PTC Featured Article


Published on

HRE Performance Wheels

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

PTC Featured Article

  1. 1. Creo™ Elements/Pro™ Mechanica is the cornerstone ®of exclusive automobile wheel businessHRE Performance Wheels optimizes strength and lightweight design with3D CAD and FEA tools from PTC Feature Article Formerly Pro/ENGINEER ®HRE Performance Wheels, San Diego, CaliforniaHRE Performance Wheels designs, engineers and manu-factures very high-end forged aluminum alloy wheels forracing, performance and luxury cars, and SUVs. HRE’s built-to-order wheel sets offer a customized choice of offsets,widths and finishes, resulting in a uniquely personal style.The challenge: design highly durable, yet lightweight wheelsTo meet its goal of making the best wheels in the world, HRE starts with thebest materials. They then need to engineer those materials to maximize HRE Performance Wheels’ Centerlock three-piecestrength and performance, yet keep the wheels as lightweight as possible. wheel for Porsche GT3RS and 997 Twin Turbo.HRE needed exceptional CAD tools for design, and the best-available FEAsolution to analyze and test for quality and performance.The solution: Creo Elements/Pro and Creo Elements/ProMechanicaThe engineers at HRE use the PTC 3D product design software solutionCreo Elements/ Pro to design the wheels, and they especially rely onthe finite element analysis (FEA) tool Creo Elements/ Pro Mechanica(formerly Pro/ENGINEER Mechanica) for design analysis. Using CreoElements/Pro Mechanica, they can continually iterate their designs untilthey’re perfected.The results: world-class style, quality and performanceAs a result of superb engineering, the HRE wheels have a unique style andoptimal performance. Engineering drives the design and style of everywheel, which ends up giving the wheel more sophistication, and the generalproportions of the wheel have a natural balance.Page 1 of 5 | HRE Performance Wheels
  2. 2. Feature Article Since its inception more than 30 years ago, HRE Performance Wheels has “We are very much about been focused on creating the ultimate balance of performance and style in its wheels for high-end cars. Today, HRE is one of the most well-respected letting the engineering manufacturers of forged high-performance wheels in the world. drive the design. As a The market for high-performance wheels result, Creo Elements/Pro HRE designs, engineers and manufactures wheels using a forging process Mechanica is the corner- with aluminum alloy. Because of these manufacturing methods and the stone of our wheel devel- materials used, the cost of the wheels HRE creates is very high. As a result, opment. We just couldn’t their wheels are relegated to the very high-end of the market, with wheels retailing from $4,500 to $8,000 (US). Porsche® owners are the company’s do what we do without it.” #1 demographic, as both companies are intensely focused on performance -Alan Peltier, President, and quality. HRE Performance Wheels The company’s president, Alan Peltier, joined HRE Performance Wheels as the lead engineer in 1999, and was promoted to president a couple of years ago. Peltier states, “HRE’s philosophy is to make the best wheels in the world, and to provide the best customer service.“The aftermarket in the United States is very ‘bling-y’: a lot of chrome and lot of fancy styling,” he comments. “We do not believe in that. Our philosophy is that form definitely follows function. And, so, performance and quality have to come first.” He adds, “We are very much about letting the engineering drive the design. Let the engineering lead you down the path. If you do the engineering well, you end up with a style that has a natural balance to it. And, we think that natural balance is an indication of the efficiency that you designed into it, and that gives you a natural beauty.” Engineering the wheel HRE wheels are engineered and manufactured at the company’s facility in San Diego, California. Their wheels begin life as a high-quality, 7-inch diameter aluminum billet rod. The billet rod is heated and placed into a precision die where it is forged, using millions of PSI of pressure, into a raw forging as specified by HRE’s engineers. The result of the forging process is aluminum with a refined crystalline structure, where the grain direction is aligned with the primary load direction of the wheel spokes, which strength- ens the material. Peltier explains, “The raw material ends up being about 40% stronger than the raw material on a normal cast wheel, and that’s very important because we can then take that and use less material to get to the strength require- ments that are needed for the vehicle, which gives us a lightweight wheel.”Page 2 of 5 | HRE Performance Wheels
  3. 3. Feature Article Starting from a raw piece, the wheel goes into a lathe which cuts the profile, and then it goes into a mill that cuts out the pattern of the spoke detail. Everything is cut to make it specific for that vehicle – f or example, a Ferrari® is very different than a Porsche, so all of the details that have to do with attaching the wheel to the vehicle are all different. The wheel will get lightly sanded or polished and powder-coated, and then it’s done. While most companies make hundreds – even thousands – of wheels at one time, HRE literally makes four wheels at a time, so all of its business is built-to-order. The difference between an HRE wheel and a normal automobile wheel is that standard wheels are generally made from cast aluminum. In com- parison to forgings, castings are made by pouring molten aluminum into a mold. This process results in considerably lower strength, ductility, and fatigue resistance. PTC’s FEA in Creo Elements/Pro Mechanica The importance of being lightweight software (formerly Pro/ENGINEER Mechanica).“Our goal is to engineer wheels that are very strong, yet very lightweight, as well,” states Peltier. “There are two reasons for this: we are trying to reduce unsprung mass and reduce rotational inertia.