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Case Study

University uses LMS solutions to develop Russia’s first virtual shaker test procedure

South Ural State University

Siemens PLM Software solutions enable South Ural State University to establish an innovative approach to testing complex components

Supporting complex product development

South Ural State University is one of the largest Russian universities, and is among the country’s top 10 schools according to the Russian Ministry of Science and Education. In 2010, the university was awarded national research university status, and granted access to public financing for research programs supporting the manufacturing of advanced, mission-critical products for the aerospace and automotive industries. The university has developed excellent research and development (R&D) capabilities available through its Experimental Mechanics Research and Education Center.

The Experimental Mechanics Research and Education Center was established in 2012. Now the Center mostly supports the university’s joint projects with industrial companies in the field of components testing, computational dynamics and strength analysis carried out under federal action programs and Russian government directives. The Center’s experts believe their primary objective is rendering professional experimental research services to support complex product development.

Enhancing the university’s capabilities

The major reason the university purchased licensed seats of the advanced LMS solutions was the drive to further develop the university’s capabilities by obtaining the latest equipment and technologies.

“As we considered the testing of mission-critical products that require excellent skill and fine-tuning, the LMS capabilities could hardly be overestimated,” says Dr. Pavel Taranenko, director of the Experimental Mechanics Research and Education Center at South Ural State University.

Various computer-aided engineering (CAE) solutions are used by the university’s departments for finite element (FE) modeling.

“We were very interested in the unparalleled multi-domain 3D modeling and virtual testing capabilities available in the LMS™ suite from Siemens PLM Software,” says Pavel Taranenko. “LMS supports a combination of analysis and physical testing that their competitors do not offer. As we considered what hardware and software to choose, we looked forward to cooperating with aerospace companies in which the LMS suite could be used. The basic concept is that the Experimental Mechanics Research and Education Center would solve a number of problems related to aircraft ground frequency response tests. One of the customers would be the Makeev National Missile Design Center in Miass.”

As the university developed its requirements, the school’s research council approved it, and a bid was announced. There was a competitive bidding process to select a hardware and software vendor. The winner was OOO Novatest, a company that had already successfully cooperated with South Ural State University. It supplied the following equipment and software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software: four shakers, LMS SCADAS™ hardware with a measurement system and sensors, modal vibration generators, LMS Test.Lab™ software for closed-loop vibration control testing system, LMS™ Test.Xpress software, LMS Virtual.Lab™ software and LMS Imagine.Lab Amesim™ software.

“Back then I had just a vague idea about the system’s capabilities,” says Pavel Taranenko. “I gradually learned more and more about it. Today, I see it not just as a unit that combines computational analysis and physical testing, but as a new approach to product development.”

Virtual shaker testing procedure

The researchers at the Experimental Mechanics Research and Education Center realized it would be unwise to buy the expensive equipment and software and not to fully master it. For this reason the university purchased not only the advanced hardware and the software, but also hands-on training from LMS™ Engineering services. The Experimental Mechanics Research and Education Center’s experts have made three visits to Siemens PLM Software’s LMS headquarters in Louvain, Belgium, to learn how to use LMS technologies in the aerospace industry. The training and a virtual shaker project implemented jointly with LMS have helped them master the modal analysis methods; the LMS Test.Lab™ modules for sine, random, and impact shaking tests; and basic LMS Virtual.Lab capabilities. In addition, the Experimental Mechanics Research and Education Center’s scientists have developed Russia‘s first virtual shaker test procedure for the most complex products.

The procedure is based on advanced Siemens PLM Software technologies, which are not available from Russian vendors. The development of the new procedure is an emerging approach to modeling and testing, which is new to Russia.

“Our procedure is intended for shake testing of mission-critical and high-priced structures in which physical testing can be costly since any damage to the product being tested is very expensive,” says Pavel Taranenko. “For example, consider a satellite. Prior to launch it needs to undergo shaker qualification tests. It would be very bad if it were damaged during testing since there is only one unit.”

The Experimental Mechanics Research and Education Center’s researchers are the first team in Russia to master the virtual shaker testing procedure. A good correlation between the physical testing results (an actual sine shaker test with frequency sweeping) and the virtual modeling results (a 3D product-shaker-control system model) shows that the developed model is correct. The analysis model combines a modal shaker model (a set of experimentally identified frequency response functions), a product finite element method (FEM) model, a shaker’s electromechanical components model and a shaker controller model. Each of the subsystems has been verified against the physical testing results. All this greatly improves the analysis model accuracy in terms of matching frequency responses measured with physical testing.

“Since it was a joint experiment performed at our facility, we mastered the modal analysis technology and gained hands-on experience with experimental natural frequency and mode identification in various structures,” says Pavel Taranenko. “Efficient learning is only achieved by solving a real-life problem.”

The virtual shaker tests have helped the company to avoid the major problem associated with physical tests, such as random factors. Suddenly, for some reason, a shaker test may go wrong, the product may encounter unacceptably high-vibration acceleration and may be damaged. Also, when the product being tested is as heavy as the shaker, it forms a new product-shaker coupled system with unknown dynamic properties. So its behavior is unpredictable in physical tests. Finally, there is the human factor and errors made by the shaker operator.

What’s next?

Companies that are going to use the procedure should realize that the proposed approach takes a lot of tedious effort. “I can only imagine it as a joint project,” says Pavel Taranenko. “Our expertise will be combined with the domain-specific knowledge of the product developers.”

South Ural State University has executed a number of commercial projects with AO UralTransMash, AO SKB Turbina and PAO KAMAZ. The results clearly confirm the efficiency of Siemens PLM Software’s technologies and their applications.

For instance, now the researchers are working on a dynamic model of a vehicle and its subsystems. The model is to be developed early in the design stage. It is a joint project with PAO KAMAZ.

The LMS suite enables South Ural State University to work on advanced projects for the Russian industry, and the ongoing research activities start with undergraduate projects and go all the way to doctorate theses.

“I’m confident the Experimental Mechanics Research and Education Center will be able to further expand its mutually beneficial cooperation with the industry in the field of virtual and physical testing,” concludes Pavel Taranenko.

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