Case Study

National research university trains mechatronics experts for the industry

Samara State Aerospace University (Mechatronics)

Graduate and postgraduate students at Samara State Aerospace University learn multidomain modeling

Mechatronics, a new training trend

Over the past decade, Samara State Aerospace University (SSAU) has been integrating research into the academic process to improve education quality and introduce advanced technologies to students. The university maintains its high ranking as a leading Russian educational and research center through long-term research traditions, recognized academics, and available facilities. The school proactively participates in local and federal research programs and develops international partnerships.

As manufacturing companies implement new technologies, they need more-skilled and better-educated university graduates. Advanced products integrate hydraulics, pneumatics, mechanical, electrical, electronic, and software components, so there is a demand for experts in mechatronics. Mechatronics is a new field of technology dealing with the development and operations of computer-controlled systems and equipment. Mechatronic systems are used extensively in aerospace, shipbuilding, automotive, oil and gas, and energy industries. Following this trend, SSAU established a new mechatronics and robotics major within the school’s industrial automation program.

Advanced modeling tools for education

The new course of study required new facilities. The university has installed modern equipment in the labs and purchased many software products, including LMS™ solutions from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software.

“A modern product development process takes a lot of effort because products are getting more and more complicated,” says Anton Sinyakov, junior researcher in the department of Automated Energy Systems, SSAU. “In addition to conventional pneumatic and hydraulic systems, now there are new computerized control systems. To develop such integrated products we need advanced software systems. They make the manufacturing simple, fast and cost-efficient. That is why multidisciplinary modeling has become a crucial part of innovation.”

Research and academic activities in the department of Automated Energy Systems are aimed at solving complex engineering dynamics and vibroacoustics problems. It is a major area of research within the University’s initiative to enhance its global rankings.

In 2010, the university raised funds to develop its laboratories. It purchased measuring equipment and licensed seats of LMS Imagine.Lab Amesim™ software, LMS Test.Lab™ software, and LMS™ Test.Xpress software. “With Siemens PLM Software’s solutions for pneumatic and hydraulic system analysis, noise, vibration and oscillation studies, we continue the research in the same areas we began our studies in more than 30 years ago,” says Professor Asgat Gimatdiyev, department of Automated Energy Systems, SSAU.

The primary reasons for selecting LMS Amesim were the software’s capability for performing multidisciplinary modeling of mechatronic systems, its wide range of libraries and data analysis tools, and its simple and intuitive user experience. Another important factor was that the platform can rapidly evaluate system behavior without the hassle of developing new models of the system’s components. LMS Amesim produces models based on the laws of physics without requiring complete 3D definitions. This approach facilitates simulation of smart systems behavior long before the detailed CAD geometry is available.

Lately, a growing number of Russian aerospace and automobile companies have been deploying LMS Amesim as a standard system modeling environment. Among them are Irkut, Aviaagregat, Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation, Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, Moscow Helicopter Company, KAMAZ and AutoVAZ. SSAU experts are confident that mastering LMS Imagine.Lab Amesim is a way to enhance the competency of graduates since these skills are welcomed in many companies.

Integration into the academic process

In 2012, SSAU faculty members began learning the new software in order to incorporate it into academic and research activities. Novatest, a Siemens PLM Software solution partner, helped with the training. Between 2013 and 2015, LMS Amesim was introduced into the academic process. Graduate students had a chance to learn the system in the Mechatronics Fundamentals and Internal Combustion Engines elective courses. The lectures and seminars have been developed from the tutorial aids and other materials provided by Novatest at its training sessions for the students and faculty members.

The faculty members of the department of Automated Energy Systems have also authored their own tutorials to help the students learn how to use LMS Amesim. For example, in 2014, SSAU published the digital tutorial, LMS Imagine.Lab Amesim: an Efficient Tool for Dynamic Process Modeling in Mechatronics Systems. It covers the basics, gives general information, presents process analysis workflows and tools, and includes system modeling case studies. The hydraulic components library is discussed in detail. The tutorial is being tested by SSAU’s graduate and postgraduate students as they work on their research projects.

Research projects and education

At SSAU, LMS Amesim is extensively used both in research and academic activities to solve various engineering dynamics and vibroacoustics problems. More than 10 projects have been completed with the solutions from Siemens PLM Software. The research results are ready for implementation or have already been implemented at many domestic manufacturing companies.

The projects include a study of a pneumatic drive proportional solenoid valve throughput and speed; a study of the dynamic properties of pneumatic positioners for various control valve configurations; a pneumatic-driven Stewart platform (hexapod) dynamics modeling for 6 degrees of freedom (DOF) with LMS Amesim 3D kinematics; a fuel pipeline properties analysis for rocket pitch stability; a mathematical model of energy-efficient discrete hydraulic systems and drives; development of a model of a nozzle with a spray condition sensor; design of a fast piezo-driven nozzle with a direct drive ultralight needle; modeling a testbed for comparative studies of passive dampers and adjustable stiffness dampers; and modeling of a sluice lock hydraulic drive to optimize its parameters.

As to the academic process, an optional course in LMS Amesim has been tested for undergraduate and graduate students who want to improve their skills and get better jobs. More than 50 students have attended the course thus far. Modern manufacturing companies need these experts, because of the convergence of digital design and physical testing. Following the trend, Siemens PLM Software offers mechatronics modeling software for studying system behavior in many domains. Only experts with extensive knowledge and specialized training can efficiently use such innovative tools.

Plans and prospects

At SSAU, the multidisciplinary modeling tools from Siemens PLM Software will be used primarily at the department of Automated Energy Systems for research and education. The faculty members are confident that learning the system promotes better skills and improves the education quality in general. For this reason the university has extended its LMS Imagine.Lab Amesim academic license.

In 2016, the school will offer a new course on working with LMS Amesim. “A new course means new tutorials,” says Sinyakov. “We plan to purchase tutorials on LMS Amesim from Siemens PLM Software that are suitable for our activities, and using these tutorials we will develop our lectures and lab classes.”

Quality is the reason for the success of LMS Amesim at SSAU. Its capabilities include multidisciplinary modeling of mechatronic systems, a wide range of proven libraries and modules, a simple and intuitive user experience, and extended integration features. All of these tools help solve the most exciting and difficult theoretical and applied problems.

Support from Siemens PLM Software and its partners has also contributed significantly. The availability of technical support and finding new ways of partnership shape an environment for long-term and productive relations.

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