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Successful Research with Cooperation Partners.

(3.6.2017) How do gas and coal dust behave in a blast furnace? Which flows occur? - If particles collide, do the same laws of physics apply when, for example, billard balls collide during a game of billards? However, industrial processes don't deal with only 16 balls but rather several trillion. This can make calculating the occurring flow difficult.

Priv. Docent Dr. Simon Schneiderbauer, head of the CD Laboratory for Multi-Scale Modeling of Multiphase Processes and deputy head of the Department of Particulate Flow Modeling held a presentation on May 11, 2017, titled "Billiards in the Blast Furnace. A World of Particles". The presentation was part of the "Next Generation" series held in cooperation with the AEC and OÖN and looked at developing specific theories to make statements about particle behavior. Because even the best supercomputers cannot calculate how this number of particles will behave in a real-time.

See: www.jku.at/nextgeneration, opens an external URL in a new window for detailed information about the presentation series and Dr. Schneiderbauer's presentation.

(27.2.2017) How should robots be designed in the future, what should they be able to do and how should they work and communicate with humans? The "Laboratory for Creative Robotics" pursues these and other questions. The JKU Institute of Robotics and the AEC are both involved in the lab which is managed by the Linz University of Art and Design Linz.

The first step is individualized manufacturing with the help of robots: instead of out-sourcing production to the Far East as in the past, robotic production should be intelligent and be completely controlled starting with product design to production. The products should be adaptable so that there is individualized mass production ("mass customization") instead of mass production. We work together with small and medium-sized companies in the field of design, architecture and skilled trade in order to come up with solutions

During the second step, the robot will interface between the digital and the physical world and be applied in digital, interactive art, design and industry partners.

The third step is the development of human-robot collaboration. To this end, new, creative concepts are to be developed as to how people can communicate with robots and, conversely, how robots can communicate with people. Particular emphasis is placed on safe and collaborative robots.

The "Laboratory for Creative Robotics" was approved by the "Higher Education Area Structural Funds". These funds are made available every three years by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. All universities can submit an application. The JKU has submitted several applications and several projects have been approved, including the "Laboratory for Creative Robotics".

(10.2.2017) "imPACts" is a K-Project focusing on research for the chemical and biochemical process industry. Managed by RECENDT Ltd., the JKU Institute for Microelectronics and Microsensors is an active partner (along with others) and has now received a highly-rated interim evaluation in regards to impact: The project findings were evaluated by both the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and by international peer reviewers and received excellent reviews.

The reviewers praised a number of targeted "excellent findings", highlighting the scientific quality and reputation of over 100 participating researchers from nine research institutions and eleven companies, and also confirmed that the findings are relevant for industry. The panel of experts was also particularly impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the partners - especially the companies involved.

Particularly exciting results have been attained in both the areas of improving various process-analytical measuring methods and in developing new approaches and methods designed to continuously map chemical processes in computer models. This means that the new process models can be "fed" with better real-time measurement data and will generate completely new information about process states. This type of information was previously unavailable.

New and reliable measuring and evaluation methods mean that chemical production plants can operate more efficiently, economically, and ecologically more sound.

Patents and a cloud-based solution for process industry 4.0 are expected to create new business areas in the medium term. Newly developed solutions applied to the processes at industrial partner companies are already showing benefits and advantages every day.

ImPACts will continue for another two years. A final evaluation will be conducted at this time.

(19.10.2016) Have you ever thought about what your jeans have to go through? All day long they are stretched, bent, and thrashed yet the creases remain exactly where they should be. It's not easy for fashion designers to get the best, desired results. And that's where the Institute of Measurement Technology comes in.

