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Concurrent design and manufacturing process of automotive composite components

S.M. Sapuan (Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia)

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 1 June 2005




To present the findings of the research on the use of concurrent engineering in the development of polymeric based composite automotive clutch pedal. It covers the use of various IT such as expert system, FEA, CAD, mould flow and rapid prototyping in order to carry out various activities such as material selection, total design, design analysis and mould flow analysis.


The work started with the conceptual design of an automotive composite clutch pedal. Various design guides related to composite materials were followed. The final concept of the composite clutch pedal is developed using Pro/Engineer solid modelling package. Design analysis was carried out using LUSAS to study the optimum pedal lever cross section and the optimum rib patterns in pedal lever. Mould flow analysis was investigated to predict the behaviour of materials inside the injection moulding machine and the results are compared with experimental values. Rapid prototyping models were developed based on two techniques namely 3D printer and stereolithography and they are compared in terms of quality, time and cost.


In this study, the integrated IT tools enable the designer to design and manufacture automotive an composite clutch pedal at higher quality and faster time compared to a metal counterpart. By adopting composite design guides, weight saving from implementing composite materials in the clutch pedal is achievable. It is found that an expert system for material selection enables designer to select the suitable composite material for the clutch pedal by considering various parameters such as strength, modulus, density, manufacturing and economic constraints. Rapid prototyping models enable the designer to communicate effectively their design to other parties early in the design process. Mould flow analysis is carried out to predict the behaviour of material inside the mould and to design the optimum moulding parameters such as fill time, fill temperature and gate location.


In this study, the originality lies in the integration of various IT tools in the development of composite clutch pedal. The designer is exposed to various design and manufacturing issues from the implementation of such approach early in the design process.



Sapuan, S.M. (2005), "Concurrent design and manufacturing process of automotive composite components", Assembly Automation, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 146-152.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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