Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering

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Smart manufacturing systems for Industry 4.0: Conceptual framework, scenarios, and future perspectives
Pai ZHENG, Honghui WANG, Zhiqian SANG, Ray Y. ZHONG, Yongkui LIU, Chao LIU, Khamdi MUBAROK, Shiqiang YU, Xun XU
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (2): 137-150.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (652KB)

Information and communication technology is undergoing rapid development, and many disruptive technologies, such as cloud computing, Internet of Things, big data, and artificial intelligence, have emerged. These technologies are permeating the manufacturing industry and enable the fusion of physical and virtual worlds through cyber-physical systems (CPS), which mark the advent of the fourth stage of industrial production (i.e., Industry 4.0). The widespread application of CPS in manufacturing environments renders manufacturing systems increasingly smart. To advance research on the implementation of Industry 4.0, this study examines smart manufacturing systems for Industry 4.0. First, a conceptual framework of smart manufacturing systems for Industry 4.0 is presented. Second, demonstrative scenarios that pertain to smart design, smart machining, smart control, smart monitoring, and smart scheduling, are presented. Key technologies and their possible applications to Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing systems are reviewed based on these demonstrative scenarios. Finally, challenges and future perspectives are identified and discussed.

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Comprehensive analysis of the influence of structural and dynamic parameters on the accuracy of nano-precision positioning stages
Chengyuan LIANG, Fang YUAN, Xuedong CHEN, Wei JIANG, Lizhan ZENG, Xin LUO
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (3): 255-272.
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Nano-precision positioning stages are characterized by rigid-flexible coupling systems. The complex dynamic characteristics of mechanical structure of a stage, which are determined by structural and dynamic parameters, exert a serious influence on the accuracy of its motion and measurement. Systematic evaluation of such influence is essential for the design and improvement of stages. A systematic approach to modeling the dynamic accuracy of a nano-precision positioning stage is developed in this work by integrating a multi-rigid-body dynamic model of the mechanical system and measurement system models. The influence of structural and dynamic parameters, including aerostatic bearing configurations, motion plane errors, foundation vibrations, and positions of the acting points of driving forces, on dynamic accuracy is investigated by adopting the H-type configured stage as an example. The approach is programmed and integrated into a software framework that supports the dynamic design of nano-precision positioning stages. The software framework is then applied to the design of a nano-precision positioning stage used in a packaging lithography machine.

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Model-based nonlinear control of hydraulic servo systems: Challenges, developments and perspectives
Jianyong YAO
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (2): 179-210.
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Hydraulic servo system plays a significant role in industries, and usually acts as a core point in control and power transmission. Although linear theory-based control methods have been well established, advanced controller design methods for hydraulic servo system to achieve high performance is still an unending pursuit along with the development of modern industry. Essential nonlinearity is a unique feature and makes model-based nonlinear control more attractive, due to benefit from prior knowledge of the servo valve controlled hydraulic system. In this paper, a discussion for challenges in model-based nonlinear control, latest developments and brief perspectives of hydraulic servo systems are presented: Modelling uncertainty in hydraulic system is a major challenge, which includes parametric uncertainty and time-varying disturbance; some specific requirements also arise ad hoc difficulties such as nonlinear friction during low velocity tracking, severe disturbance, periodic disturbance, etc.; to handle various challenges, nonlinear solutions including parameter adaptation, nonlinear robust control, state and disturbance observation, backstepping design and so on, are proposed and integrated, theoretical analysis and lots of applications reveal their powerful capability to solve pertinent problems; and at the end, some perspectives and associated research topics (measurement noise, constraints, inner valve dynamics, input nonlinearity, etc.) in nonlinear hydraulic servo control are briefly explored and discussed.

