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From doctoral studies to digital twins

How Hans Bjarnehed’s PhD in Solid Mechanics helped ÅF develop a digital twin concept.

The challenges of climate change, growing populations and increasing demand for efficiency in all industry sectors calls for a broad spectrum of engineering competence. Within ÅF, engineering competency ranges from recent graduates to those with experience in excess of 20 years. 

However, to be able to create smart solutions and develop new products, we also need the cutting edge expertise of employees with doctoral degrees. One of them is Hans Bjarnehed, PhD in Solid Mechanics, and Sales Manager at ÅF. He is part of the team behind Digital Twin by ÅF, a concept based on CAE simulations. It is a real-time digital simulation model of a physical product or process, enabling manufacturers and others to predict when a machine or component needs to be serviced or replaced.

 Tell us about your degree. What are you specialized in?

I have a PhD within Solid Mechanics, and my specialization is composite materials and contact mechanics. I wrote my thesis on composite leaf springs for Volvo Trucks, and a great deal of strength calculation went into it.

You’re involved in the Digital Twin by ÅF concept. How can a PhD in Solid Mechanics be useful in this?

Well, one purpose of using a Digital Twin is to estimate when the physical product or production equipment needs maintenance. Essentially, we use a model for material fatigue to predict the remaining life of physical products while actually using them. So this is where my doctoral degree and my expertise in structural mechanics comes in handy.

What would you say are the benefits for a company like ÅF to have employees with doctoral degrees?

I believe that companies wanting to be at the forefront in select niches have to be bold and develop new products. To do this, you need a great range of knowledge and competence, with doctors of technology making up the top end. The combination of academic knowledge and extensive practical experience is what makes a company like ÅF so powerful.

Short facts:

Name: Hans Bjarnehed
PhD: Solid Mechanics
Published work: Hans Bjarnehed, "Contact Loading on Stressed Orthotropic Half-Plane - Analytical and Numerical Studies", Doctor thesis, ISBN 91-7032-624-X, Division Solid Mechanics, Chalmers University of Technology.
Time at ÅF: 7 years

Read more about Digital Twin by ÅF.