Research program: Symbiotic Mechatronics

Today’s world is faced with radical changes calling for novel orientations of industrial branches, e.g. in product development, engineering, or manufacturing, and of our daily lives as well. Dramatic progress in information and communication technology has strongly pushed worldwide networking. New concepts and prominent initiatives such as “internet of things”, “cyberphysical systems”, “Industry 4.0”, or “Factories of the Future” give visible evidence thereof and aim at stimulating radical innovations and significant product improvements. Most of these concepts include mechatronic systems as indispensable parts and request strong mutual interaction among these systems and with various physical, digital, human and ambient environments. Following nature’s example, we are bringing mechatronic systems into mutual, beneficial interrelations with their interacting partners, be it press brakes, digital twins, disabled persons, or indoor climate. This partnership resembles an “organism” for which the principle of symbiosis will open new potential benefits for complex technical systems.

Within this novel paradigm of “Symbiotic Mechatronics”, we investigate mechatronic systems as interdisciplinary enablers providing the means to vitally support the above-mentioned interactions. Exceptional challenges of this research program are (i) the necessary opening up of state-of-the-art mechatronics towards multi-facetted, multi-layered interactions between mechatronic systems and their symbiosis partners, and (ii) accompanying advances in core mechatronics disciplines.

The “K2 Center for Symbiotic Mechatronics” is establishing the scientific foundations for this metamorphosis. The research program comprises three areas devoted to major industrial challenges and the strategic area “Symbiotics” that aims at technologies and methods provoking breakthrough results, thus accepting high risks of research beyond state of the art.


Area 1: ACT - Actuation

Actuation as a core function of any mechatronic system requires new concepts, components, and means for design and optimization of drives which in future should form a symbiotic partner of the system and its environments. The design of complex mechatronic systems, which is part of the center wide research field “Holistic Design”, is hosted in this area

Area 2: MECON – Complex Mechanical Systems and Automatic Control

Mechanical structures and mechanical components are the base of every mechatronic system. Not only are they operated under steadily increasing severe conditions and requirements regarding precision, dynamics, and predictability, they are getting also more and more equipped with integrated or distributed actuators and sensors. The area MECON contributes to the symbiosis between physical objects and their digital representations through appropriate models, one of the key success factors of the proposed research program.

Area 3: SENS – Sensing

Sensors as “nerves” to processes, physical objects, the environment, and essential means in the communication of mechatronic (sub-)systems with their environments require new solutions to cope with the drastically increasing requirements in terms of integration and functionality. Several activities related to “machine intelligence” which are spanning over all areas are also assigned to this area.

Area 4: SYMB – Symbiotics

All general research topics of Symbiotic Mechatronics address heterogeneous environments in a physical and transdisciplinary context. Within strategic projects we improve the understanding, the interfaces and the technical solutions when mechatronics encounters other disciplines, environments or industrial or economic branches. The research outcomes shall be also shown by demonstrators which will come from scientific or company partners, providing the associated high expertise.


National and international founded projects

The LCM team has comprehensive experience in tendering for EU projects and other international project plans. Some of the results of these projects have since been successfully brought onto the market. We have submitted project proposals for the following national programmes and structural funds:

ETP: European Technology Platforms: Initiative to support international networking. Funding: Horizon 2020 – Rules for Participation (100/70%) | JTIs: JTI – Joint Technology Initiatives: public-private partnership to support transnational research collaboration in selected technological fields | cPPPs: contractual Public Private Partnerships | EIPs: European Innovation Partnerships | ERANET: European Research Area | EIT (KICs): European Innovation and Technology Institute – Knowledge and Innovation Communities | HORIZON2020: research programm from the eu commission | FET: Future and Emerging Technologies | Art. 185-Initiativen