Areas of research.

Research at our institute focuses on three thematic fields:

  • Product Development
  • Machine Dynamics
  • Forming Processes

Product Development

CAx - Methods for Mechatronical Systems

We treat mechatronic design as an iterative process of synthesis, analysis and evaluation. One crucial step in the design process is synthesizing design concepts according to requirements and specifications.
In the analysis step, the performance of a specific design concept or detailed solution is predicted. In the evaluation step, the derived performance is compared with the requirements. The design or its requirements may be modified with respect to the new information obtained from the evaluation. The process is repeated until a satisfactory solution is achieved.

Integration of Mechatronics in Product Development Process

Coupling of modelling and simulation tools from the different areas of mechatronics is one of the important points to decrease the time of product development.
The data generated and applied by these different systems are mutually coupled, therefore efficient data exchange between CAx-Systems involved is a key-point in today’s innovation processes.
In this context it is necessary to describe the complex structure and hierarchy of the product, which finally allows the use of product data management functions for simultaneous engineering.

Contact Person:

Prof. Klaus Zeman

Machine Dynamics


Keywords: Vibrations, Dynamics of Machines, Computational Mechanics, Numerical Simulations, FEA (Finite Element Analysis)

Automation of manufacturing processes has become more and more self-evident during the last decades. Sensors, actuators and intelligent control systems support and improve the production processes to an extent, that quality parameters such as dimensional tolerances or variations of material parameters could be improved drastically. Utilising the benefits of Mechatronics, new generations of production machines and lines could be established. As a consequence, Mechatronics has spread from micromechanics long ago even to heavy machinery, such as rolling mills, showing the advantages of integrating sophisticated control technologies, sensor equipment and heavy actuators into a very complex and high speed process. High speed processes, in general, are highly dynamic, hence, increased attention must be focussed on the dynamics of mechanical, hydraulic and electrical actuators, which are components of the controlled system.

Mechanical actuators are applied to many manufacturing processes and used within various control loops. To be able to predict vibration phenomena such as chatter or self-excitation, and to correctly design a machine including actuators, sensors and control devices, dynamic simulation is indispensable. Our main objective of modelling and simulation in this context is to develop improved mathematical models of mechanical components. These models have to describe the relevant physical phenomena and are to be used also in other dynamic simulation tools in order to get more insight into complex vibration phenomena.

Contact Person:

Prof. Klaus Zeman

Modelling and simulation of forming processes and systems

Simulation and Optimisation of Metal Forming Processes

Keywords: Computational Mechanics, Numerical Simulations, FEA (Finite Element Analysis), Adaptive Remeshing Concepts (ALE: Arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian), Metal Forming Processes, Rolling, Forging, Elasto-Viscoplastic Constitutive Laws, Contact and Friction, Thermally Coupled Simulations, Rigid and Elastic Forming Tools, Process Validation, Tool Design, Manufacturing Feasibility Studies, Control Systems, Process Automation.

We are particularly interested in the simulation of thermodynamically coupled hot and cold massive forming processes, which includes flat rolling and section rolling, die forging and hammer forging coupled with heat treatment. Besides, sheet metal forming processes, where the thickness of the material is small compared to other dimensions, are of interest as well. FEA simulations are performed both for axially symmetric, two-dimensional plane strain and plane stress scenarios, and for fully three-dimensional problems. For many problems under consideration, such as hot rolling and hot forging, the processes are thermally activated from a metallurgical point of view, requiring control within definite temperature bands and cooling rates in order to hit target properties.

Simulation and Optimisation of Non-Metal Forming Processes

Keywords: Computational Mechanics, Thermoplastics, Numerical Simulations, FEA (Finite Element Analysis), Material Flow, Residual Stresses, Shrinkage, Distortion, Heat Transfer, Conductivity, Cooling, Phase Transition, Solidification.

Beside metal forming processes, the treatment of forming and shaping processes of thermoplastics and other synthetics becomes more and more important from a designing and manufacturing point of view. The simulation and analysis of such material forming and shaping processes often uses the same physical basic investigations and requires similar tools, which are established and proven for metal forming simulations. Therefore, existing models and experiences from such manufacturing processes (e.g. metal die forging, bending, rolling, etc.) can be exploited for non-metal processes leading to valuable synergy effects.

Contact Person:

Prof. Klaus Zeman