Volvo front bumper measurement fixture modification: A case study

Plastal Ghent is a supplier of engineered plastics to the automotive industry, which was in this case Volvo cars.

The initial unrepresentative fixture that they ordered with another fixture supplier, featured RPS fixing points but the bumper was still deforming when assembled on the fixture resulting in inconsistent positioning. Therefore, in order to provide a fully accurate simulation of fixation, Materialise's RapidFit+ team modified the fixture to provide an accurate simulation of adjacent components that mated with the bumper.

By using RapidFit+, Plastal Ghent achieved fast design changes, fast manufacture of simulating parts via additive manufacturing techniques and reduced costs

Fender simulation modifications
In addition to the new support simulations that were required to replicate the adjacent mating components, RapidFit+ also needed to make new fender simulations to rectify the inadequate design initially supplied to Plastal Ghent by another fixture supplier.

The initial fixture design was modified to accommodate the use of Witte adjustment blocks on the existing fixture profiles and then quickly produced via the Fused Deposition Modelling additive manufacturing process. This enabled accurate gap and flush analysis to be carried on the fender/bumper joint with the reassurance of accurate on car simulation.

New softnose and headlamp support simulations
The fixture design team directly manipulated the native CAD data of the supporting softnose and headlamp components using advanced in house fixture design software. Parts that simulated the softnose and headlamp areas were then built via the Fused Deposition Modelling additive manufacturing technique to produce robust and accurate simulations. These parts were then measured using high end scanning technologies and assembled to the existing fixture design.

The complete fixture was then calibrated using an optical measuring device to assure optimal accuracy. The customer came to check the fixture and take it away. He was pleased with the end result and the measurement quickly recommenced. The total lead time was five working days, assembly was three days and certification was three days.

PTC wins strategic Windchill contract
PTC, The Product Development Company, today announced that Volvo Group has signed an agreement moving PTC from a directional decision to a firm strategic decision to use Windchill, PTC's PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) software, for Volvo Group's strategic VPDM (Virtual Product Data Management) program.

This firm decision is the result of an exhaustive final validation that clearly demonstrated the value of the Windchill software and PTC´s capability to execute as an organisation.

Volvo Group is one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, and aerospace components and services.

"We are excited to begin the next phase of what we expect will be a multi-year relationship with Volvo Group," said James E. Heppelmann, president and chief operating officer PTC. "Volvo has very sophisticated product development requirements: they operate in a fast-paced, global environment; they work with multiple, heterogeneous sources of data; they develop complex products, which are in many cases highly customized and have significant life cycles."

For more information on PTC, please visit

Plastal Ghent

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