Creation of the Chair "Centrale Nantes - ESI"

7 January 2014
Paris, France
To foster research on Advanced Numerical Methods for the Simulation of Manufacturing Processes

Paris, France – January 7, 2013 – ESI Group, pioneer and world-leading solution provider in Virtual Prototyping for manufacturing industries, announces the launch of a 6-year joint research program between Centrale Nantes and ESI, for which an Endowed Chair has been created. Both organizations will conduct advanced research on the topics of Model Reduction, Advanced Welding Simulation, and Thermoplastic Welding. The official inauguration will take place on January 21, 2014 at Centrale Nantes.

Example of part of a virtual chart as used on a tablet

Example of part of a virtual chart as used on a tablet

The research scope has been designed to solve current and future problems linked to advanced multi-material design and optimization strategies.

Centrale Nantes and ESI are joining forces to propose solutions that will raise the competitiveness of the French manufacturing industry and the country’s higher education alike.”

Dr Vincent Chaillou, COO, ESI Group



ESI Group will be financing this 6-year collaborative research project, focusing on Model Reduction, Advanced Welding Simulation and Thermoplastic Welding.

Pr. Francisco Chinesta, Professor of Computational Mechanics at Centrale Nantes (France) and titular of the EADS Foundation Chair for the past four years, will be appointed “Centrale Nantes – ESI Chair”. Most specifically, he brings years of expertise in Model Reduction Strategies and advanced modeling and simulation of materials and processes. Dr Jean-Louis Duval, Platform Product Director, ESI Group, will oversee Model Reduction research operations on ESI’s side. Dr Yannick Vincent, Welding and Assembly Solution Product Manager, ESI Group, will coordinate the research on numerical simulation of welding processes, while Dr Laurent Dufort, Composites Manufacturing CoE Manager, ESI Group, and Dr Christophe Binetruy, from Centrale Nantes’ Materials, Processes and Composites department, will jointly lead the research on thermoplastics.

For Model Reduction Strategies, both organizations will work towards the development of virtual charts for non-linear models involving multiple parameters, by using the Proper Generalized Decomposition (PGD method). These virtual charts represent complex mathematical relationships at a glance, e.g. in the form of tables that can be easily visualized. They will be integrated in ESI software to deliver real time simulation results, optimization, and reverse analysis, with the aim to predict even faster how design and manufacturing changes (geometries, materials, processes) will affect a finished product’s performance.

For Advanced Welding Simulation, research will investigate Friction Stir Welding (FSW) processes, which enable the joining of dissimilar materials (such as steel and aluminum) in solid state. Another research objective will be to improve modeling techniques for additive manufacturing, as part of the welding process.

Today, out-of-autoclave systems based on thermoplastic materials are seen as a tangible solution to decrease process cost in the aeronautic and automotive industries. A research team will investigate this area, by focusing on the advanced simulation of automatic tape placement.

For students at Centrale Nantes, this initiative provides an opportunity to study and conduct research on topics that are directly in line with current and future industrial projects. It will finance four PhD theses around the above research projects, while the Research Institute of Civil Engineering and Mechanics of Centrale Nantes will strengthen its team with an additional research position in the field of Computational Mechanics. 

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Centrale Nantes– Media Relations
Laurence Louatron
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ESI Group – Media Relations
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About Centrale Nantes

L’École Centrale de Nantes est membre du Groupe des Écoles Centrales (Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes et Paris) et forme des ingénieurs Centraliens pour l’entreprise. Créée en 1919, l’École Centrale de Nantes compte sur son campus de 16 ha 2050 étudiants dont 1340 élèves-ingénieurs, 200 élèves-ingénieurs en formation continue et par apprentissage (ITII), 240 doctorants et 270 Masters. Centrale Nantes forme des ingénieurs, des diplômés de masters et des docteurs aux développements les plus actuels de la science et de la technologie et les initie aux meilleures pratiques du management. Pour plus d’informations :