Designing new mechatronic systems for vehicle applications is a complex and time-consuming process. The increasing computational power allows us to generate automatically novel and new mechatronic discrete-topology concepts in an efficient manner. Using state-of-the-art computational design synthesis techniques assures that the complete search space, given a finite set of system elements, is processed to find all feasible topologies. The topology generation is done by converting the design synthesis problem into a constraint satisfaction problem. Accordingly, this mathematical problem is solved by assigning the presence of components and connections to variables, whereby a set of mathematical constraints need to be satisfied. These constraints capture, in essence, formalized engineering knowledge. After solving this problem, the results are post-processed to discard redundant topologies due to isomorphism. In this paper, a newly developed software application with automated constraint generation is presented that facilitates the topology generation with multiple system levels in a loop. The scalability of the problem and the different levels of expressiveness are analyzed, and the influence of the abstraction level choice on the search space is discussed. Finally, a relevant mechatronic design study from the automotive engineering field is discussed concerning the topology synthesis of alternative electro-hydraulic actuation systems being part of new continuously variable transmission topologies, thus showing its applicability.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited