Mechanodesign

Practical Approaches to Obtaining New Value Creation Skills

We are engaged in education and research which fosters mechanical engineers and researchers who are familiar not only with mechanical engineering but also with a wide variety of cutting-edge technology fields, who can make interdisciplinary use of their expertise in such fields to create new value, and who can demonstrate their capabilities in the global arena. We develop human resources who can act as a project leader in a corporate design or manufacturing division and supervise manufacturing activities to create new value through a practical approach.

Educational Program

Our educational program has been designed with “students obtaining the ability to create new value through a practical approach” in mind. In other words, we enable students to precisely understand the essence of a wide variety of problems and needs found in society and design innovations by making interdisciplinary use of high-level engineering expertise. The education we provide enables students to understand not only mechanical engineering but also cutting-edge technologies and obtain the ability to make interdisciplinary use of such technologies and apply them to actual engineering problems. We also ensure that students refine their ability to disseminate their ideas to society at a global level and develop the ethics required of professional engineers and researchers.

Laboratory Information

Fracture and Strength of Advanced Materials Metal Forming
Recently, to enable greenhouse gas emission reduction and energy cost reduction there has been a strong demand for the use of outstanding materials and efficiency improvements in mechanical products. To enable production from highly durable and functional materials, we evaluate the properties of bonded dissimilar materials such as titanium alloys produced by 3D printers. We also research surface reforming and heat treatment to improve the strength and functionality of various materials. By acquiring intellectual property rights for our work and by participating in activities of academic societies and associations, we aid manufacturing and are able to make meaningful contributions to society. At the same time, we strive to develop students’ abilities through research activities, improving their practical skills through independent research activities, and participation in international conferences.

Research themes: Improvement of functionality of metallic materials produced by additive manufacturing
Keywords: Additive manufacturing/3D printer/Titanium/Heat resistant superalloy/Aluminum
The shape-forming process through which materials, mainly metals, are deformed into a required shape is called “metal forming” or “plastic working.” Metal forming processes are widely used in the fabrication of large parts and mass production and are generally categorized by the objective of the form: raw material production, bulk metal forming, sheet metal forming, tube metal forming, separation, bonding, leveling, surface finishing, and so on. Our research group focuses on sheet metal forming. Development of effective new forming methods, clarification of the deformation mechanism in sheet metal forming, fracture in sheet metal forming, the development of tailored sheet metals and the evaluation of forming limits are our current research themes. Although master’s students sometimes use finite element method (FEM) simulation for assistance, they mainly produce experimental work. In their research, students experience the entire research process from the design of experimental apparatus, processing of parts and specimens, fabrication of apparatus, scheduling and conducting of experiments, to the analysis of experimental data and the presentation of their discoveries.

Research themes: Development of novel sheet metal forming techniques and clarification of their forming mechanism
Keywords: Metal forming/Theory of Plasticity/Sheet metal forming/Forming limit/Tailored blanks/Shaped sheet metal forming

Precision Manufacturing Micro/Nano Processing
Although they have been in use for hundreds of years, gears are the key to mechanical engineering. We study many types and aspects of gears, including gear cutting, gear finishing, and gear vibration. Recently, we also started research on gear inspection, load capacity, and failure-sign detection. Our main research projects involve:
1) Computer simulation of gear tooth generation based on the theory of gearing, the load capacity of plastic gears, and Contact-Bending-Fatigue (CBF) tests for gear materials
2) Frequency analysis of gear meshing vibration, gear fatigue-monitoring by artificial intelligence, active vibration control using neural oscillators and position controllers, and development of conductive-ink-printed sensors for gears.

Research themes: Grasp the essence of mechanical engineering
Keywords: Gear cutting/Finishing/Inspection/Load capacity/Vibration/Failure prognostics
Our research and education focus on micro- and nano-order micromachining as a key technology for creating advanced machines and equipment.
We are investigating the smallest machinable dimensions in micro electrical discharge machining, micro cutting, micro grinding, micro electrochemical machining, micro ultrasonic machining, micro punching and similar areas. Furthermore, the research we conduct on the fabrication of microtools is indispensable for the above microfabrication methods.

