtual environment enables the develop the calibration and offline setup of the physical testing process in a Software-in-the-Loop (SiL) or Model-in-the-Loop (MiL) environment. Multiple iterations can be carried out quicky and at low cost. It means that when it comes to working on a physical prototype, we can be confident that we can calibrate it in a shorter time with less prototypes than we could without this initial virtual engineering phase."
Q. The mobility sector is facing the prospect of meeting some tough sustainability targets over the coming years. Can Efficient Calibration help them to meet this challenge?
"Absolutely. One of the challenges of sustainable mobility is finding how to derive the right propulsion system to meet the objectives of the vehicle. Using virtual calibration methodologies allows us to simulate and test out different configurations in the digital world to find the optimal configuration to achieve the objectives of our clients.
"The fact that we can do this without the need for physical testing also reduces the environmental impact of the calibration process itself. The processes involved are greener because they are less energy- and resource-intensive."
Q. How does Efficient Calibration fit in with Ricardo’s wider testing and development capabilities?
"As we moved towards the implementation of digital engineering capability in our development processes, our facilities have evolved to adapt to these. For example, our Electrified Propulsion Research Centre (EPRC) has been designed to integrate seamlessly with the Ricardo’s digital analysis, simulation, and calibration accelerators so that vehicles can be developed holistically using fully optimised technology solutions."
Q. You mentioned that Efficient Calibration enables calibration without the need for a physical prototype. Is there a benefit to using both physical and digital methodologies in these development processes?
"Using both digital and physical prototypes gives us a more holistic and effective approach to testing and development. Development of a toolchain ahead of receiving hardware and software is a great benefit to OEMs. It means that that calibration is no longer on the critical path as hardware and software becomes available and the vehicle approaches production. When hardware does become available, then the work that’s been done ahead in the virtual phase means that there is more efficient use of development time to refine these calibrations.
"Taking the EPRC as an example. For us, the centre as the physical link in our virtual product development chain. The facility has the capability to integrate simulation models with physical hardware on the rig and can then output this data back into the virtual world, refining the digital models to optimise the calibration.
Q. Does that mean that there is a use for these digital twins for later development work?
"Yes, that’s right. It makes automated validation of new calibrations possible. If the OEM changes the vehicle characteristics – added a heavier battery pack, for example – then traditionally the calibration would need to be optimised from scratch for this new application. Using the virtual calibration toolchain, we can develop, optimise, and validate this new calibration in the digital space.
"Using our physical testing rig in the EPRC, we can send subset of the most challenging validation cycles which run automatically on the hardware. This confirms the suitability of the calibration for the new application. In some cases, this activity is automated and takes only minutes.
"Additionally, these processes can be initiated at any time, from any global location, enabling teams of engineers to work effectively across borders and time zones."
Q. Is Ricardo Efficient Calibration available for customers to use in their own projects?
"Yes, Ricardo Efficient Calibration toolchain and methodologies are part of our calibration offering. This is used to deliver turn-key calibration work packages and development of customised tools, delivering solutions which are tailored to maximise the efficiency of a customer’s individual workflow. If customers get in touch with us, then we can discuss their specific requirements."
Get in touch with Ricardo if you want to find out how your organisation can benefit from our Efficient Calibration tools and our other digital engineering solutions.