Simulation in Mechanics

In order for all mechanical parts to run smoothly, all components and drive systems need to work in perfect balance.

Fewer prototypes through simulation

Vibratory mechanical assemblies can be found in many plants and machines. CAE engineers analyze and calculate not only vibrational behavior from periodic excitation, but also the impact-induced dynamic behavior of mechanical sub-systems as well as bearing forces and the functional reliability of the design. To keep it all manageable and economical, computer software for simulating mechanical systems is the way to go.

The task at hand

Virtual simulation and analysis of mechanical components

In almost all areas, mechanical components must meet the highest safety and efficiency requirements, while remaining inexpensive to produce. Besides drive technology, there are plenty of other applications fields where mechanical systems play a crucial role, such as:

  • Steering gear
  • Running gear of vehicles and landing gear of aircrafts
  • Bowden cable systems
  • Belt drives and hoisting gear (e.g. in cranes and conveyor systems)
  • Closing and locking mechanisms (e.g. doors, trunk lids and safety systems) • Kinematics (e.g. in excavator arms)
  • Mechanisms in agricultural and textile machinery (e.g. coupled gear and disk cam mechanisms)

They consist of different mechanical elements:

  • Shafts and axes
  • Toothed gearing, coupled gear and disk cam mechanisms
  • Bowden cables
  • Elastic structures
  • Joints and couplings
  • Spring and vibration dampers

In many cases, mechanical assemblies are driven by electric motors as well as hydraulic and pneumatic actuators. To guarantee the desired mechanical functions, all components and their drive must be perfectly adjusted to one another. For this purpose, it is indispensable to check for excitations in the drive system and for resonances in the mechanical system. That is why CAE engineers analyze a number of properties, such as fatigue and the influence of friction on each of the assemblies and on the system as whole. Determining loads, peak loads and friction losses through mechanical simulation provides a reliable basis for the selection of appropriate drives and actuators and allows for conclusions on how to dimension the individual mechanical components.

The solution

Modelling and simulation in mechanical applications

With simulation software, you can develop and analyze mechanical parts and assemblies in an economical, safe and fast manner. Check the required movements already during the development phase and determine occurring forces, moments and vibrations. System simulation gives you direct feedback from the interactions of the mechanical systems with other physical domains.

  • Mechanical simulation in the development of Bowden cables at BMW

    Fast and easy visualization of specific Bowden cable characteristics in a physically correct simulation model that comes close to reality.

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    The benefits

    Mechanical simulation for higher performance of stationary and mobile machinery

    Higher speed and better precision of stationary and mobile machines cannot be achieved by simply increasing the drive’s power. Higher power ratings must also meet safety and reliability standards. So it is necessary to analyze what impact high-performance powertrains may have on connected mechanical assemblies. Due to resonant frequencies and combined loads, the resulting forces may grow disproportionately in bearings, for example, despite the same design. A simulation reveals problematic load cases at an early stage and provides information on acting forces. On this basis, you can make appropriate design improvements and check their effects directly in the model.

    Complex movements under control with mechanical simulation

    Whether for extending or retracting a plane’s landing gear, or for robotic arms or processing operations in assembly lines – elaborate mechanics allow for highly complex movements in very confined spaces. The more complex the movement is, the more sophisticated the design becomes and the more difficult it is to determine the transmission ratio of forces and torques. A simulation model enables you to try and test your design ideas with ease: fast, inexpensive and free of risk. Optimization analyses based on a system model help identify the parameters with the largest impact on an assembly’s properties. Automated variation calculations on that basis allow you to quickly and conveniently find the most appropriate configuration.

    Speed up your development in automotive engineering through mechanical simulation

    Beyond the automotive industry, OEMs expect the highest quality for the supplied components. Testing and simulation in the vehicle development ensure proper functionality of your systems.

    Besides reliability and safety, the vehicle’s comfort is an important criterion for a customer's purchase decision. Driving comfort and safe performance are largely influenced by the chassis’s damping properties. Vibrations from the engine and powertrain as well as road shocks are transmitted through the chassis and engine gearbox mounting into the passenger compartment. Also the wheel-ground contact is largely influenced by the chassis. You can simulate and optimize a vehicle’s driving comfort on the basis of a system model comprising the powertrain as well as the elastic and damping properties of the wheel suspension and engine mount.

    Bowden cables as used in engine hoods, doors and tailgates can be excited by vibrations in the car body and come into contact with adjacent parts and thus cause rattling noises. A virtual model allows you to simulate the motion of excited Bowden cable as well as the force required for actuation. These results will help you ensure the desired functionality at minimum costs, especially in high-volume production.

    The mechanisms of a drum brake with automatic adjuster must work reliably both in forward and reverse gear and as parking brake even under temperature changes. If the mechanical simulation model includes the temperature-dependent mechanical properties, you can use them to analyze the impact of design parameters on the braking behavior under varying ambient conditions. This reduces the amount of prototype testing considerably.

    In a power window, the mechanical parts, the geared servomotor and the control system work hand in hand. Besides reliable operation, it is important to guarantee its safety through an auto-reverse system. A software for system simulation is used not only for verifying the design in the development phase, but also for optimization calculations. Such analyses help you find the optimum design parameters on an automated basis.

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