Altair > Case Studies > Forklift Manufacturer Streamlines Design Process with Altair’s HyperWorks Suite

Forklift Manufacturer Streamlines Design Process with Altair’s HyperWorks Suite

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Technology Category
  • Analytics & Modeling - Digital Twin / Simulation
Applicable Industries
  • Equipment & Machinery
  • Specialty Vehicles
Applicable Functions
  • Product Research & Development
  • Warehouse & Inventory Management
Use Cases
  • Time Sensitive Networking
  • Virtual Prototyping & Product Testing
  • Testing & Certification
About The Customer
NACCO Materials Handling Group (NMHG) is a globally recognized company that designs, engineers, and manufactures materials handling equipment for virtually every type of market. Their products, sold under the brand names Yale® and Hyster®, are used by businesses around the world that require forklift trucks, container handlers, and electric warehouse vehicles. NMHG is one of the world’s largest producers of lift trucks. The company operates a Counterbalanced Development Center in Fairview, Oregon, where it develops a wide range of counterbalanced sit-down forklift trucks. This center also serves as one of the global centers of excellence for computer simulations used by the company’s network of development centers around the world.
The Challenge
NACCO Materials Handling Group (NMHG), a leading producer of lift trucks, was facing a significant challenge in their product development process. The company had been using finite-element analysis (FEA) for 25 years, but this required the construction of several iterations of physical prototypes to test their designs. This process was not only costly but also time-consuming, leading to delays in bringing products to market. The company was in dire need of a solution that could reduce the time to market without compromising on the quality of their products. The ultimate goal was to virtually design, test, and evaluate each product before any physical prototypes were made, thereby saving costs and gaining a competitive advantage.
The Solution
NMHG adopted Altair’s HyperWorks suite of simulation tools to address their challenges. The suite was chosen after a thorough comparison with ten other products from vendors across the globe. HyperWorks allowed NMHG to reduce the amount of physical prototyping needed for products, thereby cutting both costs and time to market. The suite also provided NMHG with new capabilities. For instance, OptiStruct enabled engineers to optimize a design based on fatigue, an approach that held great potential for the company. Altair’s RADIOSS opened the field to a broad range of simulations, previously run with an implicit code. The company also used MotionView and MotionSolve for multi-body dynamics analysis. The suite's pre-processing capabilities were found to be extremely simple and powerful with HyperMesh.
Operational Impact
  • The adoption of HyperWorks has led to significant operational improvements at NMHG. The suite has not only saved time and cut costs but also identified new ways to resolve stubborn engineering problems. For example, with one small component — a counterweight support plate — engineers had gone through four design iterations. After running a single analysis with OptiStruct, the program suggested a solution that the company implemented, and the part passed the test. The same process was applied to a gusset that was giving engineers problems. Using OptiStruct, within an hour the team had a solution that gave them a correct answer without having to go to the shop, cut the gusset, cut another plate with a different shape and test it. The flexibility that Altair offers, and being able to use license units in so many ways are advantages. One program offers preprocessing, post-processing, solver and multi-body dynamics, with all covered by one license.
Quantitative Benefit
  • Reduced the time required to mesh a truck by 50 percent, from four weeks using the previous manual process to just two weeks with HyperMesh.
  • Potential for even greater time reductions in the future.
  • Cost savings due to reduced need for physical prototyping.

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