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Non-stationary signal analysis based on general parameterized time--frequency transform and its application in the feature extraction of a rotary machine
Peng ZHOU, Zhike PENG, Shiqian CHEN, Yang YANG, Wenming ZHANG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (2): 292-300.
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With the development of large rotary machines for faster and more integrated performance, the condition monitoring and fault diagnosis for them are becoming more challenging. Since the time-frequency (TF) pattern of the vibration signal from the rotary machine often contains condition information and fault feature, the methods based on TF analysis have been widely-used to solve these two problems in the industrial community. This article introduces an effective non-stationary signal analysis method based on the general parameterized time–frequency transform (GPTFT). The GPTFT is achieved by inserting a rotation operator and a shift operator in the short-time Fourier transform. This method can produce a high-concentrated TF pattern with a general kernel. A multi-component instantaneous frequency (IF) extraction method is proposed based on it. The estimation for the IF of every component is accomplished by defining a spectrum concentration index (SCI). Moreover, such an IF estimation process is iteratively operated until all the components are extracted. The tests on three simulation examples and a real vibration signal demonstrate the effectiveness and superiority of our method.

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An adaptive data-driven method for accurate prediction of remaining useful life of rolling bearings
Yanfeng PENG, Junsheng CHENG, Yanfei LIU, Xuejun LI, Zhihua PENG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (2): 301-310.
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A novel data-driven method based on Gaussian mixture model (GMM) and distance evaluation technique (DET) is proposed to predict the remaining useful life (RUL) of rolling bearings. The data sets are clustered by GMM to divide all data sets into several health states adaptively and reasonably. The number of clusters is determined by the minimum description length principle. Thus, either the health state of the data sets or the number of the states is obtained automatically. Meanwhile, the abnormal data sets can be recognized during the clustering process and removed from the training data sets. After obtaining the health states, appropriate features are selected by DET for increasing the classification and prediction accuracy. In the prediction process, each vibration signal is decomposed into several components by empirical mode decomposition. Some common statistical parameters of the components are calculated first and then the features are clustered using GMM to divide the data sets into several health states and remove the abnormal data sets. Thereafter, appropriate statistical parameters of the generated components are selected using DET. Finally, least squares support vector machine is utilized to predict the RUL of rolling bearings. Experimental results indicate that the proposed method reliably predicts the RUL of rolling bearings.

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Progress in terahertz nondestructive testing: A review
Shuncong ZHONG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (3): 273-281.
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Terahertz (THz) waves, whose frequencies range between microwave and infrared, are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. A gap exists in THz literature because investigating THz waves is difficult due to the weak characteristics of the waves and the lack of suitable THz sources and detectors. Recently, THz nondestructive testing (NDT) technology has become an interesting topic. This review outlines several typical THz devices and systems and engineering applications of THz NDT techniques in composite materials, thermal barrier coatings, car paint films, marine protective coatings, and pharmaceutical tablet coatings. THz imaging has higher resolution but lower penetration than ultrasound imaging. This review presents the significance and advantages provided by the emerging THz NDT technique.

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Creative design inspired by biological knowledge: Technologies and methods
Runhua TAN, Wei LIU, Guozhong CAO, Yuan SHI
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (1): 1-14.
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Biological knowledge is becoming an important source of inspiration for developing creative solutions to engineering design problems and even has a huge potential in formulating ideas that can help firms compete successfully in a dynamic market. To identify the technologies and methods that can facilitate the development of biologically inspired creative designs, this research briefly reviews the existing biological-knowledge-based theories and methods and examines the application of biological-knowledge-inspired designs in various fields. Afterward, this research thoroughly examines the four dimensions of key technologies that underlie the biologically inspired design (BID) process. This research then discusses the future development trends of the BID process before presenting the conclusions.

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Motion control of multi-actuator hydraulic systems for mobile machineries: Recent advancements and future trends
Bing XU, Min CHENG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (2): 151-166.
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This paper presents a survey of recent advancements and upcoming trends in motion control technologies employed in designing multi-actuator hydraulic systems for mobile machineries. Hydraulic systems have been extensively used in mobile machineries due to their superior power density and robustness. However, motion control technologies of multi-actuator hydraulic systems have faced increasing challenges due to stringent emission regulations. In this study, an overview of the evolution of existing throttling control technologies is presented, including open-center and load sensing controls. Recent advancements in energy-saving hydraulic technologies, such as individual metering, displacement, and hybrid controls, are briefly summarized. The impact of energy-saving hydraulic technologies on dynamic performance and control solutions are also discussed. Then, the advanced operation methods of multi-actuator mobile machineries are reviewed, including coordinated and haptic controls. Finally, challenges and opportunities of advanced motion control technologies are presented by providing an overall consideration of energy efficiency, controllability, cost, reliability, and other aspects.

