Powertrain center bearing

80% time-saving in the development of a series powertrain aluminum die-cast part


Nowadays, engineers use many sophisticated programs in the development of technical components. However, this progress has a downside: The development process has become so complex that users are now even losing speed with the classic tools. They need more and more meetings, more and more new rounds of coordination, and the speed of innovation in companies is declining. A turning point in this trend is promised by the innovative approach of Generative Engineering, as used by the open software platform ELISE. It integrates complexity and accelerates the product development process. This new development approach has been used to create the first series-production part that could be installed in the powertrain of vans in the future. 

Generative engineering makes it possible to develop the ideal part in every new, adapted variations – and without any major effort. This is a revolutionary approach, and not just for automotive engineers. Until now, developers have mostly started their work from scratch for every new model. With generative engineering, this will change. The new technology digitalizes the development process, enabling the entire process to be reused. The actual result is convincing for engineers and project managers: The center bearing for the drive shaft developed with ELISE weighs 18 percent less than its predecessor. And although the new part was developed in 80 percent less time, it is stiffer and therefore better than the part used before. 

The center bearing is part of a van powertrain, which is manufactured by the IFA Group. This supplier obtains the center bearing from the damping specialist Henniges Automotive. And the latter used ELISE in the development of the aluminum die-cast part. It is the familiar division of labor in the automotive industry, where a cascade of highly specialized supplier companies spreads out among the OEMs. As a young software company from Bremen, ELISE is the forerunner in a technology in which Henniges product engineer Petric Seipel simply sees “the future”.  

Seipel refers to the development and optimization of components, which is much faster and better with ELISE and Generative Engineering. The software platform accelerates the entire process by integrating its complexity. ELISE Co-Founder and Head of Application Engineering, David Leidenfrost, explains the approach: ” Initially, we do not develop the component itself, but rather its technical DNA. That is a digital set of rules that includes the specific design and manufacturing constraints. Based on this defintion, the component is then created automatically.” Thus, the concept relies on a completely new development process and software tools: It is no longer the component itself that is specified in the software platform, but rather the path how to get there. Like in nature, the rules (“DNA”) contain the blueprint for the subsequent development steps. All previously necessary process steps, such as simulations and CAD design, are digitally represented in this technical DNA and the necessary software tools are remotely controlled. In this way, they can run automatically. As a result, it is finally possible to set up the entire part development process in a continuous and automated workflow.

Thus, the software platform replaces a process that is still largely manual today: Until now, design changes need to be calculated, checked and validated in different departments of the company. Then the results go back to the developer and the loop starts all over again. ” In our specific case, we skipped at least 30 such iteration loops,” says project engineer Seipel. This has saved Henniges several weeks of development time.  

Furthermore, these savings are not limited to the component presented. Once the design principles have been defined with the DNA, the workflow can run through as many times as required and the boundary conditions can be adapted over and over again. The developer can specify different loads, production processes or materials and automatically obtain a component that adapts exactly to these conditions. Thus, in the future he will no longer need to design each part individually, but only once a DNA. He can then implant this blueprint into different vehicles and develop components that are perfectly adapted to their specific requirements.  Petric Seipel on the vision at Henniges: “There are many different bearings in the car. That means we could use the DNA we’ve already created for many other use cases with just minor adjustments. That would save us a lot of material and time.” Consequently, he already sees a number of other products in which he plans to use the ELISE software platform. 

Saved time

In comparison to a classical development



Through automation of the development process



Copy & paste of the process for similar parts



18% reduced weight


Konsul-Smidt-Str. 8u
28217 Bremen (Germany)
Phone: +49 (0)421 22159700
E-Mail: info@elise.de

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