In-depth market research is carried out in order both to understand what customers expect and to design and manufacture vehicles that exceed those expectations. The findings of such research are analyzed and new products are designed and manufactured accordingly. All of the analysis, design, verification, and project management stages involved in a vehicle’s product development processes are carried out in the fully-equipped offices and laboratories of the Tofaş R&D Center by its experienced engineering team.
In the body-design stage, a vehicle’s underbody, upper body, moving parts, exterior trim, and vision and lighting system components are developed. In addition, product development may also involve working with suppliers and Universities on such issues as hot-forming, plastic-metal hybrid and composite materials, and parametric design methods.
Vehicles’ interiors are designed taking into account customers’ needs as well as new trends and technologies.
Designs undergo constant development from their initial style sketches to final approval to mass production. Designs are subject to verification by means of virtual and physical testing in a process that involves the use of project management tools.
When designing vehicle interiors, the R&D center works with domestic and international suppliers in the development of such components as instrument panel cluster, dashboard beam, center consoles, door panels, AC control panels, AC vents, seats, seat structures and mechanisms, safety belts, airbags, plastic & composite interior trim elements, interior lighting elements, carpets, and insulation elements. Such development may involve codesign work at different engagement levels.
Vehicles’ overall and individual-system designs are subject to finite-element analysis in order to determine the vehicles’ performance abilities with respect to structural strength, material fatigue, vibration and acoustics, safety, vehicle dynamics, and fluid dynamics. Evolutionary CAE methodologies by which to calculate and verify the effectiveness of vehicle and system design are also developed and applied.
Newly-designed complete vehicles are subjected to bench, road, and other physical tests in order to verify that systems with different functions are operating properly both individually and in conjunction with another’s.
The Tofaş R&D Center conducts a variety of performance tests to determine such matters as the effects of climate, humidity, rain, sunlight, and rough road conditions on vehicles’ service life; the durability of moving parts; vehicles’ body torsional strength; vehicles’ suspension systems; vehicle acoustics; vehicles’ compliance with most recent emission standards; materials characterization; and vehicles’ electrical and electronic hardware.
Prototypes of all of the parts, components, apparatus, molds, test benches needed in the product-development process as well as prototypes of production, concept, and racing vehicles are developed in the center’s prototype shop.
Normal and rapid prototyping methods are used to make prototypes of whatever sheet metal, composite, and plastic components may be required.
Metal, polyurethane, and composite-material dies are designed and manufactured for use in the making of prototypes of sheet-metal, composite, and plastic components. In addition to the rapid prototyping and silicone molding methods, prototypes are also made from carbon fiber and Kevlar-based composite materials.
Industry 4.0 and digitalization technologies are the most important guides and facilitators underpinning the realization of R&D’s fundamental goal of constantly enhancing Tofaş’s competitiveness through both gradual and game-changing improvements.
A multi-unit team has been set up to provide industrial-research coordination and guidance aimed both at identifying improvement opportunities and at disseminating best practices throughout the company.
The Tofaş R&D Center also serves as project-leader in projects which are undertaken with domestic and international Universities, research institutes, and technology suppliers and which are aimed at developing new manufacturing technologies.