Research Projects

Research acitivities of the IMW

The spectrum of research acitivities of the Institute for Mechanical Engineering is represented by the following five areas:

Machine elements

The IMW analyses, calculates and optimises statically and dynamically loaded machine parts made from conventional and new materials.

Next to the mechanical loads the real operational loads such as temperatures, wear, abrasion, play and tolerances are taken into account.

The focus of this area is:

  • shaft-hub connections

  • winch drums
  • connection elements

Research projects in this area: 


  • Process simulation und -optimisation for the manufacture of tooth edge cambers

  • DFG - influence of tooth shape deviations on the fit and operational behaviour of spline connections and toothed couplings; funtional tolerance systems and practical measurement and jig processes

  • FVA - analasys of spline connections with force fit concerging their assembly- and operational behaviour

  • Dimensioning and design of lightweight winch drums

  • Static and dynamic stressing of splined joints under elastic and part-plastic material behaviour

  • MACDRIVE (Man-Machine Interface for Remote Operation of Civil Works Equipment), BRST-CT 96-5075


  • Laser sintering of metal powder+X in the Rapid Prototyping process, EFRE 2001.094 2004.155

  • Free of play,  temperature kompensated shaft-hub-connections for ceramic brake discs

  • FVA - current possibilites to reduce wear in splined shaft connections, 99/V AiF 13405 N

  • DFG - design and dimensioning of winch drums when using multiple winds of synthetic ropes, 289/28-1

  • DFG - demand based conception to make compatible building structures, 289/31-1

  • Self interlocking structures

  • Membrane couplings with exceptionally high power densities

  • Material choice in the context of the design activity

  • DFG - new shaft-hub-connections with Novikov toothing, 289/32-1

  • DFG - thrust collars under instationary axial loads, 289/24/1+2

  • FVA - weakened shaft-hub-connections, 191

  • Description of the forming process using backpropagation meshing

  • FVA - design of splined shafts, 467 AiF 14058 BG/2

  • DFG - interference fits, 289/26-1

  • DFG - fundamental design rules for dimensioning axial pin connectionss with play, 289/23/1+2

  • DFG - winch drums, calculation and design, 289/18-1

Machine acoustics

Due to its methodical design background the IMW is mainly focused on research on design systematics to develop low noise products, but is also intensively involved in the analysis of  noise transmission in machine structures.

The main points of interest in this area lie on

  • design of quiet machines

  • sound energy flux analyses

Research projects in this area:

  • Quiet design - systematical collection of  machine-acoustic design examples (BAUA F1529)

  • EQUIP - Work Methodology for Development of Quiet Products

  • DFG - structure-borne noise

  • FVA - Impedance elements 235
  • damping of joints in steel sheet
  • FVA - transmission of structural-borne noise of rotating element- und hydrodynamic bearings, 404 AiF 17077 N

  • Tai Chi - Tangible Acoustic Interface for Computer-Human Interaction

Process engineering machines and equipment

The IMW develops, conceives and dimensions machines and equipment for process engineering tasks. Envolving interdisciplinary cooperation with other research establishments, problem solving solutions for industry in thermal, mechanical and chemical process engineering is offered.

Research projects in this area:

  • SFB 180 project A2 - knowledge based incident- and failuere analysis in the interdisciplinary develpoment of process engineering machinery

  • SIMDES (Simultaneous development of chemical process, process-engineering-machinery and process-control-systems with special reference to low-temperature-desulphurisation)

