Small chip – big effect

Innovation project: Innovative hardware and software architectures through industrial IT

Our economy relies on high-tech products such as computer-based machine control systems. These generally only have a short product lifecycle and low batch sizes. The machines and automated equipment used to manufacture these products must therefore be capable of being quickly adapted and put into operation for new manufacturing processes. This requires the use of adaptable systems. The basis of this adaptability is innovative electronic automation components, which will be enhanced by “system-on-chip” modules in the future. These are microchips that can be rapidly reconfigured using software commands or external electrical circuits. These promise a high degree of flexibility and are of interest to the field of automation technology. However, there is not yet any suitable automation hardware and software architecture for these modules.

The aim of the innovation project is to develop flexible hardware and software solutions for automating machinery and systems on the basis of these microchips. It also involves developing design processes for easily integrating system-on-chip technology into automation equipment for machinery and systems.

This innovative approach entails analyzing the production conditions, machine settings and the requirements on automation equipment, before implementing functions such as condition monitoring, data encryption and self configuration in microchips. This will allow automation equipment to be evaluated more quickly and machine settings to be automatically adapted to new production processes. A further step is that of devising design processes to make system-on-chip automation solutions easily adjustable and able to be programmed for different production processes with little effort. The process draws on the results of cross-sectional projects in self-optimization, intelligent networking and systems engineering. The automation equipment and design processes will be tested using a demonstration model and integrated into production systems for evaluation.

System-on-chip technology will increase the adaptability of production processes, while at the same time reducing the degree of effort involved in engineering, commissioning and retooling machinery and systems. This will lead to more user-friendliness. The innovative design process will create the basis for applying the developed automation solutions to other machines and systems, for example in the fields of energy technology and traffic engineering.

Project duration
01 October 2014 - 30 June 2017