Düsseldorf, Germany – Covestro demonstrated its current developments in simulation technology at the K-2022 fair last week. The company hopes to meet the demands of automotive manufacturers and direct suppliers, who increasingly ask for digital verification for specific components, from instrument panels to interior trim. The focus is on simulation calculations that shorten development cycles, reduce complexity and costs, and mitigate risks.
Covestro has worked on the simulation of the PU foaming process and has developed material models and calculation methods for this purpose, as well as building up computing capacities. The intention is for simulation to replace the costly, and time consuming, ‘trial and error’ of preparing the manufacturing process.
For creating car interiors it isn’t just a question of simulating structure and form, but also creating a ‘digital twin’ of the possible manufacturing process. In this case the project participants are relying on the science of materials modelling to simulate the foaming process.
The application demonstrated at K-2022 showed how semi-rigid PU foams based on Bayfill are used in the production of an instrument panel.
‘Thanks to Covestro's digital twin for Bayfill foams, suppliers and automotive manufacturers receive detailed information about the processing behaviour of the material as early as the design phase, before real experiments or trials are necessary,’ said Dagmar Ulbrich, head of automotive systems R&D, Covestro. ‘This helps identify potential challenges early on, when product and tooling changes can still be made at low cost.’
PU foams can meet the requirements for instrument panels, and other interior parts, but the foam must be processed within a specific process window. Simulated foaming based on material models helps optimise the process window.