Developing Power Sliding Doors

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Dura Automotive (duraauto.com) in collaboration with Dassault Systèmes (3DS.com) have created a unique French salon sliding door concept with an emphasis on safety and convenience, particularly noteworthy for its design and technology capabilities. 

This innovative system features the world’s first power sliding door solution with no exterior guide tracks. The technology also includes a 20% widened egress opening, 40% weight reduction (lightweight, composite door panels with aluminum structure) and advanced obstacle detection performance. 

The French salon door has no impact on vehicle exterior styling when the doors are closed. Also, the technology is applicable to front and rear-door applications and can be provided in power or manually operated configurations.

“The sliding door concept highlights how engineers from diverse backgrounds and indus-tries can come together to look at a solution differently,” says Nizar Trigui, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Dura Automotive. 

In addition to the sliding doors, Dura Automotive has developed lightweight aluminum door structures, an ultra-lightweight rear shelf composite, a shift-by-wire park lock actuator, and other innovative product designs. They have utilized Dassault’s 3DExperience platform (software for 3D modeling, simulation, analysis and design) along the way.

With 3D Experience, Dura Automotive was able to link its customers, partners, and suppliers together in a single collaborative platform. This enabled the company to optimize the components and parts in the salon door tracking system and obstacle detection controls. The 3DExperience software was also used on the sliding doors to verify vehicle level performance for consumer requirements and government regulations prior to physical testing. “This validation maximized product performance, reliability and safety while minimizing costs and development time,” Trigui adds. “It sometimes takes months or weeks to come up with a prototype. You’re checking in on the engineers, evaluating the costs, and essentially trying to box something that you didn’t think was possible at the beginning of the project. The process is messy by design.”

The Dassault 3DExperience software brought all the resources and design requirements of the sliding door concept together in one virtual environment with an analytical approach, thus simplifying and accelerating the development.—MJ