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Concurrent Engineering Blog

PTC and Dallara Automobile celebrate 15-year Technology Partnership in Building Winning Race Cars

Posted by Richard Strange on 26-Mar-2012 15:23:00

Maker of Formula Three, American Indy, GP2 and Le Mans race cars relies on PTC® Product Development System for innovative designs

PTC stated today that it is celebrating a 15-year technology partnership with Italian company Dallara Automobile, which for decades has specialised in racing car and super-car design and manufacturing.

A customer since 1993, Dallara has standardised on the PTC Product Develop System (PDS) to design its race cars.

Dallara designs cars for the Formula Three and the American Indy Racing League . In addition, Dallara products also include two-seater sports cars that run at the Le Mans 24 hrs in France and, since 2005, the GP2 series cars. One of the latest Dallara achievements is the Grand Am, a covered-wheel car prototype for the United States market.

Forty Dallara engineers use PTC Pro/ENGINEER® to design aerodynamic vehicles that can achieve maximum speed while also adhering to safety requirements.  The cutting-edge design method demonstrates the continued strength of PTC technology in the automotive industry, where Pro/ENGINEER provides a functionally complete, integrated 3D CAD/CAM solution. For Dallara, the integration of design is expanding into the product development information management area. For example, PTC’s Pro/INTRALINK data management software enables Dallara to make available its design information to other corporate areas beyond the traditional boundaries of the engineering department.

We have been using PTC Pro/ENGINEER since 1993 for the design of our cars,” says Luca Pignacca, chief design officer, Dallara Automobile. “We use Pro/ENGINEER for both the car structure and body. The entire design of a new car takes place in an integrated PTC environment that makes the most of parametric modeling, the available structural analysis, and its integration with other simulation software.”

The cornerstone of any new Dallara car is an idea and an outsourced power-train. The idea is built around this mechanical unit, with each functional detail and body part being developed afterwards.

Continues Pignacca, “Because every part of a racing car must be integrated in an aerodynamically-optimised unit, the parametric features of Pro/ENGINEER are key to the development of our designs. The wind tunnel is the first test of the design of each part, and the parametric feature of Pro/ENGINEER is used to replicate a key part in a substantial number of slightly different prototypes which then have to be physically manufactured and selected according to the results of the wind-tunnel test. The relation between the mathematical model of the part and all that stems from that – from the 2D table to the CAM tool process – is essential to optimise performance and meet a very tight schedule,” explained Pignacca.

The design-structural analysis method, implemented at Dallara for the development of racing cars, is also applied to its ‘super-cars’. As proof of the efficiency of Pro/ENGINEER in the production of such cars, Pignacca notes the recent KTM X-Bow project, which, starting from an Audi engine, turned into a car ready for the 2007 Geneva Car Show in just 10 months’ time, from April 2006 to February 2007.

For this kind of super-car, developed in cooperation with motorbike-specialist KTM, PTC Pro/ENGINEER delivered all the capabilities we needed,” explains Pignacca, “The powertrain was designed by Audi in the same CAD environment that we used to design the chassis and the body and this enabled us to be very efficient in the development of these new very special road cars, which have already a race version .”

PTC Solutions for Automotive

PTC solutions for automotive are designed to meet the product design and product life cycle management needs of both OEMs and suppliers in the automotive industry. PTC provides enterprise 3D design, product data management and collaboration solutions to over 1400 automotive manufacturers including eight of the top ten powertrain suppliers and three of the top five OEMs.