Research

Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds: Stress test for robots Partners from research and industry to develop testing methods for complex industrial systems

  • EffektiV research project simulates stress tests
  • Virtual prototypes to help simulate faults
  • Wide range of applications planned, including in the automotive sector
Add to my press materials
Save text
  • February 13, 2014
  • Research
  • Press releases

press release

Stuttgart – Complex construction projects show us how important it is to work through the scenarios of all possible future uses and plan accordingly. But this isn't true for construction clients alone; industrial companies, too, can plan more accurately and cost-effectively if they put their products through a “virtual stress test” early on in the development process. The EffektiV research project aims to develop just such a testing method, initially for at the automation industry.

Making entire systems fault-proof
The research team's first task is to develop a testing method for motion control systems, which are used in the automation industry to electronically control the movements of conveyor belts, robot arms, and the like. Motion control systems are made up of a whole series of components that must interact absolutely smoothly. But what happens if one of these components develops a fault during operation? For instance, individual chips within the control unit might malfunction, a motor might overheat due to faulty bearings, or a sensor might provide erroneous data. Faults of this kind must not be allowed to cause the entire system to breakdown, nor to irreparably damage individual components. It is just as important to prevent incidents in which people are injured – when a robot arm wheels around, for example.

Tests on virtual prototypes
Using the method developed in the EffektiV project, motion control systems can be put through their paces early on in their development – by employing virtual prototypes. A virtual model of the system is created in advance of the real prototype. Playing out all relevant fault scenarios in this model makes it possible to avoid faults and make the entire system safer and more robust. Currently, the automation industry relies on traditional hardware prototypes – but this means that it is only relatively late in the development process that the various components are brought together for testing as an overall system. “Virtual models can be tested much earlier and more comprehensively than today's hardware prototypes. That brings down the number of development cycles and avoids costly redesigns,” says Dr. Jan-Hendrik Oetjens, who coordinates the EffektiV project at Robert Bosch GmbH. Since the risk of discovering a malfunction at a late stage is particularly high in new, highly complex products, it is for these that stress testing makes the most sense.

Safety despite increasing complexity
Even though this testing method is being developed for the automation industry, it is intended to be applicable in a range of other branches as well. For instance, it can help to make a vehicle's ESP® electronic stability program, driver assistance systems, and airbag systems even safer. The EffektiV project is also helping to prepare the German economy for “Industry 4.0”, a vision of future industrial manufacturing that is heavily networked and hence extremely complex. Here, products themselves will be in charge of their own production process, adjusting it to match custom requests. It is a vision that depends on what are known as cyber-physical systems, which combine real objects with the virtual world. In this way, EffektiV is helping to keep up the pace of innovation while maintaining the highest possible level of operational safety – and to improve the competitiveness of Germany's high-tech sector.

Three companies working with four research institutions
EffektiV stands for “efficient fault simulation with virtual prototypes for the qualification of smart motion control systems in industrial automation.” Launched in October 2013 and set to run for three years, the project brings together three major German companies and four German research institutions. The hope is that access to such a depth of expertise will ensure the stress test and the associated method are widely applicable. Robert Bosch GmbH is the lead partner, with Infineon Technologies AG as development partner and Siemens AG as application partner. The research tasks are being carried out by the FZI Research Center for Information Technology in Karlsruhe, the University of Bremen, the University of Paderborn, and Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen.

Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing over seven million euros of funding for the EffektiV research project as part of its IKT 2020 research program.

More information online:
IKT 2020 research program:
www.foerderinfo.bund.de/de/300.php
Industry 4.0:
www.bmbf.de/de/19955.php

The project partners:
Federal Ministry of Education and Research:
www.bmbf.de
Robert Bosch GmbH:
www.bosch.com
Infineon Technologies AG:
www.infineon.com
Siemens AG:
www.siemens.de
FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik:
www.fzi.de
University of Bremen:
www.uni-bremen.de
University of Paderborn:
www.uni-paderborn.de
Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen:
www.uni-tuebingen.de

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com and www.bosch-press.com, http://twitter.com/BoschPresse.

PI8446 - February 13, 2014

Your contact person for journalists

Christian Hoenicke

+49 711 811-6285 Send Email

Share this information