The research in SBE-Institute of Engineering is organized in research areas (RA’s) that provide cohesion on relevant multi-disciplinary topics. These areas will serve the visibility and impact of SBE on a national and international level and within the University of Twente.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) or Rapid Manufacturing is one of many names used for a group of processes that are based on layer dominated manufacturing process to produce physical products directly from 3D computer data. Within Additive Manufacturing, new techniques and materials are tested and developed.
Research focuses on flexible and cost-efficient production processes that are required to reshore the manufacturing industry to Europe. Integrated sensors and control play a crucial role towards zero defect manufacturing. Mass customization and on-demand production require flexible robotics and new production technologies, e.g. additive manufacturing. Research in this area will focus on nonlinear process (chain) modelling, robust optimization and model based control.
The research on materials is based on fundamental understanding (on different length scales) of the material behaviour, with the objective to optimise materials, processes and part performance. Production, damage, repair and recycling are key issues, as well as behaviour under extreme conditions. The materials addressed are composites, elastomers and metals.
Integrated life cycle management
Increasing customer/market orientation and the resulting problems of variant diversity and product complexity correlates to the complexity of business processes in manufacturing companies. The fastness of corporate reactions towards changes to obtain or maintain a stable process situation depends on the product and process transparency. The management of complexity in product and processes as well as the decentralization in case of smart factories is a real future challenge.
Maintenance is vital in ensuring the availability, reliability and cost effectiveness of technical systems. The research field ranges from physics of failure (failure modelling, life prediction) and structural health and condition monitoring to data analysis, maintenance process optimization and logistic challenges in resource planning. Integration of these disciplines is key as maintenance is a multidisciplinary and dynamic process, based on changes in both the system and its environment.
New Product Design
Design Research aims at understanding the processes around the ideation, creation, manufacturing, exchange, and use of products, packaging, services, and product-service systems. Further, it aims to predict, influence and investigate the impact that these products and services have on individuals, society and culture as a whole. It employs empirical methods and tools to explore new forms of innovation through co-creation of value, system thinking, human-technology interaction and scenario-based, user-oriented product design.
A more sustainable society is aimed for through the development of clean and efficient processes for the process industry, such as energy savings (by improved separation methods), processes using alternative feeds (biomass, CO2, electricity), recovery and recycling of key elements and purification of water. Research includes the evaluation of whole process chain in order to identify main bottlenecks and related scientific challenges and is carried out at proof of principle level. The experimental work ranges from high throughput screening activities to process development unit level. Modelling activities are carried out at multi-scale level.
Thermal and Fluid Engineering
New processes, equipment and advanced methods are developed to optimize functionality of application and process, and to minimize losses and environmental impact. Applications in the realm of Thermal and Fluid Engineering are wind turbines, pumps, airplane parts compressors, gas turbines, pyrolysis/gasification/combustion systems, fluidized beds, heat pumps, heat engines, multi-scale systems, thin layer flows, contact mechanics, and granular flows. The research is both theoretical (including numerical analysis) and experimental.