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Fraunhofer Commitment

Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design

The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design IEM is an expert for intelligent mechatronics in the context of “Industrie 4.0”. More than 100 scientists from the fields of mechanical engineering, software engineering and electrical engineering collaborate in an interdisciplinary way at the Paderborn site. Fraunhofer IEM explores innovative methods and tools for the development of intelligent products, production systems and services.

The development of complex technical systems requires interdisciplinary communication and transparent management of information. Since 2011, the Fraunhofer IEM has been researching the development approach Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE). Graphical models, such as in the CONSENS method, support interdisciplinary communication in product development and throughout the entire product life cycle. The use of software tools additionally optimises model-based product development. In the leading edge cluster it’s OWL, the Fraunhofer IEM worked together with many small and medium-sized companies and recognised that there is often little scope (in terms of time and expense) for the introduction of new tools in small and medium-sized companies. Together with the Japanese software company ISID, the scientists integrated CONSENS into ISID’s iQuavis tool - the beginning of a success story for the partners involved and for systems engineering as a whole.

TwoPillars: First spin-off pushes digital engineering

The quality management tool iQUAVIS fulfilled many requirements right away. It is easy and intuitive to use and requires no special modelling languages or programming. After years of cooperation, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and ISID founded Two Pillars GmbH in June 2018, the first spin-off of the Fraunhofer IEM. Two former employees of the research institute, Dr. Christian Tschirner and Christian Bremer, will offer the software iQUAVIS, which supports especially small and medium-sized enterprises in model-based product development, in the future. The company is based in Paderborn, Germany. The Fraunhofer IEM will continue to support Two Pillars with its method competence in the field of systems engineering. Thus, iQUAVIS is developed further in the context of common projects. Information on Two Pillars can be found at www.two-pillars.de.

CogniCrypt: Tool for secure software development

Fraunhofer IEM is also working on tools for secure software development that make it easier for developers to implement the software safely. In October 2018, the Fraunhofer IEM, the TU Darmstadt and the Heinz Nixdorf Institute presented a cryptography assistant developed as part of the CROSSING Collaborative Research Center. The tool CogniCrypt supports developers in the application of cryptography in their software and checks the correct use and configuration. In order to make use as simple as possible, CogniCrypt can be seamlessly integrated into the existing engineering process. The crypto assistant integrates into the Eclipse development environment and is freely available under the Eclipse Public License. Interested parties can now access the tool from anywhere in the world. The aim is to create a lively community with other universities and research institutions that use CogniCrypt and jointly develop it. Information is available at www.cognicrypt.de.

Johannes Späth and Dr. Claudia Priesterjahn work with CogniCrypt at Fraunhofer IEM. © Fraunhofer IEM

Start of two FVA projects
The Forschungsvereinigung Antriebstechnik (FVA) is working intensively with the Fraunhofer IEM. Two new projects were launched in 2018. In the project “Simulation Models for Electrical Drive Technology”, Fraunhofer IEM is developing cross-system simulation models for electrical drive systems together with the Institute for Drive Systems and Power Electronics (IAL) at Leibniz University of Hanover. In the project “Instrumentarium zur FVA-Technologiefrüherkennung”, the scientists at the Zukunftsmeile with the Heinz Nixdorf Institute and the Chair of Design Technology and Drive Technology at the Paderborn University are researching the technological developments in drive technology. The result is a comprehensive technology radar for the FVA.

Study Autonomous Systems for EFI Report
Together with the German Academy of Science and Engineering acatech and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Fraunhofer IEM analysed Germany’s position in the field of autonomous systems in an international comparison. The study was included in the annual report of the Expert Commission on Research and Innovation (EFI), which was presented in Berlin in March 2018. A central finding of the study: For the development of autonomous systems, the development of extensive competencies in the areas of system integration, development processes and tools in the sense of systems engineering is crucial. The study shows that a mature technology base and an established knowledge and technology transfer between research institutions and companies are among Germany’s strengths and that the Federal Republic of Germany has a good starting position in the field of autonomous systems in an international comparison. However, the study also raises a number of risks and fields of action. The EFI Report 2018 can be found online at www.e-fi.de.

Tommy Falkowski and his colleagues from Fraunhofer IEM have conducted a study on Autonomous Systems for the EFI report. © Fraunhofer IEM

“Digital in NRW” continues to work
Since the beginning of 2016, “Digital in NRW – Kompetenz für den Mittelstand” has been successfully supporting small and medium-sized businesses in the field of digitalisation. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has now approved an extension of the Competence Centre until 2020. The digitalisation experts will receive 4.5 million euros in funding for a further two years. Events, workshops and lab tours can be continued seamlessly after the end of the first funding phase at the end of 2018. The Fraunhofer IEM, which coordinates the OWL office together with the University of Bielefeld and the Fraunhofer IOSB-INA, is looking forward to exciting new topics centred on digitisation. For example, artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain are on the agenda. Two further offices of the Competence Centre, which has been in operation since 2016, are located in the Ruhr Metropolitan Region (Fraunhofer IML) and the Rhineland (WZL and FIR of RWTH Aachen University).