Since 2004 the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM) in Kaiserslautern and the Fraunhofer-Chalmers-Centre (FCC) in Gothenburg have been cooperating in the development of fast and accurate simulation Software for cables and hoses.
The starting point was a previous and still ongoing development of FCC for automatic path and assembly planning in the field of robotics and factory automation. This technology is included in the software Industrial Path Solutions (IPS) and allows the calculation of collision free assembly lines and optimized paths for robots. In the same field, there was a need to add flexible cable and wire models to this automatic path and assembly planning, because the robots’ service pipes often wore out early. These cables are carried all the way along the motion and therefore are exposed to collisions and stresses which are not easy to foresee.
The challenge of this task was to create a connection between the exact calculation of the movement of limp elements and fast computation to enable interactive operations. The institutes added new methods and efficient algorithms to the software environment of IPS. As a result, the extensive software package IPS Cable Simulation was created and published in 2009. In May 2012, the company fleXstructures was founded as a spin-off company of the ITWM to distribute the new software.