MAI Intelligent Technology Systems 1

The Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) has launched its new automotive technology centre, MAI Intelligent Technology Systems (MITS), at its headquarters in Cyberjaya today.

The facility is aimed at boosting product design capabilities and innovation within the local automotive components and parts supply chain. The initiative is said to be in line with the National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2014, which outlines the nation’s plan to become a regional hub in producing Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV) by the year 2020.

“It is important that the industry’s technological edge is strengthened, particularly in the key areas of engineering design, prototyping, product validation and process development,” said MAI COO Nizmar Mohd Nazar. “This is a breakthrough project for local automotive parts suppliers and manufacturers to move up the product value chain, by adding local design and engineering into their present manufacturing base.”

Integrating products from American design and engineering software company Altair Engineering, it’s billed as a one-stop facility that provides software, hardware and technical support for the design and development of automotive parts and system engineering works.

At the heart of MITS is the HyperWorks Unlimited Physical Appliance (HWUL-PA), a 96-core private cloud server that provides users unlimited plug-and-play access to all of Altair’s HyperWorks computer-aided design (CAD) and engineering (CAE) software, as well as high-performance computing (HPC) tools for design, engineering and simulation purposes.

MAI Intelligent Technology Systems 3

Users will be able to undertake a multitude of simulation tests to validate their product design and engineering processes, including crash, electromagnetic, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and manufacturing simulations. They will also be able to work closely with Altair’s experts in lightweight engineering and composites.

Mention the automotive industry and one would immediately think of Proton and Perodua. These (comparatively) large-scale carmakers would usually have CAD and CAE software – like HyperWorks – in their own systems, although Altair COO Brett Chouinard said that these companies could make use of MITS’ HWUL-PA system if they needed additional computing power.

However, the bigger draw for MITS – and the main reason for its being – are smaller companies such as Tier 1 and Tier 2 parts and components suppliers, which may not have their own access to the software. MAI expects the centre to play a key role in facilitating these companies in their product design and development initiatives, without them having to invest in expensive software, hardware and technical consulting services.

“The next immediate challenge for automotive suppliers and companies in Malaysia is to move forward and emphasise product design and engineering works, not just manufacturing,” said Chouinard.

“For the past 25 years, Altair has been working with automotive OEMs and suppliers around the world to support them in their journey towards simulation-driven design. “We look forward to sharing our expertise and experiences with the local auto parts players and help them jumpstart their innovation driven design journey.”