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Research areas

 

Simulation-driven Product Development

For an industrial company to be able to compete in a climate that is characterized by constantly new demands, new business models must be developed continuously. To meet these needs, we are constantly conducting research into product development methodologies.

Modelling and simulation have always been the foundation for our research strategy. Research initially consisted of modelling and simulation in order to predict the status or conditions of different products. This includes, among other things, simulation of manufacturing and function, as well as data integration between different systems to enable management of subsequent processes. To be able to better pursue product development, simulation driven design is an important part in the research strategy. Here, modelling and simulation are used to identify new solutions and to verify existing ones.

A need to be able to work in a distributed global environment in which suppliers, subcontractors, clients, etc., with different nationalities, backgrounds and capabilities participate in different phases of a project. To meet the need requires support in terms of technology and working methods for collaborative work, both of which are an important part of our research strategy.

Modelling and simulation

Modelling and simulation are a very important part of our activities. Over the years, research in the simulation of manufacturing processes such as milling, welding, forming, pressing, heat treatment, etc., has been carried out with successful results. Since manufacturing processes often take place in several stages, information must be communicated between different simulations (e.g., in the case of welding followed by heat treatment), which is why data integration is decisive. We also conduct research into how this type of integration should be realized.

Dynamics is another area in which research is conducted. Here, research is carried out on, for example, vehicle systems, pantographs for trains, manufacturing systems, etc. These systems often contain strongly non-linear components which require new tools and new theories. Over the years, a considerable body of research on strongly non-linear dynamic systems has been conducted, which means that we have personnel with key expertise in this area. Rotor dynamics has also been included in recent years. Here, research on systems such as process machinery, turbines, generators, fans, pumps, etc., is carried out. Much of the work has involved the development and validation of dynamic models for these types of systems.

Since the companies’ needs are the central concern, the focus, of course, is on the use of these simulations. To be able to study the effect of the introduction of new simulation tools and working methods, these are often tested in pilot projects at the companies’ premises. Consequently, many of our research results are of immediate benefit to partner companies.

Product Development

Both nationally and internationally, the industrial business climate is characterized by tough competition. To meet competitive challenges and customers’ needs, high demands must be placed on quality and the efficiency of work forms. The demands consist partly of the need for shorter lead times, lower internal costs and, often, lower prices. This, in turn, places demands on the entire product development process, not least with respect to business requirements and user needs. Furthermore, the creation of new business is imposing new or altered demands on the product development process. One such area is the sale of function and, subsequently, also product development of the function sold and the delivery of function over the life cycle of the product. Therefore, in the late-1990s, we coined the term Functional Product (FP); i.e., a product consisting of hardware, software and services combined. The challenge and the point of departure is that a functional product can be delivered by a supplier to a client or within a so-called extended enterprise in which roles shift and overlap. We continue to conduct research in this field, particularly within the Faste Laboratory. Since its inception in 1988, we have worked with Integrated Product Development (IPD) and thus have a history of, and interest in, modelling and technical simulation for function prediction and product verification.

One of our main areas of focus is, in close collaboration with leading national and international research centres, to conduct research and education in Product Development and Engineering Design, which encompasses everything from user needs to concept development and detail design.

Research is carried out and courses are given in the following subject areas:

  • Innovative concept development
  • Systematic product development
  • Product modelling, simulation and optimization