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Creep-fatigue crack growth behavior in GH4169 superalloy
Dianyin HU, Xiyuan WANG, Jianxing MAO, Rongqiao WANG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (3): 369-376.
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This study aims to examine the crack growth behavior of turbine disc GH4169 superalloy under creep-fatigue loading. Crack growth experiments were performed on compact tension specimens using trapezoidal waveform with dwell time at the maximum load at 650 °C. The crack growth rate of GH4169 superalloy significantly increased with dwell time. The grain boundaries oxidize during the dwell process, thereby inducing an intergranular creep-fatigue fracture mode. In addition, testing data under the same dwell time showed scattering at the crack growth rate. Consequently, a modified model based on the Saxena equation was proposed by introducing a distribution factor for the crack growth rate. Microstructural observation confirmed that the small grain size and high volume fraction of the d phase led to a fast creep-fatigue crack growth rate at 650 °C, thus indicating that two factors, namely, fine grain and presence of the d phase at the grain boundary, increased the amount of weakened interface at high temperature, in which intergranular cracks may form and propagate.

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Electromagnetic interference modeling and suppression techniques in variable-frequency drive systems
Le YANG, Shuo WANG, Jianghua FENG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (3): 329-353.
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Electromagnetic interference (EMI) causes electromechanical damage to the motors and degrades the reliability of variable-frequency drive (VFD) systems. Unlike fundamental frequency components in motor drive systems, high-frequency EMI noise, coupled with the parasitic parameters of the trough system, are difficult to analyze and reduce. In this article, EMI modeling techniques for different function units in a VFD system, including induction motors, motor bearings, and rectifier-inverters, are reviewed and evaluated in terms of applied frequency range, model parameterization, and model accuracy. The EMI models for the motors are categorized based on modeling techniques and model topologies. Motor bearing and shaft models are also reviewed, and techniques that are used to eliminate bearing current are evaluated. Modeling techniques for conventional rectifier-inverter systems are also summarized. EMI noise suppression techniques, including passive filter, Wheatstone bridge balance, active filter, and optimized modulation, are reviewed and compared based on the VFD system models.

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Connected morphable components-based multiscale topology optimization
Jiadong DENG, Claus B. W. PEDERSEN, Wei CHEN
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (2): 129-140.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (3079KB)

The advances of manufacturing techniques, such as additive manufacturing, have provided unprecedented opportunities for producing multiscale structures with intricate latticed/cellular material microstructures to meet the increasing demands for parts with customized functionalities. However, there are still difficulties for the state-of-the-art multiscale topology optimization (TO) methods to achieve manufacturable multiscale designs with cellular materials, partially due to the disconnectivity issue when tiling material microstructures. This paper attempts to address the disconnectivity issue by extending component-based TO methodology to multiscale structural design. An effective linkage scheme to guarantee smooth transitions between neighboring material microstructures (unit cells) is devised and investigated. Associated with the advantages of components-based TO, the number of design variables is greatly reduced in multiscale TO design. Homogenization is employed to calculate the effective material properties of the porous materials and to correlate the macro/structural scale with the micro/material scale. Sensitivities of the objective function with respect to the geometrical parameters of each component in each material microstructure have been derived using the adjoint method. Numerical examples demonstrate that multiscale structures with well-connected material microstructures or graded/layered material microstructures are realized.

