Grab the future - virtual prototyping using particle based simulation

Themes: Structural Engineering, Infrastructure & Mobility / Transport

Early prototype

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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Grabs are a type of handling equipment for dry bulk such as coal or iron ore. Development of grabs is conservative as the particular nature of dry bulk material hinders an accurate continuous description of the material and grab behaviour during operation. Virtual evaluation of prototypes can shorten the time to market and reduce the development costs greatly.


The project has created a validated virtual environment for simulating the interaction between particles and equipment by Discrete Element Method and Multi Body Dynamics. The simulation has been validated through lab-scale and full-scale industrial experiments of existing grabs.


By now the model has been validated and is ready to be used to develop the grab of the future. It provides insight into the working principles of equipment from a particulate material perspective. This helps to improve any process that involves handling and processing of powders andgranular materials. Dingena Schott


Ir. Stef W. Lommen

Prof. dr. ir. Gabriel Lodewijs