We do research and education within Mechanical Engineering, and focus methods, tools and rationale to support companies to deliver innovative sustainable products with higher value to the customers.

The Product Development Research Laboratory is the research unit of Department of Mechanical Engineering. Research has been carried out in this field at BTH since the start. The unit is active in research, education and collaboration, and is a specialized unit with in-depth knowledge.

Vision

Our vision is:

"With practice and science we support innovation teams in product development through new work methods, tools and processes that will empower them to create and develop new product and services for the sustainable society"

Translated into regular terms this means:

"We aim to be a nationally leading and internationally strong actor within our focus areas by scientific excellence, innovative ways of thinking, great collaborative skills, and by doing epic stuff!"

The research is applied and considers methods and tools that will support companies, and organisations, to enhance their capabilities to deliver value towards customers based on products. The goal is to support companies and organisations both in being more efficient in their development (i.e. incremental  improvements) and in finding totally new value adding solutions for the market (i.e. radical innovation).

Sustainability is an important factor of the future and hence the methods and tools should support the move towards the sustainable society.

Context

The ability to effectively deliver new values to the market; innovation, is a challenge on global scale for companies today. The ability to understand needs, develop and deploy technology, and make it business wise scalable is the continuous challenge for most companies developing products.

The research aims at targeting early development stages of product development by use of a model based engineering approach with simulation at the core. The research is particularly oriented towards early development, and questions of how to best identify, communicate, utilize, and re-use knowledge about, for example, user needs and product usage, are of high interest together with aspects of team based innovation, value creation and engineering optimisation. Creating the ability to run simulation driven design of new sustainable solutions by using a model based approach is a key in order to support global product development.

The research efforts provide new work procedures, methods and tools  as well as new insights that support and enable product development improvements for our partners, while the research at the same time is disseminated in the proper academic channels to ensure quality control.

Research Areas

We do our research within the field of mechanical engineering and gather our research in the areas of:

  • Innovation Engineering - IE
    • Design Thinking: The ability to in a user centric way identify and work with needs and transform these into solutions (inspiration, ideation, implementation)
    • Innovative product development: Exploration. The ability to develop new products and offerings (engineering design, innovation engineering, key performance indicators, creative methods for concept ideation and generation)
    • Incremental product development: Exploitation. The ability to cut design time by reducing waste, and finding faster and more lean ways to improve solutions. (exploitation, Lean Engineering).
    • Product-Service Systems: Development of function based solutions for a circular economy reasoning.
    • Value driven design: The ability to drive design and development of new solutions using perceived value as the driver. (Value driven design, Value Innovation, circular solutions).
    • Disruptive methods and technologies : The ability to explore technologies that will change our society at the core (3D printing, Virtual Reality, Internet of Things, Water Jet Cutting) and the work processes to go with this (lean startup, agile innovation)
  • Model Driven Development - MDD
    • Design Automation: The ability to re-use and apply knowledge/information/data to speed up the development process. (Knowledge Based Engineering, Lightweight knowledge sharing, Case Based Reasoning, Design Rational Capture etc.)
    • Simulation Driven Design: The ability to deploy simulation driven design and virtually build, test, and learn before entering the physical production space (Simulation Driven Design, Discrete Event modelling, analytical models, process models, model based enterprise, data patterns)
    • Structural Analysis: The ability to use engineering analysis methods to understand material behaviour and performance in engineering design. (fracture mechanics, non-destructive testing, acoustic methods, thermal loads etc.)
  • Material Mechanics
    • Structural Mechanics: The ability to perform computation of deformations, deflections, and internal forces or stresses within structures, either for design of new structures, or for performance evaluation of existing structures.
    • Material Dynamics: Dynamics of materials in micro scale.

Application areas

We work in a highly collaborative and applied mode together with industry and society and within the domains of:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Healthcare
  • Marine technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Space
  • Transportation
  • Wave power
  • Wind power

Read about our ongoing projects, finalized projects and collaborations.