Many companies have products with a motion component such as vehicles or machines (or their combination, i.e. for automated mobile working). We perform research into how we can develop and validate cost-efficient, better-performing and energy-efficient electro-mechanical motion products that last longer and can be customised to the needs of their clients.
Major improvements in motion products will be achieved by new architectures that include emerging electromechanical components, smart sensing & control, and digital twins. For motion products with multiple coordinated motions, further improvements can be achieved through the smart coordination of these motions and better trade-offs between individually driven and mechanically coupled architectures.
The European Union has set itself and its member states ambitious targets when it comes to reducing the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and introducing renewable energy sources. Transport and industry are not only important for our economic prosperity, they are also by far our major energy spenders. Together, they account for about two third of our overall consumption.
Our research focuses on supporting companies that are active in the machine and vehicle industry. We not only help them to save energy in a cost-effective way but also to anticipate global industry trends. This helps them to successfully launch new products and services onto the market.
Why this research?
Vehicles & machines must become increasingly eco-friendly, be permanently connected with one another, work all the time (zero defect) and be tailored to individual customer needs. An important part of our research focuses on the creation of electric and hybrid powertrains. Profit is double: they consume less energy and also re-use energy that would otherwise go lost. In this way, we contribute to greener and more energy-efficient vehicles and machines.
Industry 4.0, Internet-of-Things, Machines-as-a-Service, ... companies face quite a number of shifts in the way their products work and in how they should be marketed. Years ago, Rolls-Royce developed a new business model that no longer focuses on the sale of aircraft engines but on the number of flight hours, i.e. on the service they deliver. Meanwhile, offering machines, vehicles or even production ‘as a service’ has become an established concept in the industry. However, because of the multitude of new technological components and systems, it is quite difficult to set up the right architecture. We investigate how these new technologies can lead to improved motion system architectures.
Soon, self-driving cars will be a common sight on our roads. Many companies are active on specialised self-driving niche markets such as public transport, private transport, event transport, vehicles for emergency services, cleaning vehicles, garbage trucks, fork-lift trucks, lawn mowers, agricultural vehicles, etc. The challenge is to develop them in such a way that they are not only safe but can also take autonomous decisions.
Concrete research objectives
Our research follows global industry trends of ever Increased Performance per unit of total cost and Products Tailored to Customer needs. We specifically focus on:
- New electric drivetrains with emerging electromechanical technologies, e.g.
- New electric motors
- Wide band gap power electronics
- Advanced drive train cooling
- Magnetic springs
- Solid state batteries
- Making sensing and control smarter to reduce the size of components and improve their performance
- Combining physical and digital twins to optimise operation
- Improving performance through the smarter coordination of several motions
- Combined physical & virtual validation of motion products
For all companies that are actively willing to optimise their system architecture and validation capacities.
Questions? Contact the cluster manager
Marc Engels - Clustermanager Motion Products - Flanders Make