The following is an excerpt.
How do you find the path to optimal solutions? You ask. In SFI CASA’s technical meeting 1-3 March, the partners will see their own answers to questions on the programmes Industrial Implementation and Structural Joints.
The definition of optimal basic research isn’t necessarily that it totally ignores business needs. Research may perfectly well be generic in nature and fulfil industry desires at the same time. That’s part of the reason behind when the partners have been asked to fill in questionnaires about the Industrial Implementation and Structural Joints programmes. In other words: SFI CASA wants to make the best possible advances in both areas. Then it doesn’t hurt to know where the partners feel the greatest need.
What interests you?
Programme Head for Structural Joints, David Morin, has sent the partners a whole series of questions. Here are some examples:
Which joining techniques are you interested in?
Which combinations of materials are relevant for you?
Do you see the need for dynamic testing of joints?
What are your challenges in terms of modelling today?
Do you have validation tests at component level that you are willing to share with the consortium?
So, what have Audi, BMW, Honda and Toyota answered? Are their needs very different from those of Benteler and Aker Solutions?
“Of course, there is no right or wrong answers to these questions,” David Morin sums up:
“The interesting results appear when we combine all the answers. Then we see patterns that will help us narrow down the scope of the Structural Joints programme and thus help us improve the quality of the research.”
The common denominator for the structural joints questions is that they are primarily of interest to the automotive industry.
What does it mean?
Somewhat in contrast, all partners have answered the questionnaire about industrial implementation. One of them ran as follows:
“What does industrial implementation mean to you and your company?”
Two alternatives where given:
“Industrial implementation means that I should learn how to use the tools developed within the SFI centre.”
“Industrial implementation means that the technology developed by the centre has to be transferred into my daily process and product development.”
The partners were also given the opportunity to air different views than the two given alternatives.
“There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, either. In fact, both alternatives should be in place to get optimal results,” Morin says.
Wide range of input
“The questionnaires have also given us a wide range of additional input, ranging from material properties to weak zones in welds to modelling in large scale analysis,” he adds.
In the case of joints, the latter is no small challenge. An aluminium car body may have more than 3 000 joints. If you model something, you cannot do it 3 000 times. It will be too costly…
In the bar
David Morin is frank about the peculiarities of his own culture:
“A questionnaire is a very efficient and Norwegian way of doing things. In France, we would have tried to obtain the same answers in the bar. It would have taken much longer and the answers would have been less reliable,” he says with a smile.
“And how did you find the questions?”
“Some are closely linked to the character of the programmes; others have come up in discussions with the partners. We know where we are, but there is a huge amount of possible ways we could move forward. A lesson from SFI SIMLab is that we want to improve the partners’ ability to implement our findings. One way of going about that is to ask what they want from us,” Morin says.