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Test rig optimization
(2014)

Designing good test rigs for fatigue life tests is a common task in the auto-
motive industry. The problem to find an optimal test rig configuration and
actuator load signals can be formulated as a mathematical program. We in-
troduce a new optimization model that includes multi-criteria, discrete and
continuous aspects. At the same time we manage to avoid the necessity to
deal with the rainflow-counting (RFC) method. RFC is an algorithm, which
extracts load cycles from an irregular time signal. As a mathematical func-
tion it is non-convex and non-differentiable and, hence, makes optimization
of the test rig intractable.
The block structure of the load signals is assumed from the beginning.
It highly reduces complexity of the problem without decreasing the feasible
set. Also, we optimize with respect to the actuators’ positions, which makes
it possible to take torques into account and thus extend the feasible set. As
a result, the new model gives significantly better results, compared with the
other approaches in the test rig optimization.
Under certain conditions, the non-convex test rig problem is a union of
convex problems on cones. Numerical methods for optimization usually need
constraints and a starting point. We describe an algorithm that detects each
cone and its interior point in a polynomial time.
The test rig problem belongs to the class of bilevel programs. For every
instance of the state vector, the sum of functions has to be maximized. We
propose a new branch and bound technique that uses local maxima of every
summand.