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  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Dongxu WU, Fengzhou FANG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2021, 16(1): 1-31. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0602-6

    Optical interferometry is a powerful tool for measuring and characterizing areal surface topography in precision manufacturing. A variety of instruments based on optical interferometry have been developed to meet the measurement needs in various applications, but the existing techniques are simply not enough to meet the ever-increasing requirements in terms of accuracy, speed, robustness, and dynamic range, especially in on-line or on-machine conditions. This paper provides an in-depth perspective of surface topography reconstruction for optical interferometric measurements. Principles, configurations, and applications of typical optical interferometers with different capabilities and limitations are presented. Theoretical background and recent advances of fringe analysis algorithms, including coherence peak sensing and phase-shifting algorithm, are summarized. The new developments in measurement accuracy and repeatability, noise resistance, self-calibration ability, and computational efficiency are discussed. This paper also presents the new challenges that optical interferometry techniques are facing in surface topography measurement. To address these challenges, advanced techniques in image stitching, on-machine measurement, intelligent sampling, parallel computing, and deep learning are explored to improve the functional performance of optical interferometry in future manufacturing metrology.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yin ZHANG, Jianwei WU, Kunpeng XING, Zhongpu WEN, Jiubin TAN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(4): 517-537. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0589-z

    This paper presents a dynamic and static error transfer model and uncertainty evaluation method for a high-speed variable-slit system based on a two- dimensional orthogonal double-layer air-floating guide rail structure. The motion accuracy of the scanning blade is affected by both the moving component it is attached to and the moving component of the following blade during high-speed motion. First, an error transfer model of the high-speed variable-slit system is established, and the influence coefficients are calculated for each source of error associated with the accuracy of the blade motion. Then, the maximum range of each error source is determined by simulation and experiment. Finally, the uncertainty of the blade displacement measurement is evaluated using the Monte Carlo method. The proposed model can evaluate the performance of the complex mechanical system and be used to guide the design.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jimu LIU, Yuan TIAN, Feng GAO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(3): 351-364. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-020-0594-2

    The manufacture and maintenance of large parts in ships, trains, aircrafts, and so on create an increasing demand for mobile machine tools to perform in-situ operations. However, few mobile robots can accommodate the complex environment of industrial plants while performing machining tasks. This study proposes a novel six-legged walking machine tool consisting of a legged mobile robot and a portable parallel kinematic machine tool. The kinematic model of the entire system is presented, and the workspace of different components, including a leg, the body, and the head, is analyzed. A hierarchical motion planning scheme is proposed to take advantage of the large workspace of the legged mobile platform and the high precision of the parallel machine tool. The repeatability of the head motion, body motion, and walking distance is evaluated through experiments, which is 0.11, 1.0, and 3.4 mm, respectively. Finally, an application scenario is shown in which the walking machine tool steps successfully over a 250 mm-high obstacle and drills a hole in an aluminum plate. The experiments prove the rationality of the hierarchical motion planning scheme and demonstrate the extensive potential of the walking machine tool for in-situ operations on large parts.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Boxing WANG, Chunlin ZHOU, Ziheng DUAN, Qichao ZHU, Jun WU, Rong XIONG
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(2): 181-192. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0559-5

    For quadruped robots with springy legs, a successful jump usually requires both suitable elastic parts and well-designed control algorithms. However, these two problems are mutually restricted and hard to solve at the same time. In this study, we attempt to solve the problem of controller design with the help of a robot without any elastic mounted parts, in which the untethered robot is made to jump on a trampoline. The differences between jumping on hard surfaces with springy legs and jumping on springy surfaces with rigid legs are briefly discussed. An intuitive control law is proposed to balance foot contact forces; in this manner, excessive pitch oscillation during hopping or bounding can be avoided. Hopping height is controlled by tuning the time delay of the leg stretch. Together with other motion generators based on kinematic law, the robot can perform translational and rotational movements while hopping or bounding on the trampoline. Experiments are conducted to validate the effectiveness of the proposed control framework.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Qingmeng TAN, Yifei TONG, Shaofeng WU, Dongbo LI
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2020, 15(1): 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0563-9

    Given the multiple varieties and small batches, the production of industrial robots faces the ongoing challenges of flexibility, self-organization, self-configuration, and other “smart” requirements. Recently, cyber physical systems have provided a promising solution for the requirements mentioned above. Despite recent progress, some critical issues have not been fully addressed at the shop floor level, including dynamic reorganization and reconfiguration, ubiquitous networking, and time constrained computing. Toward the next generation production system for industrial robots, this study proposed a hybrid architecture for smart assembly shop floors with closed-loop dynamic cyber physical interactions. Aiming for dynamic reorganization and reconfiguration, the study also proposed modularized smart assembly units for the deployment of physical assembly processes. Enabling technologies, such as multiagent system (MAS), self-organized wireless sensor actuator networks, and edge computing, were discussed and then integrated into the proposed architecture. Furthermore, a multijoint robot assembly process was selected as a target scenario. Thus, an MAS was developed to simulate the coordination and negotiation mechanisms for the proposed architecture on the basis of the Java Agent Development Framework platform.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Weichang KONG, Fei QIAO, Qidi WU
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2019, 14(4): 377-392. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0544-z

    The scheduling of parallel machines and the optimization of multi-line systems are two hotspots in the field of complex manufacturing systems. When the two problems are considered simultaneously, the resulting problem is much more complex than either of them. Obtaining sufficient training data for conventional data-based optimization approaches is difficult because of the high diversity of system structures. Consequently, optimization of multi-line systems with alternative machines requires a simple mechanism and must be minimally dependent on historical data. To define a general multi-line system with alternative machines, this study introduces the capability vector and matrix and the distribution vector and matrix. A naive optimization method is proposed in accordance with classic feedback control theory, and its key approaches are introduced. When a reasonable target value is provided, the proposed method can realize closed-loop optimization to the selected objective performance. Case studies are performed on a real 5/6-inch semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility and a simulated multi-line system constructed on the basis of the MiniFAB model. Results show that the proposed method can effectively and efficiently optimize various objective performance. The method demonstrates a potential for utilization in multi-objective optimization.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Chengyuan LIANG, Fang YUAN, Xuedong CHEN, Wei JIANG, Lizhan ZENG, Xin LUO
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2019, 14(3): 255-272. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0538-x

    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.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jiadong DENG, Claus B. W. PEDERSEN, Wei CHEN
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2019, 14(2): 129-140. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-019-0532-3

    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.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Runhua TAN, Wei LIU, Guozhong CAO, Yuan SHI
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2019, 14(1): 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-018-0511-0

    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.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Y. Luo, S. C. Wu, Y. N. Hu, Y. N. Fu
    Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 2018, 13(4): 461-481. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-018-0481-2

    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.