Virtual design and dynamical simulation of flexible cables, hoses, and wires
Computer simulation can provide significant help to solve practical problems concerning the optimal design and the dynamical behavior of flexible cables, hoses, and wires in vehicles and on production equipment like robots. Typical questions are the ideal cable's length, its minimal bending radius, possible collision to surrounding parts, and designed space. To solve these problems, we developed a non-linear beam model, which accounts for large global deformations of the cable. It is based on Cosserat's geometrically exact theory of rods and is able to represent extension, shearing, bending and torsion of the cable. With our innovative approach, one can optimize the cables design and their assembly positions in real time and with high accuracy. One can also consider a variety of material types and cross-sections profiles. Our implementation allows one to import CAD files and rigid body motions as well as the analysis of the local stress distribution within the cable volume. Important questions like finding the optimal length or the ideal assembly positions can be efficiently answered. Material and the necessary physical space can be already reduced during the design process, without the need of costly tests with hardware prototypes. We present relevant industrial examples of applicability our approach. Finally, we introduce a dynamical viscoelastic version our model, which is suitable for fast and accurate dynamical simulation of multi-body systems (MBS).