Home > Research > Priority Projects in Research > Abgeschlossen > Design Methods for Intelligent Mechatronic Systems

Design Methods for Intelligent Mechatronic Systems

Effective Access to Existing Solution Knowledge in Value-Added Chains

The research project “Design Methods for Intelligent Mechatronics” (ENTIME) was completed successfully in 2013. Its main research topic was effective access to existing solutions from different suppliers using semantic technologies. An interdisciplinary design technique with a special emphasis on control and software engineering was also developed. The results help to improve the innovative power of modern mechanical engineering.

When developing modern technical products, companies use proven solution elements (e.g. assemblies, modules or software libraries) to fulfill certain system functions. Today, the search within the large amount of available solution elements is based on simple keywords and does not consider the specific properties of the solutions. As a result, companies often restrict themselves to solutions that they are already using successfully even if better-suited solution elements may be available. Thus, they cannot exploit the full potential of new solutions from other suppliers.

Problem within the integration of existing solution elements in the development process

The ENTIME project provides a solution to this problem: Using the Semantic Web, we created a specialised search engine that significantly improves the selection process of solution elements. We provide a specific set of parameters, for each class of solution elements. These parameters are formalised by computer-readable semantic annotations. Similarly, the functions required by the developer are formalised to provide a semantic search for solution elements. During the search for solution elements, the computer is thus able to evaluate the provided and required information and to consider all available solutions. In combination with a novel, interdisciplinary design technique for software engineering and control engineering, the semantic technologies provide means for effectively accessing existing solution knowledge. This, in turn, allows local companies to access new distribution channels.

Industrial products are based on proven solutions (principle of the system composition using solution elements).

The project was one of the nine winners of the second line of funding of the HighTech.NRW competition. The EU and the state of NRW funded the project with approx. 4.3 million euros. It was conducted by the Heinz Nixdorf Institute, represented by Professors Gausemeier, Schäfer and Trächtler, in close cooperation with nine local companies. Over a runtime of 3.5 years, nearly 50 scientists and employees contributed to the project.