  • SFB 180 Teilprojekt A19 - cutting mill

  • SFB 180 Teilprojekt B12 - reactor compressor

  • AiF-Vorhaben (Nr.: 11193 N/1) - reactor swing mill

  • cutting mill for processing of domestic waste

Access and permission to the market by means of standards

The investigation accomplished by the Institute for Mechanical Engineering (IMW) aimed the detection of the importance of standards for the access and the permission to the market as well as pointing out the benefit of standardization for trade connections and company-internal procedures. The investigation was accomplished within companies belonging to selected industrial sectors. It was differentiated between small-sized, medium-sized and large scale enterprises. Furthermore, it was taken in account whether the enterprise is involved in standardization activities or not. Apart from detailed researches, a number of face-to-face interviews with representatives of companies belonging to the industrial sectors energy, mechanical and plant engineering as well as automotive engineering were executed. These interviews provided amongst others a first insight into the application of standards in proposals. The influence of standards on intercompany relationships was examined on the basis of case examples. On the one hand the point of view of the ordering company was considered (Top-Down) on the other hand the aspect of the supplier was taken into account (Bottom-Up).
It became obvious that large-scale enterprises mostly are aware of the potential provided by the standardization and use it to participate successfully in the market and furthermore partly to prepare the market. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) however often apply standards only in order to comply with legal requirements or with requirements set by commercial partners. They often do not realize the advantages that standards exceeding these requirements can provide for their company. Therefore, large-scale enterprises gain an advance in innovation compared to SMEs in guiding and applying strategically new standards sooner. Not to attend in the work of national standard bodies and renouncing the supervision of the activities in the international standardization can cause competitive disadvantages. For SMEs it is difficult to get information about standards and their relevance to the present. As far as SMEs are informed about standards at all, this often occurs either within customer requirements or via the respective associations. It has to be determined how far associations and chambers of commerce and industry (CCI) can be enlisted to support SMEs concerning standards.
Standards information is used in calls for tender to facilitate them and to make them more transparent. There are two different alternatives how standards are treated in proposals. On the one hand any required standard is already mentioned within the proposal. You can find requirements having a more general validity or blanket clauses as well as precise standards specified for each constituent of a contract. In the case of placing an order, it is either referred to the proposal or the requested standards are repeated in the requirements specification. On the other hand only requirements with a general character or blanket clauses are mentioned in the proposal. Only in the case of placing an order the standards are specified.
Enterprises using a production planning and control system (PPS) mostly store their standards information within the system. The required standards information are transferred from the purchasing to the contractor during the exchange of master data.
While standards contribute to simplify intercompany relationships, quality-seals, with standards behind them, often have more importance for the customer.
In order to verify the statements received from the interviews, a questionnaire was created with the purpose of accomplishing an extensive industrial survey within selected branches in the year 2007. As it became obvious that members of different departments have an unequal perception of standards, the questionnaire was subdivided in several parts according to the respective field of activity. Having focussed the access to the market during the present investigations, the permission to the market should be examined in detail now.

Computer integrated product design

The IMW analyses the design process with the aim to increase the effectivity and product quality. The integration of information technology is of great importance. Special emphasis is placed on the supply of information from all areas of the product life cycle.

The tasks of this sector are:

  • computer aiding
  • design methods
  • information management

Research procekts in this area:

  • PICASSO (Practical and Intelligent CAD for Assembly Objects)

  • SFB 362 Teilprojekt B4 - thin sheet design

  • QCIM - research group models for production planing

  • QCIM - research group product modeling

  • SFB 180 Teilprojekt A2 - knowledge based incident- and fault analysis in the  interdisciplinary development of process engineering machinery

  • process simulation and -optimisation for production of tooth edge radii

  • Low noise design - systematical compilation of  machine acoustical design examples

  • EQUIP - Work Methodology for Development of Quiet Products

  • AMANIS (Advanced Manufacturing Information System for the Designer), Brite-EuRam II 5139

  • CONFLOW (Concurrent Engineering Workflow),
    INCO-COP 96/0243

  • SIMNET (Workflow Management for Simultaneous Engineering Networks),
    ESPRIT 26780

  • Intelligent Information Systems for the Designer

  • PLUS - Parts Library Usage and Supply,
    ESPRIT III 8984

  • ProManual - Intelligent Product Manuals,
    INCO-DC 96/0231

  • SIMDES (Simultaneous development of chemical process, process-engineering-machinery and process-control-systems with special reference to low-temperature-desulphurisation)

  • RPTool (Rapid Produktion of Tooling) BE-S2-5293

  • Methods and systems for choosing steel according to design criteria - computer based steel selection for designers

