Basant Sharma, Vice President (VP), Detroit Engineered Products (DEP)

Detroit Engineered Products (DEP) was established in 1998 as a software technology based company with its headquarters located in Troy, Michigan, USA. We started our India operation in Chennai in the 2000s and since then we have been growing. We have offices in eight locations around the world. With over 500 customers, we work with nearly every OEM, automotive and large enterprise.

It also works in industries such as aerospace, consumer goods electronics, biomedical, oil and gas. But mainly, our main activity comes from the automotive sector which contributes about 80 to 85% of the activity.

Recently, we participated in an interview with Basant Sharma, vice president (VP) of Detroit Engineered Products (DEP). He talks about the startup journey and what DEP did.

Introduction.

Detroit Engineered Products (DEP) was established in 1998 as a software technology based company with its headquarters located in Troy, Michigan, USA. We started our India operation in Chennai in the 2000s and since then we have been growing. We have offices in eight locations around the world, such as the United States, Japan, Canada, China, and are pre-established around the world with an extensive network of partners.

We have two major verticals, when it comes to our offerings. First, we provide engineering services where we work with clients to complete their turnkey projects. We provide services to transform the entire product development from baseline studies for design iterations, through full CAE evaluation, value engineering, lightweighting and prototyping in all the sectors. Second, we have our unique proprietary software, MeshWorks, which is an integrated CAE platform that transforms every aspect of the product development process.

With over 500 customers, we are proud to say that we work with nearly every OEM, automotive and large enterprise. We also work in sectors such as aerospace, consumer electronics, biomedical, oil and gas. But mainly, our main activity comes from the automotive sector which contributes about 80 to 85% of the activity. As a growing company, with over 500 employees, we are trying to expand our business globally with new employees joining every week.

What is your company’s USP that sets it apart from its competitors?

CAE has evolved over the past few years to offer customers a variety of options. By using DEP MeshWorks as a single-user integrated platform, they can use the modeling process to create CAE models much faster than most other technologies on the market. They will also be able to develop and optimize new concepts. Our customers can perform multiple processes, such as optimization, concept generation and design, using a single platform. This aspect of multidisciplinary tools offers a substantial return on investment, which can be calculated with the hours of labor saved. Since we can provide solutions using our own custom software, we offer a high degree of flexibility and customization to the customer.

What do you think are the five most important things DEP should look at today?

The DEP looks at many internal and external factors. The most important thing DEP looks at is ensuring customer success. Going above and beyond to ensure customer success is essential to a successful business. Next, you should invest in people and technology. You can’t be a technology company without making the right investments in people and technology. If the recession has taught us anything, it’s the importance of a strong business continuity plan, which can ensure uninterrupted customer service, no matter what situation awaits you. Economic trends and technology adoption are key areas to examine and directly affect businesses.

What are the applications of DEP products in a changing world?

DEP works with companies to create innovative solutions to real-world problems. We have worked on a range of solutions over the years, to help customers solve the problem they were solving. One of the interesting products we developed was a drone that incorporated radar technology and sensors to deter birds from airspaces, which caused damage to equipment. Another product we have developed is an in-cylinder combustion detection technology with which we can monitor the emission levels (CO, NO) of cars in real time. We are also designing an autonomous driverless people mover, which is already in operation in a leading global smart city. DEP has worked and will continue to work on a number of state-of-the-art products.

What changes does DEP bring to the industry?

The biggest differentiator that DEP brings to the market is that we own and develop our own CAE platform in-house. This translates into a very high level of customization that we can bring to CAE services. When it comes to product development, having equipment and some of the key experts in the field gives us access to a high level of technology and service offerings that we are able to deliver consistently.

What role does AI play in the development of your products and services?

We are in the business of engineering data. We help organizations optimize the performance of their products. It is a mathematical data-driven approach that synchronizes the performance of multiple discipline products and advises the design team on how design parameters affect product performance. It is a predictive approach based on model data. We analyze the pool of engineering data available in the organization and help capture key learnings so that the design team can leverage them in their product development. Our tools, techniques and methods help companies transform their product development cycle. Some of the tools we have built help organizations involved in additive manufacturing to optimize part support. Our sensor and IoT have already been deployed to capture real-time engine data to make predictions about combustion products inside each engine cylinder for each cycle. This makes real-time closed-loop control possible.

And our development team is currently working on implementing some advanced AI methodologies that facilitate MeshWorks users through the various development stages. With intelligence implemented, additional insights will be provided to users on even small impacts for any given use case of Morphing, CAE process automation, etc. With all the data uploaded, the software will calculate the necessary factors and provide the user with a clearer result for better optimization using features and pattern recognitions.

How does simulation technology improve quality in manufacturing?

Very important, design simulation is one of the critical points in the past for manufacturing industries. I am pleased that with our technologies and through other technologies, CAE is facilitating manufacturing assessments digitally. For example, if you take an injection molding process, you can place your gate location where you place the material, temperature, and then run the simulation. If you find any defect in your real part, these defects could be optimized at the earliest by doing CAE evaluation. This is the immediate benefit of having the simulation. Otherwise, you have to build the tools which will cost millions of dollars. Optimization can be performed with all these parameters checked at the gate location combined with other structural parameters. This process not only optimizes your component for manufacturing, but also takes into account the performance and weight of the product.

How will working from home lead to a paradigm shift in the IT industry?

A few years ago, few companies even allowed regular work from home, and especially in the IT space. The last 2 years have brought about a paradigm shift in the mindset of businesses regarding the efficiency their teams can achieve when working from home. Companies are now investing more to support their employees in a hybrid model that many companies see as the way forward even after the pandemic. Working from home itself has affected people differently on a personal and individual level, and its long-term effects are yet to be seen.

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