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Autodesk helps Morgan produce one of its most successful designs yet

12 July 2012

Morgan Motor Company has become the latest automotive manufacturer to use Autodesk visualisation software to help accelerate time to market for a new car model. Autodesk software helped Morgan to go from sketches of its new 3-Wheeler model to first production in just five months and to meet early deadlines for marketing material before the car was actually produced.

As a result of the 3-Wheeler’s success, Morgan is bucking current economic trends and “selling more cars than ever,” according to senior designer, Jon Wells.

The British sports car manufacturer, famous for its iconic designs which combine modern technology with classic styling, is using Autodesk Alias, Autodesk Showcase and Autodesk 3ds Max software from AutoCAD Design Suite Ultimate to “apply speed, accuracy and efficiency to traditional design and manufacturing processes,” according to Wells.

Before Autodesk products were introduced, 2D sketches were interpreted by eye into panel-beaten aluminum bodies; a time consuming process requiring high skill, while providing little margin for in-process evolution. Now Autodesk Alias software helps to transform concept ideas rapidly into 3D digital prototypes and then into actual concept cars.

Visualised using Autodesk Showcase and Autodesk 3ds Max software, designs can be evaluated and refined until the design is well-established. The surface data is then 5-axis machined directly from the Alias data. Once painted and scanned, this model enables further evaluation and adjustment to be made in Alias software.

“The skills and charm of traditional coach building are not lost at this point,” explains Wells. The Autodesk Alias model is then chopped into cross sections and an accurate 3D wooden buck produced. Skilled panel beaters accurately replicate the surfaces in sheet metal and then paint and lower the body over one of the existing platforms. “The concept car is born and ready to be exhibited worldwide,” he adds.

Autodesk software also helps meet tight media deadlines that precede completion of the concept car. Photo-realistic visuals are generated in Autodesk Showcase and Autodesk 3ds Max software to launch the concept to the press before the actual model is unveiled.

Once the car is ready for the product development stage, the Alias surfaces are modelled to Class A standard, passed to Morgan’s engineering department, and used to manufacture the highly-precise tooling used for the panels at production level.

“Although Morgan cars are known for their retro style and quality workmanship, we also need to take the best from the latest technology to enable us to be competitive and keep up with the demand for new ideas,” concludes Wells.

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