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Tool path strategy and cutting process monitoring in intelligent machining
Ming CHEN, Chengdong WANG, Qinglong AN, Weiwei MING
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (2): 232-242.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (657KB)

Intelligent machining is a current focus in advanced manufacturing technology, and is characterized by high accuracy and efficiency. A central technology of intelligent machining—the cutting process online monitoring and optimization—is urgently needed for mass production. In this research, the cutting process online monitoring and optimization in jet engine impeller machining, cranio-maxillofacial surgery, and hydraulic servo valve deburring are introduced as examples of intelligent machining. Results show that intelligent tool path optimization and cutting process online monitoring are efficient techniques for improving the efficiency, quality, and reliability of machining.

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A brief review on key technologies in the battery management system of electric vehicles
Kailong LIU, Kang LI, Qiao PENG, Cheng ZHANG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (1): 47-64.
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Batteries have been widely applied in many high-power applications, such as electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles, where a suitable battery management system (BMS) is vital in ensuring safe and reliable operation of batteries. This paper aims to give a brief review on several key technologies of BMS, including battery modelling, state estimation and battery charging. First, popular battery types used in EVs are surveyed, followed by the introduction of key technologies used in BMS. Various battery models, including the electric model, thermal model and coupled electro-thermal model are reviewed. Then, battery state estimations for the state of charge, state of health and internal temperature are comprehensively surveyed. Finally, several key and traditional battery charging approaches with associated optimization methods are discussed.

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Modeling and optimization of an enhanced battery thermal management system in electric vehicles
Mao LI, Yuanzhi LIU, Xiaobang WANG, Jie ZHANG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (1): 65-75.
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This paper models and optimizes an air-based battery thermal management system (BTMS) in a battery module with 36 battery lithium-ion cells. A design of experiments is performed to study the effects of three key parameters (i.e., mass flow rate of cooling air, heat flux from the battery cell to the cooling air, and passage spacing size) on the battery thermal performance. Three metrics are used to evaluate the BTMS thermal performance, including (i) the maximum temperature in the battery module, (ii) the temperature uniformity in the battery module, and (iii) the pressure drop. It is found that (i) increasing the total mass flow rate may result in a more non-uniform distribution of the passage mass flow rate among passages, and (ii) a large passage spacing size may worsen the temperature uniformity on the battery walls. Optimization is also performed to optimize the passage spacing size. Results show that the maximum temperature difference of the cooling air in passages is reduced from 23.9 to 2.1 K by 91.2%, and the maximum temperature difference among the battery cells is reduced from 25.7 to 6.4 K by 75.1%.

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Cracking evolution behaviors of lightweight materials based on in situ synchrotron X-ray tomography: A review
Y. Luo, S. C. Wu, Y. N. Hu, Y. N. Fu
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (4): 461-481.
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Damage accumulation and failure behaviors are crucial concerns during the design and service of a critical component, leading researchers and engineers to thoroughly identifying the crack evolution. Third-generation synchrotron radiation X-ray computed microtomography can be used to detect the inner damage evolution of a large-density material or component. This paper provides a brief review of studying the crack initiation and propagation inside lightweight materials with advanced synchrotron three-dimensional (3D) X-ray imaging, such as aluminum materials. Various damage modes under both static and dynamic loading are elucidated for pure aluminum, aluminum alloy matrix, aluminum alloy metal matrix composite, and aluminum alloy welded joint. For aluminum alloy matrix, metallurgical defects (porosity, void, inclusion, precipitate, etc.) or artificial defects (notch, scratch, pit, etc.) strongly affect the crack initiation and propagation. For aluminum alloy metal matrix composites, the fracture occurs either from the particle debonding or voids at the particle/matrix interface, and the void evolution is closely related with fatigued cycles. For the hybrid laser welded aluminum alloy, fatigue cracks usually initiate from gas pores located at the surface or sub-surface and gradually propagate to a quarter ellipse or a typical semi-ellipse profile.