“This is where Creo Elements/ Pro Mechanica comes in, and this is where it’s important,” explains Peltier. “The reason wheels need to be light is that you want your car to be light. The more weight put on your car, the lower the gas mileage you are going to get, and the lower performance you are going to get. And, it’s more important on wheels than almost anywhere else because the wheels are part of what they call unsprung mass – that’s the wheel, the tire and the brake – components that are not held up by the suspension.” He continues, “There is another aspect, which is called rotational inertia, and this is the distribution of mass about a wheel’s rotational axis. The heavier the wheel is, the more rotational inertia it has, and the slower your acceleration is going to be. Your braking distance is going to be longer, because when you slam on the brake, it takes more energy to stop the wheel, and therefore makes your car less efficient and less safe.” Every HRE wheel design is created with PTC’s state-of-the-art Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software, Creo Elements/ Pro Mechanica, to optimize the wheel’s strength-to-weight ratio, which improves a vehicle’s acceleration, braking and handling.Page 3 of 5 | HRE Performance Wheels
  4. 4. Feature Article With Creo Elements/Pro Mechanica, design engineers can gain a better understanding of product performance early on, and accommodate the digital design accordingly – without needing a specialist’s FEA background. As a result, the Engineering team can gain early insight into product performance, which improves verification and validation processes, and delivers higher quality products at lower cost. By gaining early insight into product behavior, companies like HRE can vastly improve product quality while saving time, effort and money.“Because Mechanica is so tightly integrated with Creo Elements/ Pro, I can train guys who are not analysts,” comments Peltier. “I can train designers to use it by giving them a template. It’s so easy to use that we can get very accurate results with someone who is smart, but not necessarily engrained in the theory. And, I think that’s really a powerful aspect of it, as well.” Creo Elements/Pro Mechanica: a cornerstone of the business Rendered wheel model with a cut-away. Peltier recalls, “When I came here in 1999, HRE was a pretty small company. I recognized immediately that we needed Finite Element Analysis to design the wheel properly.“At that time, the automotive industry and aftermarket basically used SolidWorks® and COSMOS ®, but their FEA packages weren’t very good, especially since we were doing solids, not shells,” continued Peltier. “At that time, PTC already had Creo Elements/Pro Mechanica, and did the P-Element Analysis, which is very conducive to solids, with very fast analysis. It gives us the accuracy we need without having to spend weeks building a very fine-tuned FEA mesh.” Continues Peltier, “Eleven years ago, I knew that Creo Elements/ Pro had this capability with Mechanica – and it was very unique. We started using it in ‘99, and it is the cornerstone of our wheel development. We just iter- ate and iterate and iterate and iterate. We run hundreds of FEA analyses for each wheel before we go to prototype. It allows us to really finetune the wheel, take mass out of it where it’s not needed, put mass in it where it is needed.“At HRE, every wheel undergoes countless hours of FEA because half a millimeter or a millimeter difference in cross-section matters – a quarter of a degree matters. And so, these tiny amounts make the difference between passing a fatigue test and not, when our engineers are trying to really optimize the wheel and make it lightweight.”Page 4 of 5 | HRE Performance Wheels
  5. 5. Feature Article Saving money through FEA testing“Creo Elements/ Pro Mechanica is invaluable to us. There’s no way we could do without it,” asserts Peltier. “It costs a thousand dollars for us to test a new wheel model, so it may cost us $3,000 total because we are going to do multiple tests. But if we didn’t do it, we would be sending wheels to test, and they would be coming back and they would be failing. So, at the end of the day, it would probably cost ten times that much and we would have an infe- rior product. The product would eventually pass the test through trial and error, but it would be heavier than it needed to be. And, we would probably pay $30,000 per wheel.” In the United States, there are no government-mandated requirements for testing wheels, just a set of recommendations or guidelines. But, because HRE holds itself to the highest standards, the company adheres to the strict structural standards set by the German government. HRE’s San Diego facil- ity is TÜV-certified by a German standards body that comes out to HRE’s facility every three years. HRE believes they are the only aftermarket wheel company in the United States that does this. The company feels it is essen- tial to validate the engineering design with actual testing, and, therefore, HRE wheels are tested to meet or exceed TÜV, SAE and JWL standards for strength, fatigue and impact resistance. Setting the standard for high-performance wheels The engineering behind HRE wheels is why they are as technically precise as they are beautiful. By using Creo Elements/ Pro, form follows function, which is how HRE’s engineers have created strong, lightweight wheels that deliver performance and style to the world’s most exclusive vehicles. © 2010, Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). All rights reserved. Information concerning the benefits and results obtained by customers using PTC solutions is based upon the particular user’s experience and testi- monial, is furnished for informational use only, and should not be construed as a guarantee or commitment by PTC. Due to the varying degree of complexity of our customers’ products and/or their design processes, typi- cal or generally expected results are not available. PTC, the PTC Logo, Creo, Elements/Direct, Elements/Pro, Elements/View, Unlock Potential, Think. Create. Believe. and all PTC product names and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of PTC and/or its subsidiaries in the United States and in other countries. SolidWorks is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. All other product or company names are property of their respective owners. 5799-HRE-Performance-Wheels-EN-1010Page 5 of 5 | HRE Performance Wheels