ASDEC facility provides competitive advantage for UK engineering


The University of Leicester launched the £2.5 million Advanced Structural Dynamics Evaluation Centre (ASDEC) in July 2014 – the UK’s first commercial robotised 3D scanning laser vibration measurement and modal analysis centre providing advanced vibration consultancy. The laser Doppler vibrometer (Robovib) technology that is employed at ASDEC gives distinct benefits of speed, accuracy and volume of measurements over traditional methods.

One of only three commercially-available Robovib facilities in the world, ASDEC is the only such unit in the UK and its availability gives UK engineering a genuine competitive advantage as it seeks to compete globally. Added to this enormous bonus is a unique body of expertise in vibrometry in the personnel at ASDEC, as well as within the Engineering Department of the University of Leicester.

The combination of facilities and expertise make ASDEC genuinely world-leading in its capability to advise clients on the most effective methods of working with vibration in their engineering applications and developing better products.

Understanding, analysing and controlling vibration is the aim of design engineers across multiple industries, a goal often obstructed by the difficulty of obtaining good measures of vibration as it happens.

Laser Doppler vibrometry offers benefits of both performance and efficiency compared to the established alternative contact-based accelerometer sensors. These features and benefits are:
  • Greater accuracy
    There is no observer effect where the mass of the accelerometers and cables alter the structural characteristics of the test object. This is because laser Doppler vibrometry works by aiming light at the vibrating subject and studying the returned beam.
  • Greater resolution
    The 3D scanning laser vibrometer is fully automatic and manoeuvrable with a robot, which allows the measurement of a very large number of data points. This would be unrealistic with traditional vibration measurements. Tests can be accurately repeated quickly and simply with any required variations, allowing rapid iteration of product configurations.
  • Lower cost, faster testing
    Reduced time to market. Data is collected and interpreted within hours, which allows more iterations to be tested. Important decisions can then be made sooner in the development cycle. CAE/FEA models can be updated based on experimental data, improving the next design phase.
  • Non-contact
    ASDEC can test structural issues in products that traditional techniques cannot handle.

As you might expect, the ASDEC facility is generating excitement within the automotive, rail, aerospace and energy/power generation industries, but the appeal is much wider and ASDEC is already carrying out work in biomedical applications, precision/specialist engineering and composites/materials engineering.

Such is the flexibility of the facility for testing that almost any engineering application in any sector can be tested.

The ASDEC facility is located at MIRA Technology Park, near Hinckley.

The MIRA Technology Park, specialising in the automotive industry research, is one of
the Government’s Enterprise Zones.

ASDEC has been developed by the University of Leicester and funded by grants from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.