Process optimisation in manufacturing

With the goal of supporting Swiss industry in building expertise, we focus on developing innovative, sustainable and cost-efficient solutions for high-performance, intelligent industrial processes. Our team is made up of experts from various specialist disciplines. We possess sound technical qualifications in a wide range in order to work as an innovation driver for integrated solutions.

Our research group

Using virtual process images, physical models, statistical analyses and logical models, we create mapping solutions to help understand and improve processes. Our wealth of experience in the fields of measurement technology and process optimisation stands us in good stead here.
We also develop smart sensors capable of actively influencing and thus optimising processes through a combination of local measurements, process logic and global information. In this way, we are implementing the ideas of Industry 4.0, by making local decisions based on comprehensive information. Central process computers can be incorporated but do not necessarily have to be.

Range of services

Do you need support with the analysis or optimisation of your machines or processes? Various types of partnership are available depending on the scope of your project:

  • Subsidised projects
  • Direct assignments
  • Projects with students

We also loan out our measuring and testing equipment.

Areas of expertise

  • Optimisation of machines with smart sensors
  • Optimisation of machines using structural, dynamic and thermal models
  • Creation of control algorithms with predictive state models for optimisation of operations and maintenance work
  • Development of active damping solutions to improve productivity and quality
  • Creation of models of manufacturing processes and their optimisation

Projects

A typical example of a project: a process chain involves a processing step that causes various instances of wear and tear. Damp, dirt and moving parts etc. also make direct measurements difficult. The aim is to enable worn parts to be exchanged at the latest possible point while ensuring safe operation. In this scenario, vibration sensors fitted externally can identify vibration patterns that allow a correlation with the wear of various parts to be made. The reaching of wear limits can also be predicted. Replacement parts can be ordered automatically via the ERP system and a maintenance team deployed.

Alternatively, processes can be improved by adopting an integral approach. A virtual map of the process chain with as many process parameters at the interfaces as possible is created. The optimisation of key factors allows the effectiveness of the process to be predicted and improved. We create virtual imaging solutions based on existing experience. A new production line is then set up initially to simulate performance and then for implementation. This enables various scenarios to be tested out inexpensively. With the existing model, model updating is carried out during operations and then continually improved. A prime example of such process optimisation can be seen in a pilot plant for battery production. Cooperation with the BFH Energy Storage Research Centre and participation in the SCCER programme enhance our expertise in undertaking battery technology projects.

Railway infrastructure projects and projects in the electrical engineering, medical technology, and mechanical engineering industries have also been undertaken to date.

Infrastructure

We have a wide range of measuring equipment for oscillation measurements to conduct analysis of movement, vibration and noise.

Laser vibrometer

The laser vibrometer enables contactless measurements that are easy to carry out to be taken for the quantification of mechanical vibrations. Depending on the application, either the speed or path is measured from the nanometre to the metre range. The oscillation frequency and amplitude can be derived from this with a high degree of accuracy.

Electrodynamic fatigue testing machine (shaker)

Our shaker is capable of inducing vibrations in structures with a weight of up to 300 kg in the 3–3500 Hz frequency range. This means it can cover everything from standardised vibration profiles to noise and shocks, as well as generating accelerations of up to 100g. This makes the fatigue testing machine an extremely flexible system for verifying a simulation or analysing the vibration behaviour of materials.

High-performance servers for calculating neuronal networks.

An alternating team of ten researchers specialised in mechanical engineering, control engineering and electrical engineering

Swiss Competence Center for Heat and Electricity Storage SCCER HaE 

The research group is part of the activities of SCCER HaE, which receives financial support from Innosuisse – the Swiss Innovation Agency.

BFH Energy Storage Research Centre

The research group is part of the BFH Energy Storage Research Centre, which researches power storage solutions for mobility and the energy supply with the aim of integrating renewable energies and replacing fossil fuels.

Collaboration with other institutes at the Engineering and Information Technology Department at Bern University of Applied Sciences.

We work with the Institute for Optimisation and Data Analysis (IODA) on the statistical evaluation of production data. We cooperate with the Institute for Applied Laser, Photonics and Surface Technologies (ALPS) on tasks that require specific laser technology expertise and with the Research Institute for Security in the Information Society (RISIS) on IT security matters.

Sponsors

Keyence
We wish to thank the company Keyence International for their kind support.

FMEA Software

We wish to thank APIS Informationstechnologien GmbH for their kind support and for providing the FMEA software APIS IQ-Software free of charge for research and lecturing purposes.

Contact

Contact us or meet our experts in person at various events. Collaboration produces win-win outcomes for everyone concerned – your company, society and the university.