StreetScooter 客户案例

StreetScooter 客户案例

它是电气化的,很复杂,并且用电推动

Achim Kampker就像汽车产品开发过程需要变得更复杂一样,现在又加入了“电动性”因素。

StreetScooter 是一款快速成型的革命性的电动汽车,它不只是将新的技术变革带入到电动概念中那么简单,因为它的设计方案通过众包模式产生,混合了将近 30 家协作性供应商的专业知识和创新能力。

如果要问汽车业的高管们为什么夜不能寐,那么,听到下面这句简短但非常有说服力的回答应该不足为奇:

“因为复杂。”

实质上,当汽车 OEM 和供应商的决策者在几年前接受调查时,他们正是这样对德国亚琛市 RWTH 大学的研究者们说的。调查结果发表在 2007 年“Managing Complexity in Automotive Engineering”(管理汽车工程的复杂性)报告中。报告的执行摘要是这样表述的:“在变型管理、技术管理和流程管理领域,卓越的复杂性管理是确保 OEM 和一级供应商持续获得成功的关键因素。”

按照此研究的说法,品种管理是指与不断扩大的产品线、更快速的型号变化和更多的地区特定车型保持同步的竞争性需求。同样快速增加的是汽车的技术复杂性。德国亚琛工业大学的教授,同时也是“管理复杂性”研究的主要作者 Guenther Schuh 说道:“如今的汽车既是机械设计的结果,同样也是电子和软件工程的产物。所有这三个技术方面必须高效集成在一起。”

面对如此迅速的变型和技术变化,汽车生产商的开发过程(包括公司内部的以及 OEM 和供应商的)所承受的压力同样大大增加。不过,可能让人有些惊讶的是,汽车业的领先者还在继续加大他们在产品生命周期管理 (PLM) 解决方案上的投资。

“实际上,PLM 对复杂性管理来说是一项关键的使能技术。”Schuh 如是说。确凿证据:德国亚琛工业大学争取到了全球 PLM 软件提供商 PTC 的帮助,由后者在“管理复杂性”调查方面提供建议。

“而现在,”Schuh 补充道,“就像汽车开发过程需要变得更复杂一样,汽车生产商也可以将‘电动性’加入其中。”


供应商推动的开发

世界各国正在竞相促使大批可负担、易使用的电动汽车上路行驶,而那些依赖汽车工业的国家/地区更是不甘在这场竞赛中落于人后。而且,在这一点上德国可能比任何其他一个国家都更具紧迫感,因为其超过 20% 的 GDP 可直接追溯到汽车的开发、生产和供应业务。

“这并非只是希望获得环保型汽车和减少对矿物燃料的依赖,”另一位德国亚琛工业大学教授 Achim Kampker 说道,“这是纯经济利益问题。我们将来的繁荣将取决于电动汽车。”

Kampker 教授继续说道:“随着交通动力逐渐从内燃能转变为电能,德国的汽车生产商和供应商有责任在竞争中保持领先。这关系到数百万个汽车业的工作机会。”

电动性不仅增加了汽车品种和技术复杂性,而且还表现出从根本上转变汽车生产流程的可能性。对现在成型的新款电动汽车而言,传统的分层方法(即 OEM 定义概念,指定项目,然后监察分配给供应商的工作)已让位于一种新模式,此模式称之为众包开发可能最为贴切。

Kampker 教授解释道:“推动汽车设计和生产的是供应商自己。他们就像一个虚拟企业中的同事一样开展协作。”

此概念的实验室就是 StreetScooter,它是由 RWTH 亚琛工业大学领导的一个大胆创新的电动汽车计划。从一开始,19 家位于德国的汽车供应商就已成为此项目的利益相关者 - 其中有 10 家在一家合资企业中结为单一利益相关体。后来,另外十家供应商通过签署协议结成战略性合作伙伴,并且出借各自的专业技术。整个团队使用 PTC 的 PLM 工具管理此项目。

为了协调各供应商的汽车开发工作,德国亚琛工业大学成立了一个名为 StreetScooter GmbH 的商业实体。Kampker 教授是该公司的 CEO。他说:“StreetScooter 的出发点完全是为了彻底革新电动汽车及其开发。”


前所未有的概念

StreetScooter 项目的目标是打造适合城市交通的电动汽车系列,而且,这些电动汽车可以通过供应链合作伙伴组成的网络进行有效的生产,而无需来自政府的持续资助。

