Biomedical Computer Science and Mechatronics

Institute of Automation and Control Engineering

Research Profile

The Institute of Automation and Control Engineering (IACE) is geared to teaching and research in the mechatronics-focus of the Tyrolean Private University UMIT and its embedding in Tyrol. Research projects of the IACE develop fundamental methods and theories in control, mechatronics and robotics and make the developed technology applicable for industry. Main topics are:

  • Mathematical systems theory
  • Control Theory of systems with distributed parameters
  • Model-based methods for parameter identification and diagnosis of mechatronic systems
  • The field of robotics, with focus on modular systems, self-reconfiguration, kinematics and control in theory and practice

In its research projects, the IACE cooperates with local and international partners from science and industry. Research is financially supported by the province Tyrol as well as Austrian and European funding agencies and the partners from industry.

 

Research Projects

 

Model-Based Fault-Tolerant Control of Gas Engines

industry partner: GE Jenbacher GmbH & Co OG

Renewable energy resources like wind- or solar power plants are increasingly used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Due to their unpredictable power production fast and flexible power plant are needed for grid frequency stabilization and peak load coverage. Gas engine power plants are one efficient and flexible solution. In view of the intended application these power plants have to be operated in highly transient scenarios, raising new challenges for the engine and exhaust after-treatment control strategies to cope with these fast regimes.

Modeling and Control of Pipe Networks (MoReNe)

duration: 01.04.2018 - 31.03.2021
project: FFG Bridge-Program

In the course of the INNUIT project, a new intrinsically distributed parametric approach was developed to model the thermal behavior of pipe flows. This method can be used in a variety of different applications. For example, in the heat supply, chemical engineering or pharmacy. For the performance of these processes regarding energy efficiency, time flexibility or precise compliance with desired process parameters, modern control strategies are required.  Consequently, the research project focuses on two main aspects, firstly, the further generalization of the new pipe model and, secondly, the development of new control and observer strategies based on this model.

contact: M.Sc. Simon Bachler, Dipl. Ing. Jens Wurm, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Frank Woittennek

System Analysis and Modeling of High Precision Assembly Machines in the Semi-Conductor Industry

industry partner: Besi Austria GmbH

The company Besi Austria GmbH is a world leading provider of high precision assembly machines for the semi-conductor industry. These machines are equipped with vision-based measurement systems to ensure accurate calibration and positioning. The objective of this project is to analyze and optimize the presently employed image processing and control techniques at Besi Austria. The work focuses in particular on the mathematical modeling of the system-procedures to evaluate the systematic and stochastic errors of the system. The results should form a framework and basis for optimized image processing and control engineering techniques in order to achieve a higher precision.

contact: Dipl.-Ing. Phillip KronthalerUniv.-Prof. Dr. Frank Woittennek

Control of Systems with Distributed Parameters

In many technical dynamic systems, the system variables depend not only on time, but also on space. Systems with spatial dependent variables are, for example, the temperature in heat conductors, the position-dependent deflection of the continuum in elastic systems or also the pressure or the temperature in tube reactors. System descriptions which take this location dependence into account are called systems with distributed parameters, which are described by partial differential equations with boundary conditions. A particular challenge in the control of these systems is the fact that the available control variables depend only on time. At the Institute of Automation and Control Engineering, new methods for the analysis and control of such systems are developed and tested in prototype applications.

contact: Univ-Prof. Frank Woittennek, M.Sc. Marcus Riesmeier

 

Completed Research Projects

Model-Based Fault-Tolerant Control of Gas Engines

industry partner: GE Jenbacher GmbH & Co OG

Renewable energy resources like wind- or solar power plants are increasingly used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Due to their unpredictable power production fast and flexible power plant are needed for grid frequency stabilization and peak load coverage. Gas engine power plants are one efficient and flexible solution. In view of the intended application these power plants have to be operated in highly transient scenarios, raising new challenges for the engine and exhaust after-treatment control strategies to cope with these fast regimes.

Innovative Control Strategies for Efficiency and Emission Optimized Highly Transient Operation of Large Gas Engine Power Plants (INNUIT)

duration: 01.04.2015 - 31.03.2018
project: FFG Basis-Program

An important aspect in the operation of gas engine power plants are the auxiliary systems, such as cooling loops and exhaust after-treatment systems. In these systems, pipe flows in combination with thermal balancing phenomena and chemical reactions form the major part of the system dynamics. Within the project innovative model-based controllers and observers for such systems have been developed.

Adaptive Control

duration: 01.04.2012 - 31.03.2015
project: FFG Basis-Program

In the completed FFG project Adaptive Control new innovative model-based engine core control algorithms were developed, which are the basis for a highly transient operation. Especially the transient power and speed control were improved significantly together with a reduction of the emissions.

contact: M.Sc. Simon Bachler, Dipl. Ing. Jens Wurm, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Frank Woittennek

Model Based Control Design of Handling Processes

Force control is increasingly applied in the automation of handling processes, e.g. pick-and-place operations. A major challenge in control design is to cope with the contact sensitive behavior that occurs in various processes, e.g., in gluing or soldering processes. In such applications abrupt changes in the system properties may be occur. To satisfy the process stability as well as to increase the performance (throughput, accuracy), model based control algorithms for the position and force control are required. As part of a project supported by the Tyrolean Science Funds (TWF) a test rig has been built to validate the designed control algorithms on real hardware. Instead of commonly used hybrid control approaches the focus of the current research is put on adaptive impedance control algorithms to ensure a precise position control in non-contact case, a soft landing of the tool-tip on the target and a precise force control during the contact stage with only one continuously working control strategy. Furthermore, an abrupt breakdown of the counteracting force in contact-case can be mimicked on the test rig. As a main advantage of the proposed strategy  there is no need for the detection of switching events, as it is necessary in the case of hybrid control strategies.

Contact: Dipl.-Ing. Phillip Kronthaler

KineControl

Serial manipulators with six degrees of freedom are very common in industry and used for various tasks. Despite of this fact, there is still room for improvement: Analytical methods for the computation of the inverse kinematics exist for common robots as e.g. anthropomorphic manipulators with spherical wrist – but even if the structure is slightly modified, the algorithm has to be adapted or changed which is a costly and time consuming task. Furthermore, the additional possibilities in path planning, which arise as a result of knowing all possible solutions, are rarely exploited. Based on an algorithm which was developed at Innsbruck University, a generic robot controller is developed which can be used for all serial robots with six degrees of freedom and delivers all up to sixteen solutions of the inverse kinematics problem.  The project is supported by “Standortagentur Tirol” and is executed in corporation with the partners at Innsbruck University, Arbeitsbereich Geometrie und CAD (Univ.-Prof. M. Husty) and Distributed and Parallel Systems Group (Univ.-Prof. Th. Fahringer).

contact: DI Arthur Angerer