Research in Wingquist Laboratory focuses on interfaces, configuration, sequences and visualization to enable complex integrated tasks to be carried out faster and with higher precision. This requires
cross-disciplinary research between traditional areas and disciplines in industrial product realization, based on core competence within industrial design, mechanical engineering, control theory, applied mathematics, computer science and information technology.
Within Wingquist Laboratory product development and production system development are treated together. Effective and efficient production at high quality requires a product that is well adopted to the limitations of the present production system (and vice versa) and robust to its inherent variation. Strategies for how product families are built up based on platforms and modules with common and unique components, equipment and knowledge are controlled by the product architecture. Requirements on the final product are broken down to requirements on subsystems, components, fixtures, assembly sequence, welding sequence etc. This also controls the way the flow in the factory is designed and the balance between individual production cells. The interfaces between components and systems are critical for the ability to modularize, configure and create product variants.
Simulation and visualization are powerful techniques which make it possible to consider both product and productions system aspects simultaneously and to reduce development time. These techniques provide ability for fast testing of a large number of different solutions or scenarios in order to find the one that best balances the requirements. Efficient reuse of knowledge also requires effective and efficient IT systems that can handle all requirement and functionality decomposition from specification to final product.
Within Wingquist Laboratory, a routine has been developed over time to drive implementation of results a step further and thereby also secure knowledge transfer in an integrated way. In addition to traditional collaboration with PhD students and master thesis works, Wingquist Laboratory has built up a network of resources that can assist (and benefit from) the knowledge transfer process.
Four Key Issues
A long tradition of close collaboration with industry has over the years identified the need to integrate tasks and knowledge. Four generic key issues and areas for future research efforts have been identified which will enable complex integrated tasks to be carried out faster and with higher precision.
Cost-effective product families with variants are based on platforms and modules. The functional decomposition and the interfaces between components in a product control the ability to modularize in an effective way. Robust geometrical interfaces will enable product variants with common and unique components to be handled efficiently throughout the design and manufacturing process and to be produced with higher quality.
Fast design and generation of new products that meets new market demands is critical for many companies. A product platform with well-defined product architecture and a mechanism for fast configuration gives the potential for a company to drastically change the way they operate on the market and benefit from economies of scale.
Design and production involve a number of complex sequences determining the order in which tasks and operations shall be carried out. Optimization of sequences for design activities, assembly, welding, sealing, painting etc will enable production with highly increased equipment utilization, throughput and quality.
Early concept studies and evaluations involve a number of decisions that have to be taken based on uncertain or incomplete information. This constitutes a great risk for a company. Visualization of future products and processes with high level of realism and with respect to real manufacturing conditions, before they are built, has the potential to highly improve decision-making in early design stages.