Research Field Manufacturing and Automation

The contemporary and future conception, manufacture and production of goods is a research area that is a main focus of the Department of Engineering. The research field of Manufacturing and Automation explores topics such as applied robotics and manufacturing, automation technology and rapid prototyping technologies. In the sense of an end-to-end digital networking aimed at within the framework of Industry 4.0, concepts for solutions are created that enable the highest degree of individualization and the economic production of the smallest lot sizes. The combination of virtual and real processes supports the realization of an intelligent factory through the use of Cyber Physical Production Systems (CPPS).  The goal is to accompany the product lifecycle of goods from development to manufacturing and to find new ways to reduce costs and cycle times.

Applied Robotics and Manufacturing

The focus of robotics is on new types of programming and control of industrial robots. The aim of our research is to develop alternatives to the control and programming of industrial robots. We use everything from game console controllers to tablet PCs or even interactive glasses.

The focus of robotics is on new types of programming and control of industrial robots. The conventional programming of motion sequences of such systems is facilitated for many manufacturers by the use of a teach panel with a built-in touch screen. Robot arms can now be moved to machines and parts that are to be manipulated and thus points and tool paths can be taught in a simple way. The aim of our research is to develop alternatives to the control and programming of industrial robots. We use everything from game console controllers to tablet PCs or even interactive glasses.

In the field of manufacturing we deal with the optimization and simulation of production processes as well as automotive technologies. Typical simulation tools such as Mathlab® and Simulink® are used in both teaching and applied research (e.g. HMI³ project). A particularly scientific field of activity is the construction competition Formula Student. The disciplines of mechanical engineering, production technology and electronics and pneumatics work together on the development of a gasoline-powered racing car. It is planned to participate each year in the international Formula Student competition in Spielberg in Styria. An electrically powered variant of the student car could also be implemented.

  • Reduction of the programming effort through the implementation of intuitive programming concepts
  • Development and use of cooperative systems
  • Improvement of production processes through the use of digital assistance systems
  • Improvement of the trajectories (free-form surfaces, etc.)

Automation Technology

In our research, we focus on core areas such as automation of technical processes, process control technology, field buses, interference in signal transmission and programming of control systems.

The challenge for modern automation technology lies in mastering the complexity of the processes. The complexity within processes increases due to the increasing number of signals and the ever-increasing amounts of data. The implementation of measures for safety and reliability is an important aspect that has become the main focus of automation.

The basis of the following considerations is a system in which technical processes take place. Actuators control and regulate these processes, the data and influencing variables are recorded with the help of sensors. Between the multi-hierarchical structure of the automation equipment is the signal transmission, the industrial communication, from the technical system to the automation device to the operating system or process control system, which represents the immediate interface to the person operating the system.

This view of an automation structure is based on fundamental considerations of automation technology. It looks at the system itself, but also includes project management for automation projects. These relationships are shown in Illustration 1.If a technical system is more extensive, several subsystems are connected to form larger units. These connections can be considered not only locally but also globally. For example, suppliers to the automotive industry can produce partial products for a final product at different locations. 

The aim of automation is not only to increase safety in the workplace, but also to improve the quality of the products.

Automation is interdisciplinary and includes the following areas: Mechanical and apparatus engineering, electrical engineering and electronics, process technology, process engineering, production technology, measurement and control technology, logistics, quality management, process management and project management.

In our research, we focus on core areas such as automation of technical processes, process control technology, field buses, interference in signal transmission and programming of control systems.

  • Automation of technical systems
  • Improvement of product quality
  • Improvement of safety at work
  • Research of signal transmission interference
  • Implementation of a continuous digitization from conception and planning to manufacturing and production
  • Operating personnel as an augmented operator
  • IT security in production plants
  • Application of safety concepts in automated systems

Rapid Prototyping Technologies

Rapid prototyping is a part technology for the rapid production of sample components based on 3D data. In our department we are engaged in the optimization of the generative manufacturing processes FLM and SLS by increasing the accuracy and strength and increasing the material spectrum.

Rapid prototyping is a part technology for the rapid production of sample components based on 3D data. In our department we work on the optimization of generative manufacturing, a variant of rapid prototyping.

Generative manufacturing is an important component in a wide variety of product development cycles. Simple 3D printing systems using the FLM (Fused Layer Modeling) process are already very well developed “out of the box” and achieve good component results. However, to date, the poor surface quality, the low accuracy and the strength of the printed components have been a disadvantage. Due to how the technology functions, components that are produced by means of the FLM process have a heterogeneous, layered structure. Such component properties are disadvantageous both when used as a haptic object as well as for the planned future use as a functional component. Since 2011, we have been working hard to improve the component quality of 3D-printed prototypes. These include, for example, numerous test series with different system parameters (melting performance, pre-heating of the component carrier, various extruder configurations, feed rate of the material, software optimization, housing, etc.). The variety of these configuration options already shows what variability is possible with current FDM printing systems.

In addition to FLM technology, the research field of SLS technology (Selective Laser Sintering) has also been explored since spring 2014. Here, the focus is on the development of high-strength components and the possible use of implants that are manufactured using SLS technology.

  • Improvement of surface quality, accuracy and strength of FLM manufactured components
  • Improvement of accuracy and strength of SLS manufactured components
  • Increase the material portfolio for FLM and SLS by researching possible new materials
  • Dissemination of the use of generatively manufactured components in other research fields and degree programs (radio technology, ambient assisted living, etc.)

Infrastructure

Robotics Lab © FH Campus Wien/Schedl

Robotics Lab

The FH Campus Wien robotics laboratory provides the necessary technical infrastructure to practically apply theoretical concepts from teaching and research in the field of robotics. Various robot platforms are available for carrying out practical investigations. In addition to six-axis articulated robots from various manufacturers, SCARA robots and a gantry robot are available for use.

In the area of research, the robotics research field is primarily investigating alternative and intuitive approaches to robot programming. In this context, special emphasis is being placed on the subject area “programming by presenting”.

Phoenix Contact Technology Competence Center © FH Campus Wien/Schedl

Phoenix Contact Technology Competence Center

The Phoenix Laboratory at FH Campus Wien provides the necessary technical infrastructure to carry out practical research in the field of control technology. Control systems from various manufacturers are available for use. With the help of touch displays, user-specific operating interfaces can be developed and integrated. The systems can be freely networked together, allowing different configurations to be created and examined.

Laboratory for Generative Manufacturing

The generative manufacturing lab offers access to production machines of various generative manufacturing processes. In addition to the easy-to-build FLM open source machines for the production of simple components, a professional FLM machine is available for the production of more complex components with higher accuracy. In addition, an industry-standard SLS machine is available for the manufacture of complex components in small and very small series. Here, the theory learned in the courses can also be practically applied and deepened.

Workshop

The workshop of the High Tech Manufacturing degree program at FH Campus Wien is primarily equipped for processing metal materials. After safety instruction and training for the machine, students and staff can use the workshop for project work.

The following machines are available for use:

  • Lathe
  • Milling machine
  • Drill press
  • Band saw
  • Bench grinder
  • Belt sander
  • Welding machine
  • Sandblasting box
  • Folding machine
  • Guillotine shear
  • Tool carts with various tools
  • Cordless screwdriver

Degree programs

Applied Electronics

Bachelor, part-time

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Electronic Systems Engineering

Master, part-time

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Green Mobility

Master, part-time

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High Tech Manufacturing

Bachelor, full-time

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High Tech Manufacturing

Master, part-time

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Technical Management

Master, part-time

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