Research themes: Micro- and nanometer-order microfabrication
Keywords: Microfabrication/Non-conventional machining/Microtool
Surface Functionalization Processing Production Systems Engineering and Informatics
New surface functions which are not originally present can be generated by forming micro textures on material surfaces.
For example, the surface functions of the lotus effect are widely known. We study surface functionalization methods using various machining techniques such as grinding, cutting, laser machining and micro forming. Current research themes are as follows:
1) High-efficiency mirror surface finishing of diamond and SiC by ultraviolet-ray assisted polishing
2) Surface functionalization of biomaterial by Micro Ball Forming (MBF) method
3) Super Processing Center (SPC) Development

Research themes: Surface functionalization using various machining techniques
Keywords: Surface functionalization/Grinding/Polishing and Non-conventional machining
A knowledge of algorithms in the field of computer science is becoming increasingly important in the reinforcement of fundamental theories on production system and related logistics management. Examples include complexity of optimization problems, design techniques for algorithms, and performance analysis of algorithms. For an optimization problem, even when a polynomial time exact algorithm is unlikely to exist, we may be able to design a polynomial time approximation algorithm with a good performance guarantee by exploiting certain significant properties of the problem. Indeed, such good approximation algorithms have recently been found for many optimization problems. This laboratory focuses on optimization problems arising in production systems and logistics, such as scheduling, process planning, routing, and so on, from an algorithmic perspective.

Research themes: Optimization modeling and algorithm design for packaging production systems
Keywords: Operations research/Algorithm design/Combinatorial optimization
Robotics Robot Locomotion
Feedback control is widely used for mechatronics equipment and robots to ensure they operate stably. It has now become an important and indispensable technology in numerous fields. This equipment and these robots, however, are used in various operating environments where uncertain factors or irregular phenomena such as random disturbances or unpredictable vibrations or winds exist. The control systems for such equipment or robots used in uncertain environments must be designed based on mathematical models that include the randomness of the environments. We are engaged in research into various problems concerned with the control of mechanical systems and robots operating in environments that involve uncertain and irregular phenomena, largely using modern control theory, classical control theory, and stochastic system theory.

Research themes: Researches on control problems of mechatronic systems and robots with random phenomena
Keywords: Flexible arms/Drones/Robots/Optimal control/Stochastic systems

It is said that there are two purposes in robotics research. One is to build useful machines, and the other is to understand the mechanisms of living organisms by building and operating actual robots. Our research into robots has spurred advances in both of these regards. We research locomotion robots, specifically, (1) dynamic four-legged robot walking and running on irregular surfaces, (2) visual navigation of four-legged running robots, and (3) clarification of gait adaptation and gait transition mechanisms in four-legged walking and running.

Research themes: Autonomous gait generation/transition /adaptations on irregular terrain determined by quadruped robot leg loading feedback
Keywords: Quadruped robot/Generation and transition of gaits/Non-linear dynamics/Emergence
Measurement Systems
To achieve a productive and fulfilled society, we need to quantitatively evaluate various physical phenomena and functions from the performance of everyday industrial products, to various phenomena involved in manufacturing processes, to our health. In this laboratory, we research 3D measurement, photo-application measurement, and image processing measurement (our keywords). In particular, we research mechanical materials and biomaterials, and new optical measurement techniques for exploring complex phenomena such as flow. We are currently working on (1) computer-based optical theoretical analysis of observed images measured with laser light, (2) development of digital optical image measuring methods that enable automatic measurement of spatial information on measured objects, (3) application measurement based on the electronic speckle method, and (4) multi-dimensional fluid flow measurement by dynamic image analysis.

Research themes: Development of optical and acoustic measuring methods & flow measurement techniques and their applications
Keywords: Digital Holography/3D measurements/Dynamic Image Analysis