Fiber optics & predictable physical models towards load analysis in mechatronic systems


Flanders Make open call - Fiber optics & predictable physical models towards load analysis in mechatronic systems


In mechatronic drivetrains, the use of strain and temperature measurement is a well-integrated activity for the analysis of mechanical loads and temperature gradients for critical components. Nowadays classical strain gauges and various thermal resistors are the dominant workhouse for those activities.

However, the practical deployment comes with a long instrumentation time, extensive calibration and limited accuracy. Moreover, resistor-based sensors heavily suffer from electro-magnetic interference that is often present in drivetrains. Fiber optics have the strong advantage that multiple sensor nodes can be installed in a single wire and that they are rather insensitive to production variability and environmental conditions. To fully exploit the potential of those sensors, this strategic basic research project aims to tackle several scientific challenges:

  1. With respect to the design of experiments, coupled thermal/strain models are made to assign the sensor location/orientation. Those models will also be used of estimation of mechanical/thermal loads ones the measurements are available.
  2. On the sensing & processing side, it deals with the characterisation of the strain/temperature cross-sensitivity, the limitations on the interrogators with respect to bandwidth, resolution and sensor nodes, the repeatability of the mounting procedure, etc.
  3. The models and measurements will be exploited in a virtual sensing scheme to identify mechanical loads and thermal gradients that can be used for monitoring and design purposes.

The application cases involve the estimation of ground/connection forces, milling/end-effector loads and evaluation of strain/thermal hot spots. The industrial target group includes the fiber optic equipment providers, mechatronic solution providers and electro-mechanical system/component manufacturers.


Project goals

Common innovation goal

Development of accurate, EMI robust, distributed strain/temperature fields for electro-mechanical systems leveraging on fiber optic sensor solutions & novel modelling/estimation tools.

Generic character

Wide representation of electromechanical systems in wind, automotive, railway, agricultural, textile, …

Scientific goals

  1. Development of model-based experiment design & estimation techniques for load sensing exploiting fiber optic sensors
  2. Generation of sensing techniques that have predictable strain/temperature output by improving interrogator, mounting strategies & sensor models
  3. Demonstrator development of representative electro-mechanical transmissions adopting a scalable modelling & sensing approach


FIBERMECH_SBO is a Strategic Basic Research (SBO) project. We are looking for companies to join the User Group and work with us on the valorisation of the project.

Interested? Complete the form below and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Other SBO open calls