Univ. Prof. Dr. Christiane Luible-Bär (Department of Fashion & Technology at the Linz University of Art and Design) is now working at the JKU to develop a measurement system optimized for fabrics. Department head Univ. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Zagar was skeptical at first because fabric is inhomogeneous because of its design as well as an extremely difficult material that has a more complex behavior. Nevertheless, a measuring system has been developed to provide precise measurements of individual substance parameters: currently the material's bending behavior which is how fabric is draped (the topic was most recently a graduate thesis topic). Future research will continue to focus on expansion behavior and measuring elasticity, friction and weight.

Prof. Luible-Bär added, "This is, however, not about the material's quality because we already have measuring systems for that. This is about measured parameters that can be used in the correct bandwidth for a simulation system." Fashion design today takes place on computers and the fabric is no longer sewn together but rather the design is computer-simulated. And the more detailed information we can enter in to the computer in regards to the fabric, the better it works.

Today, sportswear companies in particular are using 3D simulation to create expensive clothing prototypes faster and cheaper. If the virtual prototype can be simulated in exact, correctly measured material parameters, then it can replace the real prototype.

A second graduate thesis is currently focusing on carrying out the entire work on the measuring machine.

Only about 20x20 cms of fabric is needed to span in the machine and measure it.

Beforehand, movement date taken from professional athletes were recorded and a virtual avatar was created. "We know exactly how much the fabric is moved, how often and how quickly." said Prof. Luible-Bär. This can also be used to test whether or not a certain fabric is even suitable to make a particular garment.

Finally, the measured fabric parameters also serve to accurately test the latest compression sportswear, ie clothing that is applied to the body with a certain amount of pressure in order to increase an athlete's performance and endurance. This new type of sportswear could not be tested without accurate simulations.

Prof. Luible-Bär remarked, "We had a very special task for Prof. Zagar. The basic requirement was that the machine developed here must be user-friendly for those in the fashion industry who are not particularly tech-savvy. "Also, if the machine can be mass-produced, it should not cost much as the fashion industry has to save costs at every turn."

Prof. Zagar added, "It will take some time before the whole measurement system is ready, but when I think back to how initially skeptical I was at first and then look at what we have achieved thus far, I am confident that we will come up with a solution that is truly an important step for the fashion industry."

(1.9.2016) The recent 2016 “Shanghai Subject Ranking” has ranked the JKU a leading Austrian university in the field of “Mechanical Engineering”.  The university is thus the only Austrian university among the top 100 universities worldwide. Even if rankings differentiate fundamentally, the JKU's practice-oriented, interdisciplinary research approach of JKU has been confirmed as a successful one.

Univ. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Jakoby, speaker for the field of Mechatronics at the JKU, emphasized, “Being ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide in the field of Mechanical Engineering at the JKU is a testament to our commitment and success in Mechatronics in Linz.  Our direction has been consistent since the 1990s: Base-knowledge education and research as well as successful collaboration with industrial companies.” This research approach was a key factor in achieving a high ranking.  Established by the JKU, the Linz Mechatronic Competence  Center strongly supports scientific collaboration in the field of mechatronics and a new COMET funding application is currently in the works.

Shanghai Ranking announced the individual subject rankings for the first time, thereby confirming the JKU’s technological expertise:  The JKU is the only Austrian university to place in the Top 100 worldwide in two categories (in addition to Mechanical Engineering, also under Material Science & Engineering). In the field of Chemical Engineering, the JKU placed among the Top 150 universities and ahead of all other Austrian universities.  The JKU is ranked among the top 200 worldwide in the category of Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

(14.7.2016) Industrial systems today are currently being challenged by products and production systems of the future. Together with other Austrian and international research institutions and companies, the JKU has created the "Products and Production Systems of the Future" initiative and will be the world's first research center to focus on this issue: Pro2Future.

Together with global networking on the Internet and the WWW and over the past decade, miniaturized microelectronics have become a completely new industrial and economic application scenario to embed information and communication technologies. Digitalization and virtualization open up an unprecedented wide range of possibilities for future products (smart products, digital products, online products) and their manufacturing processes (intelligent factories, digital production, virtual factories). For the first time, products and production systems can - and must be - understood as a closely interwoven process when it comes to design, development and operations.

