Sound Bits – from LMS Engineering Simulation Conference 2010


I’ve been to the LMS User Conference held in Munich and it has been fun being indulged in real-life engineering challenges as they were presented by leading contenders in the manufacturing industry, e.g. from Boeing, Renault, PSA, Liebherr, Piaggio, Iveco, Alena Aeronautica, Toyota, BMW, Daimler, Continental, BSH, Behr, John Deere, EADS, Safran and others.

Unisono they reported about their challenges that are constantly increasing with more functionality and complexity being introduced into the products, still more model variants, while at the same time new tough “green” requirements are added (that’s good for us: less energy consumption and pollution), and once again the economical constraints not really relaxing …

To illustrate the point I pick one single topic from the many, and want to reflect on the presentation delivered by Dr. Bernd Pletschen of Daimler AG. He and his team are responsible for designing the sound experience of car buyers and users (also referred to as psychoacoustics).

Now, it seems that Daimler has a “luxury problem”. With the elevated prices of their brand (his words) he states that the driver’s impression always needs to be a luxurious one in order to justify the buy of a Mercedes car. As his company plans to reduce the use of physical prototypes by 40%, his department needs to compensate and improve acoustics / noise-vibration-harshness (NVH) simulation for optimal sound design – via virtual prototypes – and validated via physical tests.

Interesting questions arise:

  • What defines the perception of sound?
  • What makes it a pleasant experience – or makes it unpleasant noise?
  • Is this perception equal for all – independent of sex, culture, age?

Er, sorry … no …  It seems that sounds mean different things to different people.

There are different sources of noise with a vehicle which add up to a global experience. Dr. Pletschen talked about sound engineering disciplines and what could be the perception of “luxury sounds”:

Aeroacoustics:   “Playing with the wind”
Power-train sound:   “Reassuring power”
Intake/exhaust noise:   “Quiet and pleasant”
Road noise:   “Enjoy comfortable gliding”

How does this engine sound appeal to you ?

… or these?

Another challenge comes with the change-over of sound patterns when switching from traditional  gas engines to electric engines (lacking the so familiar “start and idle” noise – however adding high frequency noises coming from the e-engine), yet over to fuel-cell cars on the horizon.

How to maintain the luxury sound perception within these paradigm shifts?

On another angle, the (missing) electric engine sound may pose a problem to pedestrians:

Maybe this could be the solution?

Just kidding!

More seriously, with engineering challenges like the ones described it shows that manufacturers look for more and more complete simulation schemes to support their product development. They certainly welcome every simulation technology contribution and innovation from their solution partners. This is true for the acoustics domain but nonetheless for the many other domains with their own specific challenges.

As you may know, LMS is a long-time partner in the Dassault Systèmes Alliance Program community – and product integrations exist with CATIA (LMS.Virtual.Lab is based on CATIA’s 3D core) and SIMULIA Abaqus. You can check out noise & vibration simulation, sound engineering and other engineering simulation solutions provided by LMS in their section on the DS website, on the PLM MarketPlace or the LMS website.

From the LMS event I conclude, that with the agenda for a greener future set, manufacturers are challenged to manage a set of increasing requirements, while maintaining / improving user experiences.  To master this, realistic simulation becomes a necessity for them.

Soon more – from the wonderful world of engineering.



A scientist by education I learned to enjoy more to work with people across cultural hemispheres than in a lab. This is why partnerships and alliances has become my domain of choice. My job at DS is to help our Tech Solution Partners global ecosystem to show how they can contribute their expertise to the global PLM solution and 3D experience. Our partners are experts in their specialties which makes me learn a thing or two every day. I enjoy that too.

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