“虽然德国政府指令对我们的项目一直有很大的影响,”Kampker 教授说道,“但政府并未直接参与进来。国家电动汽车发展计划的目标是,到这个十年结束时,在德国实现 100 万辆电动汽车上路。我们希望帮助国家实现这一目标。”

StreetScooter 是一个区域性计划,主要关注德国和周边的中欧国家。此项目的合作伙伴大多是 SMB(中小型企业),而不是 OEM 或大型供应商。Kampker 教授表示:“这与德国工业以往依赖于小型家族企业的传统相契合。”

因此,StreetScooter 将新兴力量推到电动汽车开发的第一线;它还带来了全新的电动汽车战略。正如 Kampker 教授指出的,迄今为止,已提供电动汽车的大型汽车生产商专注于修改传统的内燃机汽车的设计方案。他指出:“问题在于,将这些汽车转换为电气传动的成本很高,每辆车大约为 10,000 欧元,大多数消费者无法接受。”

此外,这些早期电动汽车的行驶性能和乘客舒适感仍然有所欠缺。仅仅是空调就给汽车的电池带来了沉重的附加负荷。

“显然,我们需要前所未有的全新电动汽车概念。”Schuh 教授说道,“但是,我们迄今看到的许多概念电动汽车都侧重于极端的驾驶性能或怪异的设计。它们忽略了大众市场汽车的基本要求。”

StreetScooter 并非如此。它的开发团队正努力开发一款经济实惠的电动汽车,能够在性能、舒适感、安全性和可靠性上全面与传统的小型车竞争,并且可以在流水线上生产出来,还能带来利润。

StreetScooter 的模块化产品体系结构是此概念可行的关键。借助模块之间的接口,供应商可以不断利用其专业领域中的最新创新成果来增强汽车的设计。他们以搭积木的方式添加功能。

通过这种“学习方法”,Professor Schuh 称,StreetScooter 团队“不仅可以利用最新的技术,而且还可以发现如何更好地集成这些技术。”他补充道:“这种学习是以一种动态、跨学科的方式不断累积。我们会测试各种新的协作形式,并为汽车开发设立新的标准。”


产品和流程集成

此项目早期的发展势头似乎印证了这一独特开发模式的价值。StreetScooter 按计划将在 2011 年 9 月的德国法兰克福国际车展 (IAA) 上首次展出第一台功能样车。到当年底,另外十台样车也将在德国上路行驶。

不过,虽然 StreetScooter 计划证明了它前途光明,但作为其核心的大范围的供应商协作同样给开发过程增加了新的复杂性。Kampker 教授说:“要说区别的话,那就是有效的 PLM 对于我们的成功更为重要了。”

行业领先的 PTC Windchill 软件提供了所需的 PLM 资源,用以协调和简化 StreetScooter 各参与者的工作。

为了部署此 PLM 平台,德国亚琛工业大学与 PTC Automotive Center of Excellence 的顾问(隶属于该公司的 iCenter 支持团队)合作,双方共同探索汽车的使用情形,并为 StreetScooter 的设计构建基本的数据模型。这项工作涉及到应用和修改现成的汽车数据结构。最终,从内到外,StreetScooter 概念的完整数字原型车得以诞生,包括了汽车的发动机、动力传动系、悬架和轮胎。

StreetScooter 团队使用基于 PTC Windchill 技术的 PLM 平台来定义和跟踪供应商在设计项目中的访问权限和角色。PLM 应用程序以 BOM 和更改管理为中心。在出现更改请求时,所有相关人士都能够立即了解设计方案可能会受到的影响。一个领域的创新能立即关联到其他领域。供应商可使用 PTC Creo View MCAD 软件查看这些影响。

PTC Windchill 平台负责处理所有产品数据,而不管供应商使用哪一种 CAD 软件。“它是真正的多 CAD 数据管理环境。”Kampker 教授说道,“这可以让我们打破机械、电子和软件设计之间的信息孤岛。我们可以顺利地整合这三个专业领域,从而开发出完整的汽车设计方案。”

StreetScooter 开发团队想更进一步,希望 PLM 能够帮助他们更紧密地集成产品设计和产品决策过程。对汽车业而言,这将创造出大量新的可能性。

Kampker 教授解释道:“传统上,汽车业的许多设计决策一直建立在批量化的基础上。这就是说,只有达到了特定的产量水平,才能应用某些技术。但 PLM 允许我们研究每一种备选方案。”

为了证明,Kampker 教授举出了以下例子:“我们使用 PLM 工具帮助证明我们使用管架框架是合适的。与传统的冲压件和模制件相比,这些元件的生产成本更低。不过,直到现在,这项技术似乎仅限用于生产小批量的摩托车。”

