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Editor’s Pick: Simulate Mechanical Drive Systems

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

News of the latest version of MSC Software’s Adams/Machinery analysis and simulation suite for mechanical drive systems came my way. It sounds like a really interesting package for anyone working in aerospace, automotive, heavy industry, industrial machinery, and similar equipment industries. Here’s why.

Adams/Machinery is tailored for building, studying, and optimizing gears, chains, bearings, pulleys, motors, belts, and cables as well as for predicting system dynamic responses. And by “build” I mean you can create functional virtual prototypes from common machinery components like belts, gears, and bearings.

What Adams/Machinery helps you do is solve component-specific problems within the context of full system-level dynamics simulations. That means it can help you optimize a product’s design for things like comfort, safety, and performance by managing the gnarly relationship among motion, structures, actuation, and controls.

It installs with a wizard-driven modeling environment, so it should be easy to use. You can use wizards to create machinery models before you have any CAD information and, of course, you can use Adams/Machinery to work with CAD model data.

The neat characteristic that really makes Adams/Machinery something to look into is that it has modules that offer modeling automation specific to your machinery component types. For example, the newest version – version 2013.2, BTW – introduces a module for electric motors. But if, say, cables or belts are your gig, there are targeted modules for them as well as the other machinery components mentioned earlier.

The new electric motor module gives you more than simple kinematics representations. You can select from shunt or series DDC, DC brushless, stepper, and AC synchronous motors. You can define your motor torque with MSC’s Easy5 controls and systems simulation software or with Simulink and use the definition in your analysis. You also calculate necessary motor sizing, perform position control, predict the impact of motor torque on a system, and get a realistic drive signal for the rest of the machine components.

The other component-specific modules have been much enhanced in the new version of Adams/Machinery. The Belt module for predicting load history, analyzing belt slippage, studying the effect of belt compliance, and avoiding power transmission failure offers a new 3D belt method for non-planar pulley-belt simulations. The Chain module offers a new 3D chain method for non-planar sprocket-chain simulations, and a new discretized 3D method supports roller chains. Finally, the Gear module increases support so that it can now handle three new gear types – worm, rack and pinion, and hypoid gears – in addition to spur, helical, and bevel gears.

A note for you Adams users: Yes, Adams/Machinery is fully incorporated inside the Adams/View user interface environment. And, yes, you can use Adams/View to build models of mechanical systems, simulate full-motion behavior, and analyze multiple design variations just like we’re talking about with Adams/Machinery.

So why consider Adams/Machinery? Its secret sauce is in those component-specific modules. They enable you to create common machinery components “much more rapidly than with generic standard Adams/View model construction functionality alone,” according to MSC. That is, Adams/View is a general-purpose tool for machinery component simulation and Adams/Machinery is a task-specific toolset for those simulations.

If you’re a cog in the machinery analyzing the cogs in the machinery for your corporate masters, Adams/Machinery sounds like it has the capabilities to help you do your job more efficiently and better. You can learn more about Adams/Machinery 2013.2 from today’s Pick of the Week write-up and the links at the end. Make sure to take in the on-demand webinar (no registration). It’s runs just under 40 minutes and is really informative. Good stuff.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@digitaleng.news.