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Pure power on two wheels - Motorcycle manufacturer uses Siemens PLM Software solution for product development
Minato/Tokyo, Japan. As well as gas turbines, ships and industrial plants, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KHI) also produces motorcycles. Among its most recent developments are the Ninja H2R, a racing bike designed exclusively for closed course riding, and the Ninja H2, its equivalent for use on public roads. The engineers faced a series of challenges, including the need to speed up advancement of the concept to the physical model stage. They also had to tackle ensuring an optimum ventilation flow to the engine and reducing the time and effort involved in setting up computational fluid dynamics (CFD), a simulation method used for airflow analysis to develop realistic models. This prompted the company to approach Siemens PLM Software. Using suitable software solutions, HKI succeeded cutting CFD time by 75 percent and improving air circulation by 40 percent while still satisfying design demands.
With over 320 horsepower (hp), the Ninja H2R can undoubtedly be classed a “monster machine”. While both pack a powerful punch, the racing and the road version are very low in weight. This combination meant that the engineering team working on the latest development from Kawasaki not only had to solve the issue of optimum engine cooling, but also faced the aerodynamic dilemma of potential front wheel lift as a result of enormous acceleration plus extreme low weight. These two issues emerged as focal CFD themes as the development progressed, and the complexity involved created something of a bottleneck. To advance the development process as quickly and reliably as possible, KHI decided to use Simcenter from Siemens PLM Software.
Optimum air flow
There are two kinds of motorcycles: those with and without cowling. Full cowling provides good air circulation at the front of the radiator, but wind ventilation is poor as the cowling stretches over the back of the radiator. A motor cycle without cowling provides excellent ventilation at the rear of the radiator, but has the drawback that no air flow can be collected at the front. In the development of the new Ninja bikes, the engineering team hoped to combine the benefits of both versions. To develop the design, KHI opted to use Simcenter STAR-CCM+ simulations to generate an air flow at the front while improving ventilation at the back. After working on the relevant simulations incorporating different cowling configurations, the CFD results showed an improvement in cross ventilation of around 40 percent.
Drastic reduction in processing times
A second challenge faced by the designers was to find a way of speeding up the time taken to progress ideas from the drawing board to the physical model stage. Before discovering the automated aerodynamic analysis macro (VSim) available in Simcenter STAR-CCM+ software, this implementation took round about one month, which has now been cut with VSim to just a week. This success is due to two features of the software: surface wrapping for CAD (computer-aided design), and Java macros for powerful automation. The VSim macro allowed all analysis settings and data to be entered in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software which was readable by Simcenter Star CCM+. The macro automated the entire process. Overall, by using suitable software solutions, KHI was able to cut the total time and effort required for CFD by 75 percent. “Compared to before, now we can simulate several dozen cases in reduced time,” says Manabu Morikawa, Head of Computational Analysis. “Thanks to this, the number of prototypes being turned out has also been reduced, making an extremely valuable contribution to lowering cost and man hours.”
Alongside gas turbines, ships and industrial plants, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KHI) based in Tokyo, Japan, also builds motorcycles.
Among its most recent developments are the Ninja H2R, a racing bike designed exclusively for closed course riding, and the Ninja H2, its equivalent for use on public roads.
HKI develops realistic models of its motorcycles using computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
To develop the design, KHI opted to use Simcenter STAR-CCM+ simulations from Siemens PLM Software to generate an air flow at the front while improving ventilation at the back.
By means of aerodynamic simulations, the engineers worked to prevent potential lift of the motorcycle’s front wheel despite enormous acceleration.
Using integrated design and development based on Siemens PLM Software solutions, KHI has tangibly improved its development turnaround and reduced its time to market.