Title: Automation of flexible components virtual prototyping: methodology, tools and validation

Authors: Roberto Raffaeli, Marco Mandolini, Michele Germani

Addresses: Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanics, Polytechnic University of Marche, via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy. ' Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanics, Polytechnic University of Marche, via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy. ' Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanics, Polytechnic University of Marche, via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy

Abstract: 3D CAD systems are powerful tools for modelling rigid bodies but they are not adequate in order to model flexible material components, especially if a realistic simulation of physical behaviour is required as in virtual prototyping. This paper describes the methodology used to develop a knowledge-based system in order to automatically create virtual prototypes of uniaxial flexible components like cables, pipes and wires. The method has been translated in an operative design software system for metallic-reinforced elastomer hoses. The resulting VP tool integrates the 3D CAD technology and suitable structural simulation methods. The robustness of software system has been verified and errors are assessed. A dedicated experimental set-up has been realised in order to compare the virtual results with the real component behaviour. The system has been applied in the design of multifunctional agricultural machines showing reduction of physical prototypes and the lead-time due.

Keywords: virtual prototyping; knowledge-based design; FEM; finite element method; simulation; flexible components; component design; component; modelling; elastomer hoses; hose design; product design.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2010.032610

Journal of Design Research, 2010 Vol.8 No.3, pp.272 - 297

Available online: 08 Apr 2010 *

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