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Nvidia Quadro helps PSA Peugeot Citroën open the throttle on remote collaboration

Nvidia Quadro helps PSA Peugeot Citroën

A European car maker with international scope, PSA Peugeot Citroën brings three automobile brands to market, each one offering innovative line-ups and clearly differentiated styles: Peugeot, Citroën and DS.

With operations in 160 countries, the Group sold 2.8 million vehicles worldwide in 2013, 42.2% of those outside Europe, and is developing production resources near its priority markets, including plants in Latin America, China and Russia. PSA Peugeot Citroen is the second largest carmaker in Europe with 11.9% of the market and also Europe’s leader in light commercial vehicles with 20.7% of the market.

PSA’s largest vehicle design and innovation facility is the Automotive Design Network, based in the outskirts of Paris, where almost 1000 staff engineer, architect and style Peugeot and Citroën’s vehicle range. These teams rely heavily on digital tools to achieve the combination of quality, accuracy and efficiency required to support PSA’s competitive product cadence.

A key stage in the development of all PSA’s vehicles is the ‘digital ring,’ a design for manufacturing review process that involves engineers from a variety of teams worldwide. The digital ring brings together the designers who have created the car with the production engineers and technicians who will be responsible for building it in the company’s factories. Together they scrutinize every component to ensure that the vehicle’s design isn’t just beautiful and functional, it’s also efficient to manufacture. By detecting and solving issues before physical production begins, the digital ring enables PSA to manage manufacturing costs and reduce time to market.

In PSA’s IT department Alain Gonzalez, an expert in graphics technology and 3D imaging, and Romain Bouchez, IT architect in charge of hardware certifications, manage 10,000 workstations running a range of 200 CAD/ CAM applications. 10% of PSA’s users access hardware resources remotely over the group’s network.

The CAD models used by PSA’s engineers in the digital ring process can be extremely data-heavy, involving up to 85m+ polygons. Previously, users had experienced poor levels of interactivity when working with large data models in Dassault Systèmes CATIA and remote users were particularly badly affected. In many cases complete vehicle models could not be visualized or reviewed together, making a separate assessment of the components necessary.

Alain Gonzalez and Romain Bouchez equipped digital ring participants with NVIDIA Quadro K2200 graphics cards, both locally and remotely. Working in CATIA, these users were able to load an entire vehicle into the digital ring for the first time and manipulate it with a much greater level of interactivity and smoothness than was previously possible.

“The digital ring process can be very intricate,” Alain Gonzalez said. “It’s common that team members working remotely will be trying to pinpoint a very specific viewpoint on a CAD model so they can review a particular component or point on the vehicle. In this case, every additional frame per second of performance is a huge bonus. The performance boost we’ve achieved with the K2200 means their workflow becomes much faster and more interactive. The ability to load entire vehicle models, rather than having to break them down and work separately with the interior, exterior and engine, also saves time and allows our engineers to work more intuitively.”

“We’re really impressed with the results the K2200 provided for remote users,” continued Alain Gonzalez. “This group achieved double the frame rate of previous cards in CATIA. It’s really the perfect solution for the digital ring.”

The success of PSA’s digital ring process is critical in avoiding issues during manufacturing and reducing vehicle production costs, both key factors in maintaining the company’s competitive cadence. A new vehicle enters into the digital ring process every eight weeks so enabling the digital ring team to collaborate seamlessly is a core requirement of its hardware. NVIDIA’s new Quadro graphics cards are enabling the company’s engineers to collaborate and review vehicle designs more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

“Our engineers trust Quadro because they know it’s specifically designed to deliver the performance, reliability and compatibility they demand in key professional applications,” Romain Bouchez said. “This latest generation has provided benefits across the board. From initial design and visualization to preparing vehicles for manufacture via the digital ring, Quadro is an integral part of PSA’s digital engineering infrastructure.”

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