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Review of pantograph and catenary interaction
Weihua ZHANG, Dong ZOU, Mengying TAN, Ning ZHOU, Ruiping LI, Guiming MEI
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (2): 311-322.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (622KB)

The application of electrified railway directly promotes relevant studies on pantograph-catenary interaction. With the increase of train running speed, the operating conditions for pantograph and catenary have become increasingly complex. This paper reviews the related achievements contributed by groups and institutions around the world. This article specifically focuses on three aspects: The dynamic characteristics of the pantograph and catenary components, the systems’ dynamic properties, and the environmental influences on the pantograph-catenary interaction. In accordance with the existing studies, future research may prioritize the task of identifying the mechanism of contact force variation. This kind of study can be carried out by simplifying the pantograph-catenary interaction into a moving load problem and utilizing the theory of matching mechanical impedance. In addition, developing a computational platform that accommodates environmental interferences and multi-field coupling effects is necessary in order to further explore applications based on fundamental studies.

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Principle of maximum entropy for reliability analysis in the design of machine components
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (1): 21-32.
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We studied the reliability of machine components with parameters that follow an arbitrary statistical distribution using the principle of maximum entropy (PME). We used PME to select the statistical distribution that best fits the available information. We also established a probability density function (PDF) and a failure probability model for the parameters of mechanical components using the concept of entropy and the PME. We obtained the first four moments of the state function for reliability analysis and design. Furthermore, we attained an estimate of the PDF with the fewest human bias factors using the PME. This function was used to calculate the reliability of the machine components, including a connecting rod, a vehicle half-shaft, a front axle, a rear axle housing, and a leaf spring, which have parameters that typically follow a non-normal distribution. Simulations were conducted for comparison. This study provides a design methodology for the reliability of mechanical components for practical engineering projects.

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Fatigue crack initiation of magnesium alloys under elastic stress amplitudes: A review
B. J. WANG, D. K. XU, S. D. WANG, E. H. HAN
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (1): 113-127.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1520KB)

The most advantageous property of magnesium (Mg) alloys is their density, which is lower compared with traditional metallic materials. Mg alloys, considered the lightest metallic structural material among others, have great potential for applications as secondary load components in the transportation and aerospace industries. The fatigue evaluation of Mg alloys under elastic stress amplitudes is very important in ensuring their service safety and reliability. Given their hexagonal close packed structure, the fatigue crack initiation of Mg and its alloys is closely related to the deformation mechanisms of twinning and basal slips. However, for Mg alloys with shrinkage porosities and inclusions, fatigue cracks will preferentially initiate at these defects, remarkably reducing the fatigue lifetime. In this paper, some fundamental aspects about the fatigue crack initiation mechanisms of Mg alloys are reviewed, including the 3 followings: 1) Fatigue crack initiation of as-cast Mg alloys, 2) influence of microstructure on fatigue crack initiation of wrought Mg alloys, and 3) the effect of heat treatment on fatigue initiation mechanisms. Moreover, some unresolved issues and future target on the fatigue crack initiation mechanism of Mg alloys are also described.

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Influence of the field humiture environment on the mechanical properties of 316L stainless steel repaired with Fe314
Lianzhong ZHANG, Dichen LI, Shenping YAN, Ruidong XIE, Hongliang QU
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (4): 513-519.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (404KB)

The mechanical properties of 316L stainless steel repaired with Fe314 under different temperatures and humidities without inert gas protection were studied. Results indicated favorable compatibility between Fe314 and 316L stainless steel. The average yield strength, tensile strength, and sectional contraction percentage were higher in repaired samples than in 316L stainless steel, whereas the elongation rate was slightly lower. The different conditions of humiture environment on the repair sample exerted minimal influence on tensile and yield strengths. The Fe314 cladding layer was mainly composed of equiaxed grains and mixed with randomly oriented columnar crystal and tiny pores or impurities in the tissue. Results indicated that the hardness value of Fe314 cladding layer under different humiture environments ranged within 419–451.1 HV0.2. The field humiture environment also showed minimal impact on the average hardness of Fe314 cladding layers. Furthermore, 316L stainless steel can be repaired through laser cladding by using Fe314 powder without inert gas protection under different temperatures and humidity environments.