Univ. Prof. Dr. Alois Ferscha (Institute for Pervasive Computing, JKU) is the applications's lead developer: "Pro2Future focuses on research issues and the potential application resulting from interlinking product design and the required production systems. For the first time, these two aspects have been brought together to create an innovative, holistic approach."

Pro2Future consolidates the center's research findings in to two core areas, namely (i) Cognitive Products, and (ii) Cognitive Production Systems. In addition, three basic areas will be developed: (i) Machine Perception and Awareness, (ii) Cognitive Robotics and Shop Floors, and (iii) Cognitive Decision Systems. Mechatronics involves the Institute of Robotics and Control Engineering and Process Automation at the Center.

Pro2Future is a K1-Center that is a part of the COMET track and beginning in 2017, it will be operated by 45 researchers who will receive €19 million in funding over a four-year period.

(5.10.2015) The Mechatronic Design (MecDes) Demonstrator aims to make the wide research field "Model-based Mechatronic System Design" at the Institute for Mechatronic Product Development and Production (IMDP) visible and tangible for students, researchers, business partners and interested parties. The Symposium Industry 4.0/Conference of the National Cluster Platform Austria took place on October 7-9, 2015, providing an opportunity to present MecDes to a wider audience.

Industry 4.0 is currently a buzzword and, in addition to being a marketing concept in politics and business, it is a challenge for industry, research institutions and, not least, society as a whole. MecDes by IMDP is not the answer to Industry 4.0 but it is one of the building blocks. Dr. Peter Hehenberger, deputy head of the institute, remarked: "That's why above all, our goal is to prepare complex correlations in a compact form for research and teaching in a laboratory environment and present it to those who are interested."

High-ranking officials, including Austrian Federal Minister Dr. Reinhold Mitterlehner and PM Michael Strugl, showed keen interest in the project.

"MecDes" combines and integrates various systems and tools, some of which have been available on the market for years. Manufacturers often promise more than they can actually accomplish and that is why coupling the systems can be an enormous challenge at IMDP.  One of the core elements includes creating, verifying and showing the interfaces between the systems.

DI Martin Ahrens added: "Student involvement is an important part as students can get an undergraduate or graduate topic for their thesis as part of the MecDes project. There is great interest in combining research and practice."

With the help of MecDes, there is a tool to demonstrate the available research topics. So far, virtual operations have been implemented in which a real machine model can be operated simultaneously with a real control code on an industrial PLC (programmable logic controller) in addition to a virtual machine model. The results include advantages regarding savings for time and cost as well as increased quality in product development. In addition, a condition monitoring system has been integrated that can retrieve all the data of the virtual model and the real model, thus enabling a target/actual comparison of the machine's state and production data. To simplify programming, a tool for automatic code generation has been implemented. This allows simplified programming with block diagrams without deeper programming knowledge. The subsequently automatically generated code is automatically converted into structured text which, as a result, is directly legible by modern controllers.

The project is being realized with the support of Siemens PLM, Siemens AG and Weitblick Systems Ltd.

Facts about the SmaPro "Machine Data Analysis and Interpretation Production" Project:

Academic Partners

  • RISC Software Ltd (Consortium)
  • Institute of Mechatronic Design and Production (IMDP), JKU Linz
  • Institute of Symbolic Computation (RISC), JKU Linz
  • Institute of Applied-Oriented Knowledge Processing (FAW), JKU Linz

Company Partners:

  • AGS-Engineering Ltd
  • Engel Austria Ltd, Schwertberg
  • Fill Ltd, Gurten
  • Fronius International Ltd, Thalheim
  • Ginzinger electronic systems Ltd, Weng im Innkreis
  • INOCON Technologie Ltd, Attnang-Puchheim
  • KEBA AG, Linz
  • Trumpf Maschinen Austria Ltd & Co KG, Pasching
  • WFL Millturn Technologies Ltd & Co KG, Linz

The project is funded and implemented as part of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency program "Research Competencies for the Economy".

