ESTEQ: Simulating mine blasts to improve vehicle safety


mine blast

Based in South Africa, ESTEQ has been an MSC Software partner for over 20 years and has been supporting South African defense companies in the area of mine blast simulations for over 14 years.

ESTEQ uses MSC Software to produce better quality vehicles more at lower costs. Simulation allows them to meet client specifications and gain competitive adantage. Clients routinely require that vehicles meet protection levels set out in specifications (e.g., STANAG 4569 is typically used to specify the type of mine block test a vehicle needs to pass). The process involved in obtaining mine protection certification for a vehicle can be costly and time consuming, and is often exacerbated by failure of a vehicle to provide the desired level of protection during certification and/or engineering tests. 

Simulation, when used competently will not only reduce the development cost of a vehicle, but ensure that the vehicle performs more reliably in the field than would be the case otherwise. This is true for mine blast protection and numerous other aspects of a vehicle’s performance (ride and handling, noise and vibrations, fatigue life). This can provide a decisive advantage over competitors.

The cost and time savings case for using simulation is very compelling – ESTEQ found that physical prototypes cost 7X more than simulation to develop and took 4X more time to develop. When modifying parts, the difference is even more dramatic, with prototypes costing 30X more and taking 30X more time than simulations.  

ESTEQ has found that simulation provides the following technical advantages:

Simulation model

Physical model

  • One simulation model, multiple mine blast locations


  • One physical prototype, one mine blast location


  • Clear results (no dust/smoke/over or under exposure)


  • Capturing the response is challenging. Measurement equipment malfunctions are possible


  • Ability to examine all areas of the vehicle in detail during event


  • Can only examine the areas of vehicle where measurement equipment or cameras capture the response


  • Reasons for specific loads and sequences can be established


  • Much of the time the reasons for specific behaviors has to be postulated based on post-mortem evidence


  • A vehicle failure in the virtual environment is generally not viewed in a very negative light because a simulation model is inherently seen as part of the development process


  • It is extremely embarrassing if a physical prototype fails a test when you have a client looking over your shoulder

The aim of performing mine blast simulation is to reduce the amount of physical testing, not to replace it.  It is a design tool that provides representative response information that allows informed design decisions to be made. ESTEQ uses simulation as a design aid, for example, to determine the optimal hull shape and ensure integrity (plate thickness, material selection, positioning of welded joints, avoiding large changes in stiffness), to design for human response (seat design and occupant constraint, seat positioning and attachments, foot and floor design), and to ensure the safety of the internal layout and packaging (positioning of ammunition, constraining loose objects).



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