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Evaluation of the power consumption of a high-speed parallel robot
Gang HAN, Fugui XIE, Xin-Jun LIU
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (2): 167-178.
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An inverse dynamic model of a high-speed parallel robot is established based on the virtual work principle. With this dynamic model, a new evaluation method is proposed to measure the power consumption of the robot during pick-and-place tasks. The power vector is extended in this method and used to represent the collinear velocity and acceleration of the moving platform. Afterward, several dynamic performance indices, which are homogenous and possess obvious physical meanings, are proposed. These indices can evaluate the power input and output transmissibility of the robot in a workspace. The distributions of the power input and output transmissibility of the high-speed parallel robot are derived with these indices and clearly illustrated in atlases. Furtherly, a low-power-consumption workspace is selected for the robot.

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Recent development on innovation design of reconfigurable mechanisms in China
Wuxiang ZHANG, Shengnan LU, Xilun DING
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (1): 15-20.
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Reconfigurable mechanisms can deliberately reconfigure themselves by rearranging the connectivity of components to meet the different requirements of tasks. Metamorphic and origami-derived mechanisms are two kinds of typical reconfigurable mechanisms, which have attracted increasing attention in the field of mechanisms since they were proposed. Improving the independent design level, innovation, and international competitive powers of reconfigurable mechanical products is important. Summarizing related significant innovation research and application achievements periodically will shed light on research directions and promote academic exchanges. This paper presents an overview of recent developments in innovation design of reconfigurable mechanisms in China, including metamorphic and origami mechanisms and their typical applications. The future development trends are analyzed and forecasted.

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Experimental study of surface integrity and fatigue life in the face milling of Inconel 718
Xiangyu WANG, Chuanzhen HUANG, Bin ZOU, Guoliang LIU, Hongtao ZHU, Jun WANG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (2): 243-250.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (485KB)

The Inconel 718 alloy is widely used in the aerospace and power industries. The machining-induced surface integrity and fatigue life of this material are important factors for consideration due to high reliability and safety requirements. In this work, the milling of Inconel 718 was conducted at different cutting speeds and feed rates. Surface integrity and fatigue life were measured directly. The effects of cutting speed and feed rate on surface integrity and their further influences on fatigue life were analyzed. Within the chosen parameter range, the cutting speed barely affected the surface roughness, whereas the feed rate increased the surface roughness through the ideal residual height. The surface hardness increased as the cutting speed and feed rate increased. Tensile residual stress was observed on the machined surface, which showed improvement with the increasing feed rate. The cutting speed was not an influencing factor on fatigue life, but the feed rate affected fatigue life through the surface roughness. The high surface roughness resulting from the high feed rate could result in a high stress concentration factor and lead to a low fatigue life.

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Finite element modeling of counter-roller spinning for large-sized aluminum alloy cylindrical parts
Dawei ZHANG, Fan LI, Shuaipeng LI, Shengdun ZHAO
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (3): 351-357.
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Counter-roller spinning (CRS), where the mandrel is replaced by rollers, is an effective means of manufacturing large-sized, thin-walled, cylindrical parts with more than 2500 mm diameter. CRS is very complex because of multi-axis rotation, multi-local loading along the circumference, and radial-axial compound deformation. Analytical or experimental methods cannot fully understand CRS. Meanwhile, numerical simulation is an adequate approach to investigate CRS with comprehensive understanding and a low cost. Thus, a finite element (FE) model of CRS was developed with the FORGE code via meshing technology, material modeling, determining the friction condition, and so on. The local fine mesh moving with the roller is one of highlights of the model. The developed 3D-FE model was validated through a CRS experiment by using a tubular blank with a 720 mm outer diameter. The developed 3D-FE model of CRS can provide a basis for parameter optimization, process control, die design, and so on. The data on force and energy predicted by the 3D-FE model can offer reasonable suggestions for determining the main mechanical parameters of CRS machines and selecting the motors. With the predicted data, an all-electric servo-drive system/machine with distributed power was designed in this work for CRS with four pairs of rollers to manufacture a large-sized, thin-walled, cylindrical part with 6000 mm diameter.

