An integrated product – process development (IPPD) based approach for rotorcraft drive system sizing, synthesis and design optimization
Ashok, Sylvester Vikram
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Engineering design may be viewed as a decision making process that supports design tradeoffs. The designer makes decisions based on information available and engineering judgment. The designer determines the direction in which the design must proceed, the procedures that need to be adopted, and develops a strategy to perform successive decisions. The design is only as good as the decisions made, which is in turn dependent on the information available. Information is time and process dependent. This thesis work focuses on developing a coherent bottom-up framework and methodology to improve information transfer and decision making while designing complex systems. The rotorcraft drive system is used as a test system for this methodology. The traditional serial design approach required the information from one discipline and/or process in order to proceed with the subsequent design phase. The Systems Engineering (SE) implementation of Concurrent Engineering (CE) and Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) processes tries to alleviate this problem by allowing design processes to be performed in parallel and collaboratively. The biggest challenge in implementing Concurrent Engineering is the availability of information when dealing with complex systems such as aerospace systems. The information is often incomplete, with large amounts of uncertainties around the requirements, constraints and system objectives. As complexity increases, the design process starts trending back towards a serial design approach. The gap in information can be overcome by either “softening” the requirements to be adaptable to variation in information or to delay the decision. Delayed decisions lead to expensive modifications and longer product design lifecycle. Digitization of IPPD tools for complex system enables the system to be more adaptable to changing requirements. Design can proceed with “soft” information and decisions adapted as information becomes available even at early stages. The advent of modern day computing has made digitization and automation possible and feasible in engineering. Automation has demonstrated superior capability in design cycle efficiency . When a digitized framework is enhanced through automation, design can be made adaptable without the requirement for human interaction. This can increase productivity, and reduce design time and associated cost. An important aspect in making digitization feasible is having the availability of parameterized Computer Aided Design (CAD) geometry . The CAD geometry gives the design a physical form that can interact with other disciplines and geometries. Central common CAD database allows other disciplines to access information and extract requirements; this feature is of immense importance while performing systems syntheses. Through database management using a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system, Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) can exchange information between disciplines and develop new designs more efficiently by collaborating more and from far . This thesis focuses on the challenges associated with automation and digitization of design. Making more information available earlier goes jointly with making the design adaptable to new information. Using digitized sizing, synthesis, cost analysis and integration, the drive system design is brought in to early design. With modularity as the objective, information transfer is made streamlined through the use of a software integration suite. Using parametric CAD tools, a novel ‘Fully-Relational Design’ framework is developed where geometry and design are adaptable to related geometry and requirement changes. During conceptual and preliminary design stages, the airframe goes through many stages of modifications and refinement; these changes affect the sub-system requirements and its design optimum. A fully-relational design framework takes this into account to create interfaces between disciplines. A novel aspect of the fully-relational design methodology is to include geometry, spacing and volume requirements in the system design process. Enabling fully-relational design has certain challenges, requiring suitable optimization and analysis automation. Also it is important to ensure that the process does not get overly complicated. So the method is required to possess the capability to intelligently propagate change. There is a need for suitable optimization techniques to approach gear train type design problems, where the design variables are discrete in nature and the values a variables can assume is a result of cascading effects of other variables. A heuristic optimization method is developed to analyze this multimodal problem. Experiments are setup to study constraint dependencies, constraint-handling penalty methods, algorithm tuning factors and innovative techniques to improve the performance of the algorithm. Inclusion of higher fidelity analysis in early design is an important element of this research. Higher fidelity analyses such as nonlinear contact Finite Element Analysis (FEA) are useful in defining true implied stresses and developing rating modification factors. The use of Topology Optimization (TO) using Finite Element Methods (FEM) is proposed here to study excess material removal in the gear web region.