Ford Motor Company has recognized HPC as a strategic imperative since the 1980s. Today, the company uses HPC clusters from IBM and HP to bring new innovations to market faster and to reduce production costs. Ford engineers recently applied this capability with great success to optimize the design of their EcoBoost engine technology, which is expected to enable better fuel economy in more than 80 percent of Ford’s models by 2013.
The application of HPC gives Ford the ability to analyze how multiple design options and variables would interact. Nand K. Kochhar, Ford’s executive technical leader for global computer-aided engineering (CAE), says “a lot of HPC-based computational analysis is involved in simulating the trade-offs between performance, shift quality and fuel economy. In the case of the engine, we conduct combustion analysis—optimizing a fuel-air mix, for example.” These virtual simulations also allow Ford to improve the aerodynamics of their cars without having to spend the time or money to conduct tests with physical prototypes.
HPC is essential to Ford’s strategy to stay competitive worldwide. Their engineers have also used HPC to analyze the interaction of active and passive safety features, reduce cabin noise and vibration, and improve its strategy to develop hybrid and battery powered vehicles. Kochhar concludes, “The technology allows us to build an environment that continuously improves the product development process, speeds up time-to-market and lowers costs. HPC is an integral part of Ford’s competitiveness in a very tough marketplace.”