Simulation and Modeling of Drive Sytems

SimulationX is our preferred tool for simulating, analyzing and optimizing electromechanical drives for specific applications.

Markus Kiele-Dunsche, Lenze Drives GmbH

Simulation and modeling of drive systems for better performance and precision

Mechanical drive systems are at the heart of many stationary and mobile machinery, machine tools, plants and vehicles. Depending on the type of machinery, engineers face immense requirements in terms of speed and precise positioning. With software for powertrain simulations, you are able to design powertrains for a wide range of machines quickly and reliably in a cost-efficient manner, which provides you with an economical tool for efficient commissioning and optimizations of your drive systems. Increase the efficiency of the entire driveline from the engine to the drive shafts, to the transmissions and the output.

The task at hand

Reliable and accurate determination of the powertrain’s efficiency

For the analysis of a drive system’s steady-state behavior, steady-state analyses in the frequency domain provide a fast and viable method. Steady-state calculations are required to prove operational safety as part of approval and certification procedures.

If during the start-up and deceleration phases the system passes critical frequency ranges, the time-dependent frequency often shows smaller or greater amplitudes than the calculated values from the steady-state analysis. Also non-periodic excitation, such as ice impact on ship propulsion systems, can result in higher stress. Especially for safety-relevant drives, it is essential to know the exact behavior of the powertrain for normal operations, but also for malfunctions, emergency shutdowns and disastrous situations. Transient simulation in the time domain provides you with accurate and reliable results for any operational phases.

Solution and benefits

Powertrain simulation – Mastering variable rotational speed and torque

In powertrains with combustion engines, torsional vibrations are usually caused by crank angle deviations. As a consequence of engine misfires or cylinder deactivation to save fuel, additional excitation may occur throughout the entire drive system. Backlash in the engine mount and in the transmission as well as strongly irregular loads, such as shocks, lead to abrupt changes in the effective torque and the rotational frequency.

Also damping elements and elastic coupling add to this through their usually nonlinear behavior. In order to still be able to provide safe drive systems despite these complex vibrations and load scenarios, the individual components are often overdesigned. Powertrain simulation helps you ensure the functionality and operational safety of your machinery without the need to overdesign it. This enables you to

  • optimize the dynamics and energy efficiency of your machinery,
  • reduce the design space for the drive system and
  • cut back on production costs.

Determine accurate waveforms and load curves in each component and examine the impact of vibration damping measures directly in the model. 

Simulating drive systems, especially in terms of rotational speed and torque curves, helps you develop inexpensive and efficient drive systems and drive units with better dynamic characteristics. Drives that are subject to strong vibrations, which you can model through powertrain simulation, can be found in:

  • automobiles
  • ships
  • generators
  • wind turbines
  • construction equipment
  • shredders and chippers
  • crushers and belt conveyors
  • shakers and vibratory feeders
  • centrifuges
  • textile machinery
Practical examples
  • BMW optimizes powertrains with system simulation

    CAE engineers manage driving comfort early on in the powertrain development.

    about BMW's project
  • Powertrain simulation at LuK

    Schaeffler regards SimulationX as the preferred modeling and simulation software for dynamic systems.

    about LUK's project
  • TU Dresden increases performance and energy efficiency through simulation

    Accurate analyses of longitudinal dynamics and energy efficiency of drive systems in Formula Student race cars by team Elbflorace from the Dresden University of Technology.

    about Elbflorace' project
  • Chain and belt drives

    Efficient development of chain and belt drives with virtual models

    Belt and chain drives transmit torque through translational movements from a drive to one or more output shafts. They are used in vehicles, agricultural and construction machinery, tools and processing machinery, but also in home appliances, such as washing machines and lawn mowers. Chains and belts transmit rotational movements and the induced torque fluctuations from one shaft to another. In contrast to gears and shafts, chains and belts cannot transmit compressive force.

    Modeling belt drives

    Especially sudden deceleration can cause the belt to lose tension or jump off the drive pulley. If the torque at the drive pulley increases abruptly, the torque can at worst no longer be transmitted through traction. As a consequence, the belt begins to slip. With the help of simulation software, you can analyze quickly and reliably occurring vibrations in the belt, determine whether the belt meets its desired functionality and examine its influence on the transmission behavior of the entire powertrain. The obtained data helps you answer a wide range of questions including:

    • What impact does the belt drive have on the powertrain’s overall behavior (also with respect to its damping characteristics)?
    • Can the belt transmit the desired torque?
    • How does the belt react to torque fluctuations?
    • How does the belt behave during disastrous situations and emergency shutdowns?
    • Is there any risk of the belt losing tension or jumping off the drive pulley?
    • What loads and strand forces occur within the belt?
    • Is there any risk of the belt to snap?
    • What lifespan can I expect for the belt based on the occurring loads?
    25 years of multiphysics simulation expertise

    You are looking for an independent partner with a mutual understanding to discuss strategies for concrete development projects? ESI ITI’s engineers are there for you. 

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    Also beginners can solve challenging multiphysics tasks fast and spot on with SimulationX

    The simulation software offers ready-to-use application packages for many typical development tasks, such as modeling and simulating drive systems.

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    Controlled drive systems

    Efficient development and testing of controlled drive systems

    In order to shorten production cycles while maintaining a high quality level, feed axes in turning and milling machines as well as machine centers must be aligned fast and precisely. This requires a sensitive control structure. For the best results, it is vital that controllers and mechanical parts work flawlessly together in order to achieve a stable system and the required performance.

    Using control engineering for active vibration damping compared to passive damping has the advantage of minimized energy losses throughout the entire drive system. Also traction control systems for vehicles and belt conveyors combine control engineering and drive technology closely. By analyzing different layouts through a simulation model in a convenient fashion, you are able to test control strategies for optimized, controlled drive systems very efficiently. Moreover, you can also test fast and easily the interactions between your control units and algorithms for different load cases and product configurations.

    Hybrid drives

    Optimized operating strategies for hybrid drives

    In electric-hybrid powertrains, it is not only the mechanical behavior that is of interest, but especially the optimal operating strategy. In addition to that, there are questions about the necessary properties of the energy storage and energy supply, for example through overhead lines or induction loops:

    • What configuration of combustion engine and electric motor fits the given operating profile best?
    • How big does the energy storage have to be?
    • How much energy must be provided within what time frame from the battery or through overhead lines?
    • What is the best operating strategy for charging and discharging cycles of the batteries or between the electric motor and the combustion engine?

    System simulation for hybrid drive systems helps you find the right answers to these questions. Test a great number of different configurations and load cases in no time. Determine the best layout of your system components and find the most economical operating strategy for your hybrid drive.

    Experts for powertrain simulation across all indutries

    BorgWarner, Getrag, Hoerbiger, Lenze, LuK, ZF and many others simulate and optimize drive systems through multiphysics simulation.

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