对 StreetScooter 产生的影响:“使用管架将帮助我们将汽车售价保持在可负担的水平。”Kampker 教授表示。

与别不同的开发模式

从几乎所有角度(产品、生产和流程)来看,StreetScooter 都体现了与别不同的全新汽车开发模式。它的协作范围异乎寻常的大,从而带来了特别高的复杂性。不过,参与此项目的合作伙伴似乎很有把握克服这个挑战。信心来自他们巧妙地使用 PLM。

Kampker 教授对此总结道:“我们建立了设计和流程智能的基础,这对我们项目的长期成功很重要。PLM 为所有合力将 StreetScooter 变为现实的人员提供了知识库,即单一的数据来源。”

Achim KampkerAs if the automotive product development process needed to get any more complex, now add the "electromobility" factor.

StreetScooter – a revolutionary electric vehicle rapidly taking shape – not only puts a new technological charge into the electromobility concept, its crowdsourced design blends the expertise and innovations of nearly 30 collaborating suppliers.

Ask automotive executives what keeps them up at night and you shouldn't be surprised to hear this brief, but very telling reply:

"It's complicated."

That, in essence, is what decision-makers from automotive OEMs and suppliers told researchers at RWTH University in Aachen, Germany when surveyed a few years ago. Findings were published in the 2007 report "Managing Complexity in Automotive Engineering." The executive summary puts it this way: "Superior complexity management in the disciplines of variety management, technology management, and process management is a key to ensure sustained success for OEMs and tier-one suppliers."

Per the study, variety management refers to the competitive demand to keep up with ever-expanding product lines, faster model changes, and more vehicle variations by region. Growing just as quickly is the technological complexity of the cars. "The automobile today," says RWTH Aachen Professor Guenther Schuh, a lead author of the "Managing Complexity" study, "is as much the result of electronic and software engineering as it is a mechanical design. All three areas of technology must be efficiently integrated."

In the face of such rapid varietal and technological change, the stresses on automakers" development processes – both within companies and among OEMs and suppliers – have similarly multiplied. It can be little surprise, then, that the automotive industry's leaders continue to up their investments in product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions.

"PLM is, in fact, a critical enabling technology for complexity management," says Professor Schuh. The sure evidence: RWTH Aachen enlisted PTC, the global provider of PLM software, to advise on the "Managing Complexity" survey.

"And now," Professor Schuh adds, "as if the vehicle development process needed to get any more complicated, automakers can toss 'electromobility' into the mix."


Supplier-driven development

In the race to bring fleets of affordable, consumer-friendly electric cars to the world's roads, no automotive industry-dependent country wants to fall behind. And perhaps no single nation feels this urgency more than Germany, where over 20% of GDP directly traces to automobile development, production, and supply.

"It is not just the desire to have environmentally friendly cars and reduce dependency on fossil fuels," says Professor Achim Kampker, also of RWTH Aachen. "It is a matter of pure economic interest. Our future prosperity will depend upon electric vehicles."

Professor Kampker continues: "As transportation power increasingly shifts from internal combustion to electricity, it will be incumbent upon German automakers and suppliers to stay ahead competitively. There are literally millions of automotive jobs at stake here."

Electromobility not only adds to vehicle variety and technological complexity, it also shows the potential to transform automaking processes fundamentally. For a new electric car now taking shape, the traditional hierarchical approach – in which the OEM defines the concept, specifies the project, and oversees the work assigned to suppliers – has given way to what may best be described as a crowd-sourced development.

Professor Kampker explains, "It is the suppliers themselves who are driving the vehicle's design and production. They are collaborating as peers in a virtual enterprise."

The experimental laboratory for this concept is StreetScooter, a bold new EV initiative led by RWTH Aachen. From the start, 19 Germany-based automotive suppliers have been stockholders in the project –10 of them combined as a single stockholder in a joint venture. Ten other suppliers have since signed on as strategic partners, lending their own specialized expertise. The team manages the project using PLM tools from PTC.

A commercial entity, StreetScooter GmbH, has been formed to coordinate the suppliers' work on the vehicle. Professor Kampker is the company's CEO. He says, "StreetScooter sets out for nothing less than to revolutionize the electric car and its development."


Clean-sheet concepts

The StreetScooter project's goal is to create a family of electric vehicles for urban traffic that can be effectively produced by a network of supplychain partners without the need for sustained government funding.

