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Mechatronics and robotics

Whilst in the past machines were usually designed and used for specific tasks, today there is a demand for robots, handling systems, and machines that function as universal, flexible, adaptive, and (semi-) autonomous tools. We develop innovative sensor models, control strategies, and learning algorithms for man-to-machine and machine-to-machine interaction. We also program robot systems to perceive their surroundings and make decisions independently, thus facilitating flexible and adaptive collaboration between man and machines.

Our team has extensive expertise in the fields of drive technology (hydraulics, pneumatics, electromagnetics, electrical machines), sensor technology, and systems integration. Using physical and data-driven mathematical models, we examine and optimise systems and make decisions about the selection and integration of sensors and actuators. We design and implement powerful model- and optimisation-based regulation and estimation processes, diagnostic systems, and adaptive learning algorithms. By doing so, we increase the flexibility, configurability, adaptability, and reliability of future products. In system design, our mission is to achieve as much of the desired functionality as possible through algorithms and software in order to keep hardware costs and construction to a minimum whilst maximising flexibility and adaptability.

A key focus of our work is intelligent material handling, which is crucial for automation as it represents the interface between the product and the handling machines. In doing so, we pay particularly close attention to the handling of non-rigid materials such as textiles, leather, or films, which are used in many industries. Even today, handling is largely carried out manually and it is therefore labour-intensive and time-consuming. Our team therefore develops customised, highly flexible and cognitive handling systems for non-rigid materials, with the aim of supporting and easing people’s daily workload. Our new systems also help to ensure that traditional labour-intensive production processes remain competitive in Europe.