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Real-time task processing method based on edge computing for spinning CPS
Shiyong YIN, Jinsong BAO, Jie LI, Jie ZHANG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (3): 320-331.
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Spinning production is a typical continuous manufacturing process characterized by high speed and uncertain dynamics. Each manufacturing unit in spinning production produces various real-time tasks, which may affect production efficiency and yarn quality if not processed in time. This paper presents an edge computing-based method that is different from traditional centralized cloud computation because its decentralization characteristics meet the high-speed and high-response requirements of yarn production. Edge computing nodes, real-time tasks, and edge computing resources are defined. A system model is established, and a real-time task processing method is proposed for the edge computing scenario. Experimental results indicate that the proposed real-time task processing method based on edge computing can effectively solve the delay problem of real-time task processing in spinning cyber-physical systems, save bandwidth, and enhance the security of task transmission.

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Nonlinear dynamics of a wind turbine tower
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (3): 342-350.
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The recent proliferation of wind turbines has revealed problems in their vulnerability under different site conditions, as evidenced by recent collapses of wind towers after severe actions. Analyses of structures subjected to variable actions can be conducted through several methods with different accuracy levels. Nonlinear dynamics is the most reliable among such methods. This study develops a numerical procedure to obtain approximate solutions for rigid-plastic responses of structures subjected to base harmonic pulses. The procedure’s model is applied to a wind turbine tower subjected to inertial forces generated by harmonic ground acceleration, and failure is assumed to depend on the formation of shear hinges. The proposed approach provides an efficient representation of the post-elastic behavior of the structure, has a low computational cost and high effectiveness, and uses a limited number of mechanical parameters.

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An application of game theory in distributed collaborative decision making
Angran XIAO
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (1): 85-101.
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In a distributed product realization environment, new paradigms and accompanying software systems are necessary to support the collaborative work of geographically dispersed engineering teams from different disciplines who have different knowledge, experience, tools and resources. To verify the concept of collaboration by separation, we propose a generic information communication medium to enable knowledge representation and exchange between engineering teams, a digital interface. Across digital interfaces, each engineering team maintains its own perspective towards the product realization problem, and each controls a subset of design variables and seeks to maximize its own payoff function subject to individual constraints. Hence, we postulate the use of principles from game theory to model the relationships between engineering teams and facilitate collaborative decision making without causing unnecessary information exchange or iteration across digital interfaces. A product design and manufacturing scenario is introduced to demonstrate the efficacy of using game theory to maintain a clean interface between design and manufacturing teams.

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Review of materials used in laser-aided additive manufacturing processes to produce metallic products
Xiaodong NIU, Surinder SINGH, Akhil GARG, Harpreet SINGH, Biranchi PANDA, Xiongbin PENG, Qiujuan ZHANG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (3): 282-298.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (521KB)

Rapid prototyping (RP) or layered manufacturing (LM) technologies have been extensively used to manufacture prototypes composed mainly of plastics, polymers, paper, and wax due to the short product development time and low costs of these technologies. However, such technologies, with the exception of selective laser melting and sintering, are not used to fabricate metallic products because of the resulting poor life, short cycle, poor surface finish, and low structural integrity of the fabricated parts. The properties endowed by these parts do not match those of functional parts. Therefore, extensive research has been conducted to develop new additive manufacturing (AM) technologies by extending existing RP technologies. Several AM technologies have been developed for the fabrication of metallic objects. These technologies utilize materials, such as Ni-, Al-, and Ti-based alloys and stainless steel powders, to fabricate high-quality functional components. The present work reviews the type of materials used in laser-based AM processes for the manufacture of metallic products. The advantages and disadvantages of processes and different materials are summarized, and future research directions are discussed in the final section. This review can help experts select the ideal type of process or technology for the manufacturing of elements composed of a given alloy or material (Ni, Ti, Al, Pb, and stainless steel).