  • KARE - Knowledge Acquisition and sharing for Requirement Engineering,
    ESPRIT 28916

  • Sedres-2 - Systems Engineering Data Reprsentation and Exchange Standardization 2,

  • PRIME - Product Integrated Knowledge Management for the Extended Enterprise,
    GROWTH 40408

  • I*Proms - Innovative Production Machines and Systems (NoE)

Education and lectures

  • INTEC - Innovative Information Technologies in Engineering Design and Production

  • INTEND - Information Technology in Engineering Design and Production

  • APoST - Advanced Product Support Technologies Network,(Asia IT&C ASI/B7-301/97/0126-15)

  • EAPSTRA - EurAsian Network for Product Lifecycle Support & Training,(Asia IT&C ASI/ B7-301/71 548 (3152-094))

  • BLK - Development  and trial of an integrated achievement point system in the development of  unitised lecture offerings on the basis of engineering studies

  • DFH - Tri-national course of study of material studies in engineering, ASD-09-03

  • DAAD - Double diploma Poland (AGH Krakau)

  • DAAD - Double diploma spain (Oviedo, Valencia)

Project information

Machine elements


 (01/96 up to 04/97)

The LOST FOAM project was a combined project in lower-sachsony. Various institutes of the  university Paderborn, the university Hannover, the TU Freiberg, the TU Braunschweig and the TU Clausthal were involved. The casting process for a crankshaft housing was optimised in coorperation with VW. The IMW undertook the measuring of crankshaft housings on its own coordinate measuring machine and developed a pneumatic measuring system for mass production checks.


Influence of shape deviation on the fit- and running behaviour of splined shaft connections and splined couplings; functional  and practical tolerance system and functional measurement- and jig procedures

(06/1991 up to 06/1994)

Goal of this project was to determine the influence of the manufacturing quality of splines on their operational behaviour. The specific impact of various tooth form deviations on the fit (excentricity, play, assembly) and operational behaviour (load distribution, strength, wear) were analysed.
Based on this, recommendations were made concerning tolerancing und checking von splined joints and splined couplings.


Analysis of splined shaft connections with interference fit regarding their assembly and operational characteristics


(01/1993 up to 12/1996)

Splined connections with interferecnce fits minimise wear resulting from axial movement by restricting axial movement.  Compared to normal friction fit connections smaller wall thicknesses are possible. The use of such connections leads to problem in assembly and use due to manufacturing faults.  (variations of fit forces - impossible assembly; uneven load distribution - bursting of the hub). Using finite element calculations and fit tests the influence of tooth geometry, clearance and manfacturing tolerance on load carrying capacity and assembly are analysed. Information about an economical design result.


Dimensioning and design of light weight winch drums, project of the fundation for industrial research; project no. S407 under the leadership of the Studiengesllschaft Stahlanwendung e.V. ; Nr. P351


(06/97 up to 06/99)

The goal of the research project is to develop a rule for the optimised design and dimensioning of light weight winch drums. The reduction of the winch drums weight as well as an optimum load transmission are the main focus. The project encompasses measuring the loads on  a real winch drum as well the analysis of theoretical approaches for dimensioning the drum. The model generation and its verification are undertaken making use of closed analytical solutions (calculation tool for the end user), finite element calculations and test rig results.  A rope test rig was made for the project to measure the transversal contraction of wire ropes. The direct transfer of results to the user is undertaken by a project accompanying industry curatorship which consists of well-known representatives from crane, wire sope and winch drum manufacturers.


Static and dynamic load capacity of splined connections under elastic and part-plastic material behaviour


(06/95 up to 05/97)

In the previous DFG project DFG Di 289/9-1 fundamentals for the calculation of spline connections under static load with elastic straining were developed. Based on this, the project mentioned above created an calculation approach using FEM calculations which allowed a part-plastic design of these positive-fit connections. Accompanying this test rig analysis under static and dynamic torsional loads werde undertaken on a hydraulic oscilating rig. Especially the influence of the parameters load distribution, mounting position and training of form strength should be looked into. The aim is to acquire a calculation approach to design fatigue resistant torsionally loaded splined connections as well as to verify the FEM results.