(2.10.2014) Lightweight construction aims to make materials lighter, for example in the automotive or aircraft industry. The results are thin-walled components made of high-performance materials such as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. In order to ensure the carrying capacity and safety of optimized designs, lightweight construction makes use of special methods, develops sophisticated calculation models and special computer programs, and carries out complex weight testing.

The interdisciplinary research work at the newly established Christian Doppler Laboratory for Structural Strength of Lightweight Structures focuses on this field. Officially opened on October 27 at the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz, the lab's main funding agency includes the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW).

Prof. Martin Schagerl, head of the Institute for Structural Lightweight Construction at the JKU, explained: "The goal is to develop mechatronic systems that use sensors to monitor and control the load-bearing capacity of lightweight components during operation - and in real time - and over the entire lifetime of the component." However, research work at the CD Laboratory goes beyond just observing the structural state. The developed systems are also intended to directly evaluate potential damage, predict further impact on component strength, and suggest optimized repair measures for the remainder of the lifetime - a highly interesting approach for the lightweight construction industry. To this end, BMW AG (Munich), Mubea Carbo Tech Ltd (Salzburg) and FACC Operations Ltd (Ried im Innkreis) have been brought on board as corporate partners.

Walter Stephan, CEO of FACC Operations Ltd., added: "The CD lab's goal to be able to make statements about the structural condition based on online measurement data of an aircraft in flight is unique. I wish them every success in achieving this ambitious goal."

The Austrian Ministry of Science, Research and Economy Provides CD Lab Funding
Dr. Reinhold Mitterlehner, Austrian Minister for Science, Research and Economy, emphasized the importance of funding program: "In the international competition of ideas, CD laboratories are more important than ever before as they can market new research findings and make them usable for companies. This secures growth and jobs in Austria because iinnovation is decisive when it comes to the long-term prosperity of our country."

An international, interdisciplinary team has been put together to conduct interdisciplinary research. The three PhD positions were filled by Ms. Susanne Hörrmann, a graduate of the University of Stuttgart, Ms. Iren Zhao, a graduate of the University of California at Davis, and Mr. Nitesh Karna, a graduate of Seoul National University. The higher ranking Post-Doc position went to Dr. Ing. Christoph Viechtbauer, a graduate of Mechatronics at the JKU. The test program will be carried out by a technician from the Institute for Structural Lightweight Construction, Ing. Erich Humer. Ms. Silvia Weilguny is responsible for the administrative and organizational aspects.
JKU Vice-Rector for Research, Gabriele Kotsis, remarked: "We are very pleased to have this CD lab and it showcases the JKU's international scientific direction and focus. Both the researchers and the business partners come from a wide variety of countries and this shows just how attractive our university is as an international research center."
She also thanked Doris Hummer, State Minister of Research in Upper Austria, for providing support and assistance to the JKU during the application procedure.
Minister Hummer added: "These kinds of CD laboratories are tremendously valuable and contribute to strengthening Upper Austrian as a location of research and business."

CD Labs: Cooperation between Science and Industry
The CD lab will operate for seven years; A budget of 2.5 million Euros is planned for this period. Prof. Franz G. Rammerstorfer, chairman of the Scientific Senate at the Christian Doppler Research Society, pointed out that Prof. Schagerl is a particularly good example of cooperation between science and industry in CD laboratories: "His business experience gives him the expertise to understand the applications first-hand. He is also a scientist with expertise in basic research. "

At Christian Doppler laboratories, application-oriented basic research is conducted at a high level, and outstanding scientists cooperate together with innovative companies. To support this cooperation, the "Christian Doppler Research Association" is internationally regarded as a best-practice example.

Christian Doppler laboratories are jointly funded by the public sector and the participating companies. The program is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) and is the most important public financier.