AKRON—Virtual product development may not be as predominant a trend as electrification in the automotive industry, but it is no less critical, according to Josh Goossens, materials engineering manager at Tenneco's Clevite Elastomers Group.
Goossens focused on the movement being pushed by automotive OEMs for cost-savings and faster time-to-market potential during his keynote presentation May 11, the second day of the Rubber News-organized Rubber in Automotive Conference.
"This is a bit of a different topic than the electrification and sustainability that has been discussed here so far this week," Goossens said. "Virtual product development represents a paradigm shift in automotive."
Clevite Elastomers, part of the performance solutions business at Tenneco, makes ride control and NVH products for OEMs and aftermarket customers. The antivibration products—typically comprising a majority natural rubber compound—are part of the foundation for an automobile as chassis-frame pivot points.
And as OEMs push for the full virtualization of product development, that should put Tenneco and Clevite toward the front of the line in the manufacturing process.
But that has not always been the case, and virtual product development presents further challenges in that regard.
"We are in the process of getting the requirements from OEMs to virtually design the products, where the first physical parts produced will be off of production tooling and of sellable vehicle quality," Goossens said. "Let that sink in ... think about your own production lines.
"Are you ready for this type of future where there will be no prototyping, producing sellable quality parts that were designed from a purely virtual standpoint?"