MACDRIVE (Man-Machine Interface for Remote Operation of Civil Works Equipment)

 (11/96 up to 11/98)

The goal of this CRAFT project is the development of a remote control system for diggers, which shal be used in dangerous surroundings. The system should enable the exact remote control by recording signals (movement, pictures, sound) from the digger and transmitting them to the operator. Project partners are companies from England, France, Spain and the IMW.

Machine acoustics

Low noise design - systematical collection of machine acoustical design examples

Finanzed by the federal agency for safety at work and occupational medicine

(11/96 up to 12/98)

Due to legal requirements and growing market demands the consideration of acoustical needs during the design process is of major importance for many products. However, designers usually have very little knowledge of acoustics. Accordingly the designer requires means of help which ease the solution of design problems. The goal of the project supported by the federal agency for safety at work and occupational medicine is the systematical collection of design examples to practically exemplify the design rules of ISO/TR 11688. The examples should reflect the current technical standard as well as they should be descriptive and be easily understood by designers as the target group.

EQUIP - Work Methodology for Development of Quiet Products


Finanzed by the Commission of the European Communities - Brite/EuRam II (Project no. 5983)

(01/93 up to 12/96)

Many demands are placed on the design of new products, the  compliance to these must be ensured by the designer. Fundamental next to the fulfilment of the main function  is the  reliability and the cost-recovery. Machine acoustical demands are of growing importance due to more stringent legal requirements and due to growing competition. This project led to the development of a computer based consultation system for the designer dessen, whose use is to provide acoustical knowledge in the early phases of design. This should enable the designer to include acoustical concerns into his design decissions so that complex and time consuming amedments on the finished machine can be avoided.
Further information...


DFG-Structure-borne noise 289-13


(02/94 up to 02/98)

This research projects goal is to optically collect information about the formation and spreading of structural noise in elastic and visco-elastic solid bodies by suitable measuring techniques such as dynamic photoelasticity and to evaluate this information qualitativly by incorporating accelerometer measurements. Using analyses of time- and frequency domains, specific design measures to reduce noise of machine structures should be developed and implemented.

FVA - Impedance elements 235

(09/96 up to 04/97)

The goal of this research project is to reduce structural-borne noise transmission by design measures. The research is undertaken using experimental methods on the example structures of gear teeth and flanges. The research results are processed into design rules and dimensioning aids for different impdeance element types. According to different types of use, a range of specially adapted impedance element types should be developed.

Process engineering machinery and equipment

SFB 180 part project A19 - cutting mill

(1997 up to 1999)

The special research project 180 -design of process engineering machinery for special mechanicla, thermal and chemical loads-  is sponsored by the Deutsche Froschungsgesellschaft (DFG). The part project A19 deals with the design and operation of cutting mills to cut up plastic mixtures consisting of compact materials, foams and largely foils.
Further Information...


SFB 180 part projekt B12 - reaction compressors


(1994 up to 1997)

This project deals with the thermal and chemical decomposition of plastic mixtures by using overcritical water in a continuously operating reaction  compressor. It was sponsored up to 12/1997 as part of the SFB 180 as part project B12.
Further information...


AiF-Project (Nr.: 11193 N/1) - Reaction swing mill


(08/97 up to 08/99)

This projects goal was to develop a continuously operating reaction swing mill using a model non-catalytic gas-solid reaction. Based on the special research project 180/B1, the process steps of "milling" and "reacting" to produce chloric silane from ferrosilicium and hydrogen chloride should be combined into one process and the newly designed mill should be tested for suitability in industry. Project partners are the company H. C. Starck and the ICVT of the TU-Clausthal.
Further information...


