Fiat Selects aesthetica Software to Improve Perceived Quality in Auto Design

Fiat will use the product visualization software to help improve manufacturing variation analysis and reduce development costs through early identification and resolution of quality issues.

Automotive manufacturer Fiat has chosen to add the software product aesthetica, from UK-based Icona Solutions Ltd., to its design software portfolio. The global manufacturer plans to use aesthetica to improve the perceived quality of its vehicles.

This image shows aesthetica pointing out areas where perceived quality issues are most obvious. Bentley Motors is a long-time aesthetica user.

The software will be implemented in FIAT Group Automobile’s Elasis and Centro Ricerche Fiat units—the FIAT Group’s centers of expertise for innovation, research and development—where it will be used in perceived quality studies as early as the concept development stage of the vehicle design and development process. The plan is to identify and resolve issues of fit and finish quality when the cost of design changes is lower.

Typically, variation analysis is performed at a much later stage in the design process and is often too late to influence the design”, said Dr. Elena Bergadano, engineering quality and craftsmanship manager, FIAT Group Automobiles S.p.A. “However”, she added, “by using aesthetica we will be able to actually see the effect that manufacturing variation will have on perceived quality, exactly as the customer will see it. This will enable us to identify and resolve aesthetic problems at a much earlier stage than has ever been possible before. We will be able to work directly with the design teams to ensure we drive up perceived quality.”

By using aesthetica to apply information on tolerances and locator schemes directly to the 3D digital model of a vehicle, Fiat’s engineering teams will be able to simulate and visualize, in real time, their effects on components and assemblies in terms of form and position variation and component deformation. Root cause analysis will allow them to diagnose the cause and quickly try out what-if solutions.

How aesthetica Works
creates a high-resolution photorealistic 3D model of the product to which both designers and engineers assign manufacturing variance data, so they can evaluate the effects on the perceived quality of the product. aesthetica simulates the effects of manufacturing variation, including component shape variation and deformation, and applies these results directly to the position and shape of the components of the digital model. The visual presentation of the results provides a powerful diagnostic capability, enabling the quick identification of aesthetic problems that are not apparent from the numerical tolerance analysis results.

aesthetica is also used by a variety of consumer product manufacturers.

Among the benefits that Fiat expects to gain from the use of aesthetica are shorter development timescales as a result of improved communication between designers and engineers; lower development costs through the reduced need for physical models and an increase in right-first-time tooling; a reduction in the number of variation issues discovered later in development; and an improvement in the perceived quality of Fiat vehicles.

I am confident that the use of aesthetica is going to have a major impact on our ability to meet the ambitious perceived quality targets that we have set for future Fiat vehicles,” said Dr. Bergadano. “The software will form an important and integral part of our overall product lifecycle management (PLM) software environment that will help take FIAT Group Automobiles on into the next stage in the company’s development.”

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