Dr. Christian Zehetner is currently working as a Professor at the University of Applied Sciences Upper, Austria.
The demands on mechatronic products and systems are changing steadily, as well as the design and engineering processes. Looking into the past or into the future, we observe seemingly constant challenges in optimising products and processes: On the one hand, we want to increase quality, precision, robustness, versatility, adaptability, multidisciplinarity, automation, interconnection, integration, intelligence, etc. On the other hand, we want to reduce development time and costs, as well as resource consumption like materials, energy, CO2, etc. To achieve these goals, rapid changes of the design and engineering processes have taken place in the last decades, and further changes are expected for the upcoming ones. Consequently, a constant adaption of education is necessary, as well as an ever-better coordination of study programmes, research, and industrial application. Scope of this paper is first a review on the last two decades of Austrian industrial research projects in cooperation of universities, research institutes, and companies. Exemplarily, a successful application of model-based systems engineering is considered: By applying a digital twin addressing several fields of mechatronics, fully automatic lot-size-one production of sheet metal parts was realized. Based on the experience gained in many years of industrial research projects, the changes of design and engineering processes are discussed, as well as the evolution of mechatronics engineering education. Secondly, an outlook on expected future developments is given based on examples of running industrial research projects. Digitalization, IoT, industry 4.0, etc., require more holistic engineering and management processes. Systems engineering becomes more and more important. Nowadays, there is an enormous amount of software for almost every task in industrial process chains. However, frequently, the lack of or insufficient compatibility of the various software tools cause the most serious bottlenecks, resulting in inefficient processes. As a possible answer, a new virtual engineering platform is presented. The development of the latter has recently started at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. Goal is to integrate open-source and commercial software tools used for design and engineering of mechatronic products and systems. Essential software components of this platforms are Version Control, Issue Tracking, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) including Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Discrete Event Simulation (DES) as well as Augmented and Virtual Reality (VR/AR). In the scope of an upcoming research project, we plan to apply this platform at an industrial partner to manage their engineering processes including regular product and production process audits. With regards to education, it also turned out that this virtual engineering platform is a perfect playground for our students who are contributing with their projects and theses. Consequently, our solution can be a platform for better integrating education, research, and industrial application
Omer Kurkutlu is a robotic enthusiast working as one of the youngest Robotics Software Engineer at Kontrolmatik Technologies and also a researcher who has developed a quadruped robot called OK1 Robot. His research is focused on dynamic motion planning and control of Quadruped Robots. He has also made research contributions to different gait state estimations for four-legged animals in order to develop quadruped robot locomotion. During his final year of graduation in India, his project, Quadruped Robot, was selected as one of the best final year projects of graduating students. In addition, He has worked in the industry to design and control the Collaborative Robots, where the scope was applied to gravity compensation, free drive, safety mode, and collision detection of the robot.
Mobile robots are often used to inspect an environment or move objects from one place to another. This is a crucial application of robots in office, military, hospital, and factory floor applications. The first issue affecting mobile robots is locomotion. Although their motion usually takes place in known, controlled environments like a factory, department stores, and so on, on other occasions they have to move in dangerous, delicate, and extreme environments. There are some instances whereby conventional wheeled robots are not the best choice. Wheeled robots cannot navigate well over obstacles, and this is the main drawback of this type, depending on the terrain, such as rocky terrain, sharp declines, or areas with low friction. Due to its geographical location, environmental hazards, etc, part of the earth’s landmass may be inaccessible to humans. Four-legged robots also referred to as quadruped, can have very sophisticated locomotion patterns and provide means of navigating on surfaces where it seems impossible for wheeled robots. This project is to develop a reliable solution that enables the implementation of stable and fast static/dynamic walking of quadruped robots on even and uneven terrain. The robot captures/mimics the mobility, autonomy, and speed of four-legged living creatures. The robot moves with different gait types and uses an imu-sensor embedded in it for detecting slope in terrain changes.