Computer integrated product design

PICASSO (Practical and Intelligent CAD for Assembly Objects)


(08/93 up to 12/95)

A CAD system was developed in this BRITE-EuRam-project to suit the needs of the plastic injection moulding industry. Special emphasis was placed on tolerances. Project partners were DELCAM International Ltd. (Birmingham/UK), Marés SA (Barcelona/E), Technolcad Ltd. (Sligo/IRL), University of Liverpool (Liverpool/UK) and the Technical University of Clausthal.
Further information...


SFB 362 part project B4 - thin sheet metal design


(08/96 up to 06/99)

The special research project 362 -manufacturing using sheet metal- is sponsored by the DFG. The part project B4 deals with design systematical basics for functional and easily produced sheet metal structures.  Principally the project is divided into the creation of a prototype design  environment for sheet metal partss and the development of calculation schema to predict the spring back of deep-drawn parts.
Further information...


SFB 180 part project A2 - knowledge based incident- and fault analysis in the interdisziplinary development of process engineering machinery


(1997 up to 1999)

The part project A2 of the special research project 180 deals with delivery of information  und support of the interdisciplinary design process of process engineering machinery.
Further information...


AMANIS (Advanced Manufacturing Information System for the Designer)


(11/92 up to 10/95)

Goal of this fundamental research project as part of the Brite-EuRam-program of the EU (project no. 5139) was the development of a decision aiding tool which allows the collection and design specific formating of current and company-specific manufacturing information and makes available this information to the designer during the product development process. In this way a manufacure-optimised  design of new products should be made possible based on the experiences in manufacturing previous products. AMANIS restricts itsself to machining procedures. Project partners were, next to the TU-Clausthal, the University of Wales Cardiff (UK) and the NTU Athen (GR).


CONFLOW (Concurrent Engineering Workflow)


(02/97 up to 01/00)

The CONFLOW project, which is sponsored as part of the EU-program INCO-Copernicus (project-no. 960243), has the development of mechanisms as its goal which achieve an distinct improvement of efficiency in Engineering Change Management based on comercial systems for PDM. The goal is, in case of a planed or already undertaken change of the product structure, to get immediate information on which further parts within the structure are affected by this change, which engineering areas are to be notified of this change, in which order they are to be informed and to finally initiate the workflow. Next to the TU Clausthal as coordinator the consortium consists of Mummert + Partner consultants AG (Hamburg/D), the University of Wales Cardiff (UK), the TU Budapest (HU), the University Rousse (BG) as well as the companies SAGE Ltd. (HU) und ZITA Ltd. (BG).
Further information...


SIMNET (Workflow Management for Simultaneous Engineering Networks)


(11/98 up to 04/01)

Goal of the EU-project SIMNET (Esprit 26780) is a considerable improvement of the locational-/company-spannung coordination of cooperative development processes. Based on the product data management system CADIM/EDB® a prototype solution should be developed which considers the following aspects:

  • flexible, adopted to the dynamics of product design definition and feasibility of engineering workflows; to achieve this an interface to comercial process modelling tools should be developed which conforms to the specifications of the WfMC standard (WfMC = Workflow Management Coalition),

  • intelligent combination of the Engineering Workflow with product data,

  • open PDM-workflow-architecture conforming to WfMC- and STEP-specifikations (STEP = Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data - ISO 10303),

  • a "extranet" solution adopted to the special needs of engineering workflow for the cooperative product data exchange within  the location/company-spanning procedure handling.

The consortium consists of the following partners:

  • Siemens SGP Verkehrstechnik GmbH (Graz) as coordinator,

  • Knorr-Bremse Systeme für Schienenfahrzeuge GmbH (München/D),

  • Eigner + Partner AG (Karlsruhe/D),

  • BETA an deTU Eindhoven (NL),

  • Mission Critical sa (Waterloo/B),

  • IPS S.L. (Valencia/E),

  • TU Clausthal.

Further information...


Intelligent Information Systems for the Designer


(07/95 up to 06/97)

Goal of this project undertaken together with the University of Wales Cardiff (UK) and financed by the DAAD/British Council within the ARC-program was the development of a universal approach as well as a reference architecture for information systems in the design process taking into account technologies of artificial intelligence.

