Doctoral theses on topics concerning “Smart Factory Data and Simulation” in the context of Industry 4.0 are supervised in the Virtual Automation Lab of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. The work is undertaken as part of the PROMISE 4.0 collaborative doctoral programmes.
Research Projects Industry 4.0
HAW Transfer Platform Industry 4.0
The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering is actively engaged in the transfer initiative which goes by the name of HAW Transfer Platform Industry 4.0, which is funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg.
This platform is particularly intended to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to gain access to the topics relating to Industry 4.0. The universities of applied sciences in Aalen, Esslingen and Reutlingen have teamed up with the Steinbeis Foundation to actively take up the challenges in research, teaching and advanced training to support the small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs.
PROMISE 4.0 collaborative doctoral programmes
Virtual Automation Lab (VAL) research laboratory
The faculty’s in-house research laboratory aims to tackle mechanical engineering topics relating to Industry 4.0 which are of great practical relevance. To this end, doctoral theses are undertaken (for example as part of the PROMISE 4.0 collaborative doctoral programme) in the laboratory which consider issues regarding the development and implementability of Industry 4.0 technologies, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. The projects are tackled in close collaboration with industrial enterprises to ensure that the research transfer (for example as part of the HAW transfer platform Industry 4.0) is as efficient as possible.
Smart Factory test environment
Now that the Mechanical Engineering Faculty has successfully set up a new research laboratory called Virtual Automation Lab (VAL) as part of the ”Transfer platform BW Industry 4.0” transfer initiative, the portfolio is being expanded with the Smart Factory test environment. To this end, manufacturing and assembly processes are being equipped with modern technologies. These include physical assistance systems such as cooperative und mobile robots, as well as virtual assistance systems such as the digital twin and Augmented und Mixed Reality environments. Individual machine tools (5-axis machining centre, servo press) from the Metal Forming and Machining Laboratory (LUZ) are to be integrated into the Smart Factory. They are to be physically networked with each other via flexible handling equipment such as mobile robots (driverless transport systems, UAVs), for example. Digital networking across all stations of the Smart Factory is to be realised via an Edge Cloud platform which already exists at VAL. This platform already allows the simple networking of machines via OPC UA and the visualisation of the data via mobile terminals and smart glasses. An Industry 4.0 control panel for the whole Smart Factory is to be set up on this basis with modern cloud and service-based methods.
The aim is for students at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences to come into contact with modern technologies at an early stage and introduce the know-how they gain from this into the companies. Industrial companies should also benefit from this and be offered the opportunity to try out new technologies in a professional environment. The Mechanical Engineering Faculty wants to facilitate and expand an interdisciplinary collaboration on the issue of Industry 4.0 with other faculties. The Smart Factory test environment will be set up over the next 4 years (Jan. 2019 – Dec. 2022). The project is funded with strategy funds of Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and from budgetary resources of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.
Mixed Reality in the Loop Simulation (MRiLS)
The Virtual Automation Lab (VAL) of the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences will be researching a training concept for technical specialists over the next three years as part of a joint project in which methods of virtual and augmented reality are examined. The project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research started in February 2020. With public funding and contributions from industrial partners, the joint project has a total project volume 1.83 million euros.