"The German government is not directly involved," Professor Kampker says, "though our project has been highly influenced by government direction. The National Development Plan for Electromobility aims to put one million electric vehicles on Germany's roads by the end of this decade. It is a goal we hope to help the country meet."

StreetScooter is a regional initiative, mainly focused in Germany and surrounding Central European nations. The project's partners are mostly SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses), rather than OEMs or major suppliers. "This," says Professor Kampker, "is in keeping with German industry's historical reliance on small family-owned enterprises."

StreetScooter thus brings new forces to the front lines of EV development; it also offers a fresh EV strategy. As Professor Kampker notes, major automakers already offering electric cars have to date focused on adapting the designs of conventional combustion-engine vehicles. "The problem," he says, "is that converting these vehicles to electric drive trains has demanded cost premiums unacceptably high to most consumers – about €10,000 per car."

Plus, driving performance and passenger comfort remain compromised in these early EVs. Air conditioning alone places heavy additional load on the cars' batteries.

"New clean-sheet electromobility concepts are clearly required," says Professor Schuh. "But many of the concept EVs we have seen to date focus on extreme driving performance or eccentric designs. They have ignored the basic requirements for a mass-market car."

Not so with StreetScooter. Its development team seeks to introduce an affordable electric vehicle that can compete with conventional compact cars in every area of performance, comfort, safety, and reliability – and that can be serially produced at a profit.

StreetScooter's modular product architecture is key to making the concept work. Interfaces between modules let suppliers continually enhance the car's design with the newest innovations in their areas of specialty. They add features in building-block style.

Through this "learning approach," says Professor Schuh, the StreetScooter team "not only leverages the latest technologies, but also discovers how to better integrate them." He adds, "Learning builds upon learning in a dynamic, interdisciplinary way. We are testing new forms of collaboration and setting new standards for automotive development."


Product & process integration

The project's early momentum appears to bear out the value of this distinctive development style. StreetScooter is on target to unveil its first functional prototype at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany in September 2011. Ten more prototype vehicles should be on German roads by the year's end.

Yet, as promising as the StreetScooter initiative is proving to be, the widereaching supplier collaboration at its heart has added new complexity to the development process. "If anything," says Professor Kampker, "effective PLM is even more central to our success."

Industry-leading Windchill software provides the PLM resources for coordinating and streamlining the work of the StreetScooter's contributors.

To put the PLM platform in place, RWTH Aachen worked with consultants in PTC's Automotive Center of Excellence – part of the company's iCenter support team– to explore use cases for the vehicle and build the basic data model for the StreetScooter's design. This involved applying and adapting out-of-the-box vehicle data structures. What has resulted is a complete digital prototype of the StreetScooter concept, from interior to exterior and including the car's engine, powertrain, suspension, and tires.

The StreetScooter team uses a PLM platform powered by PTC Windchill technology to define and keep track of suppliers' access rights and roles in the design project. PLM applications center on BOM and change management. When there is a change request, all involved can immediately see the impact, wherever it is felt in the design. Innovations in one area instantly relate to others. Suppliers use Creo View MCAD software to visualize these effects.

The Windchill platform handles all product data, regardless of what CAD software the suppliers use. "It is a true multi-CAD data management environment," says Professor Kampker. "This lets us break down the silos between mechanical, electronic, and software designs. We are developing the full vehicle with smooth integration of all three disciplines."

Perhaps even more ambitiously, the StreetScooter development team has looked to PLM to help tighten their integration of product design and production decisions. This is creating significant new possibilities for the vehicle.

Professor Kampker explains: "Traditionally, many automotive designdecisions have been based on batch sizes. That is, some technologies could apply only if particular levels of production quantity were reached. But PLM lets us explore every alternative."

As evidence, Professor Kampker cites this example: "We are using the PLM tools to help prove out our use of tubular space-frame components. These are less expensive to produce than traditional stamped and molded parts. However, until now, the technology seemed limited to small-batch motorcycle manufacturing."

The impact on StreetScooter: "Using space-frames should help us keep the car's price affordable," says Professor Kampker.

A development like no other

From practically every perspective – product, production, and process – StreetScooter is a new vehicle development like no other. Its exceptionally wide field of collaboration brings an especially high level of complexity. Yet the contributing partners seem more than up to the challenge. Confidence stems from their smart use of PLM.

Professor Kampker sums it up: "We have built the foundation of design and process intelligence essential to our project's long-term success. PLM provides the knowledge base – a single source of truth – for all who share in bringing the StreetScooter vision to life."