PLUS - Parts Library Usage and Supply, ESPRIT III 8984


(1993 up to 1996)

Modelling and exchange of parts data bases is described in the ISO standard 13584. The PLUS project contributed a large amount to the creation of this standard. A further important aspect of the project is the implementation of basic aspects of the standard in industrial prototypes.
Further information...


ProManual - Intelligent Product Manuals, INCO-DC 96/0231


(1997 up to 2000)

ProManual developed a procedure to create intelligent product handbooks. New multimedia techniques should be used for presentation if possible.


SIMDES (Simultaneous development of chemical process, process-engineering-machinery and process-control-systems with special reference to low-temperature-desulphurisation)


(09/94 up to 08/97)

The main emphasis of the EU-project SIMDES is the simultaneous development of the chemical process in a low temperature desulphuration plant, the process engineering machinery as well as an intelligent, process optimising control system. By chemical absorption the exhaust is desulphurated using absorbents containing calcium in the so-called half-drying-process. The reactors temperature reaches a maximum of 100°C and relative humidities between 60% and 95%. Nexto to high degrees of desulphuration, up to 90%, an improved absorbent utilisation is achieved by recirculating unspent absorbent into the reactor. The process engineering  machines required for the low temperture desulphuration will be newly designed. The control system will incorporate a so-called "Neuro - Fuzzy Controller", which combines the characteristics of neural networkds and fuzzy logic. Goal of the simultaneous development is to achieve high levels of desulphuration at high levels of reliability and low costs due to automating the process and achiving high levels of absorbent efficiency. The intelligent control ensures that the plant can be run at its optimal operating pint.


  • Institut für Maschinenwesen (Clausthal-Zellerfeld, D)

  • Institut für Engieverfahrens- und Brennstofftechnik (Clausthal-Zellerfeld, D)

  • University of Wales College Cardiff (Cardiff, UK)

  • Instituto di Technologia e Impianti Mecchanica, universita di Genova (Genua, I)

Furhter information...


RTool (Rapid Produktion of Tooling) BE-S2-5293


(03/98 up to 02/00)

Goal of this CRAFT project is the rapid manufacture of tools using the generating procedure of Rapid Prototyping.


  • University of Wales Cardiff (UK)

  • Atlantic Plastics Ltd. (UK)

  • Institut für Maschinenwesen (D)

  • Wilhelm Eisenhuth GmbH KG (D)

  • Iota Sigma (UK) SLM GmbH (D)

  • Ingeneria Computerizada De Moldes S.L. (ESP)


Methods and systems to choose steel according to design criteria - computer based steel selection method for designers


(07/96 up to 12/98)

The project "computer based steel selection for designers" is sponsored by the Studiengesellschaft Stahlanwendung e.V.. Its goal is to aid the designer on choosing the best steel for an application under technical and economic aspects. The to be developd method for selecting steel should be implemented in a prototype and be made available on the internet.
Further information...


Teaching and education

INTEC - Innovative Information Technologies in Engineering Design and Production


(06/96 up to 06/97)

Goal of the INTEC project was the composition of combined research projects within the netework LATECO (Latin American / European Cooperation for the Application of Information Technologies in Engineering Sciences) consisting of the universities Clausthal as coordinator, Kiel, Cardiff (UK), Zaragoza (E), Guadalajara (Mexiko), Sao Luis (Brasilien) and Tarija (Bolivien). To achieve this funds were provided from the ALFA-programm of the EU (sub programm B2 - Devising Common Research Projects) to participate in workshops.


INTEND - Information Technology in Engineering Design and Production

(06/97 up to 06/98)

Goal of the INTEND project is the preparation of exchanges of scientists within the LATECO network (Latin American / European Cooperation for the Application of Information Technologies in Engineering Sciences) consisting of the universities of Clausthal as coordinator, Kiel, Cardiff (UK), Zaragoza (E), Guadalajara (Mexiko), Sao Luis (Brasilien) and Tarija (Bolivia). To achieve this funds were provided from the ALFA-programm of the EU (sub programm B2 - Devising Common Research Projects) to participate in workshops.


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