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An improved artificial bee colony algorithm with MaxTF heuristic rule for two-sided assembly line balancing problem
Xiaokun DUAN, Bo WU, Youmin HU, Jie LIU, Jing XIONG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (2): 241-253.
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Two-sided assembly line is usually used for the assembly of large products such as cars, buses, and trucks. With the development of technical progress, the assembly line needs to be reconfigured and the cycle time of the line should be optimized to satisfy the new assembly process. Two-sided assembly line balancing with the objective of minimizing the cycle time is called TALBP-2. This paper proposes an improved artificial bee colony (IABC) algorithm with the MaxTF heuristic rule. In the heuristic initialization process, the MaxTF rule defines a new task’s priority weight. On the basis of priority weight, the assignment of tasks is reasonable and the quality of an initial solution is high. In the IABC algorithm, two neighborhood strategies are embedded to balance the exploitation and exploration abilities of the algorithm. The employed bees and onlooker bees produce neighboring solutions in different promising regions to accelerate the convergence rate. Furthermore, a well-designed random strategy of scout bees is developed to escape local optima. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed MaxTF rule performs better than other heuristic rules, as it can find the best solution for all the 10 test cases. A comparison of the IABC algorithm and other algorithms proves the effectiveness of the proposed IABC algorithm. The results also denote that the IABC algorithm is efficient and stable in minimizing the cycle time for the TALBP-2, and it can find 20 new best solutions among 25 large-sized problem cases.

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Concurrent optimization of structural topology and infill properties with a CBF-based level set method
Long JIANG, Yang GUO, Shikui CHEN, Peng WEI, Na LEI, Xianfeng David GU
Front. Mech. Eng.    2019, 14 (2): 171-189.
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In this paper, a parametric level-set-based topology optimization framework is proposed to concurrently optimize the structural topology at the macroscale and the effective infill properties at the micro/meso scale. The concurrent optimization is achieved by a computational framework combining a new parametric level set approach with mathematical programming. Within the proposed framework, both the structural boundary evolution and the effective infill property optimization can be driven by mathematical programming, which is more advantageous compared with the conventional partial differential equation-driven level set approach. Moreover, the proposed approach will be more efficient in handling nonlinear problems with multiple constraints. Instead of using radial basis functions (RBF), in this paper, we propose to construct a new type of cardinal basis functions (CBF) for the level set function parameterization. The proposed CBF parameterization ensures an explicit impose of the lower and upper bounds of the design variables. This overcomes the intrinsic disadvantage of the conventional RBF-based parametric level set method, where the lower and upper bounds of the design variables oftentimes have to be set by trial and error. A variational distance regularization method is utilized in this research to regularize the level set function to be a desired distance-regularized shape. With the distance information embedded in the level set model, the wrapping boundary layer and the interior infill region can be naturally defined. The isotropic infill achieved via the mesoscale topology optimization is conformally fit into the wrapping boundary layer using the shape-preserving conformal mapping method, which leads to a hierarchical physical structure with optimized overall topology and effective infill properties. The proposed method is expected to provide a timely solution to the increasing demand for multiscale and multifunctional structure design.

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Robust optimization of the billet for isothermal local loading transitional region of a Ti-alloy rib-web component based on dual-response surface method
Ke WEI, Xiaoguang FAN, Mei ZHAN, Miao MENG
Front. Mech. Eng.    2018, 13 (3): 376-384.
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Billet optimization can greatly improve the forming quality of the transitional region in the isothermal local loading forming (ILLF) of large-scale Ti-alloy rib-web components. However, the final quality of the transitional region may be deteriorated by uncontrollable factors, such as the manufacturing tolerance of the preforming billet, fluctuation of the stroke length, and friction factor. Thus, a dual-response surface method (RSM)-based robust optimization of the billet was proposed to address the uncontrollable factors in transitional region of the ILLF. Given that the die underfilling and folding defect are two key factors that influence the forming quality of the transitional region, minimizing the mean and standard deviation of the die underfilling rate and avoiding folding defect were defined as the objective function and constraint condition in robust optimization. Then, the cross array design was constructed, a dual-RSM model was established for the mean and standard deviation of the die underfilling rate by considering the size parameters of the billet and uncontrollable factors. Subsequently, an optimum solution was derived to achieve the robust optimization of the billet. A case study on robust optimization was conducted. Good results were attained for improving the die filling and avoiding folding defect, suggesting that the robust optimization of the billet in the transitional region of the ILLF was efficient and reliable.

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