Commenced in January 2007
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Introductory Design Optimisation of a Machine Tool using a Virtual Machine Concept

Authors: Johan Wall, Johan Fredin, Anders Jönsson, Göran Broman


Designing modern machine tools is a complex task. A simulation tool to aid the design work, a virtual machine, has therefore been developed in earlier work. The virtual machine considers the interaction between the mechanics of the machine (including structural flexibility) and the control system. This paper exemplifies the usefulness of the virtual machine as a tool for product development. An optimisation study is conducted aiming at improving the existing design of a machine tool regarding weight and manufacturing accuracy at maintained manufacturing speed. The problem can be categorised as constrained multidisciplinary multiobjective multivariable optimisation. Parameters of the control and geometric quantities of the machine are used as design variables. This results in a mix of continuous and discrete variables and an optimisation approach using a genetic algorithm is therefore deployed. The accuracy objective is evaluated according to international standards. The complete systems model shows nondeterministic behaviour. A strategy to handle this based on statistical analysis is suggested. The weight of the main moving parts is reduced by more than 30 per cent and the manufacturing accuracy is improvement by more than 60 per cent compared to the original design, with no reduction in manufacturing speed. It is also shown that interaction effects exist between the mechanics and the control, i.e. this improvement would most likely not been possible with a conventional sequential design approach within the same time, cost and general resource frame. This indicates the potential of the virtual machine concept for contributing to improved efficiency of both complex products and the development process for such products. Companies incorporating such advanced simulation tools in their product development could thus improve its own competitiveness as well as contribute to improved resource efficiency of society at large.

Keywords: Machine tools, Mechatronics, Non-deterministic, Optimisation, Product development, Virtual machine

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