The research group “Digitalization & Automation” attempts to close the gap between existing high-tech fluid power components as well as systems and modern information technology. The greatest challenge lies in the implementation of digital concepts that increase the added value and efficiency of the overall system whilst maintaining the well-established fluid power robustness.
The fourth industrial revolution is actually a continuing evolution, whose main feature is the global connection of intelligent components and systems. This endeavor holds tremendous potential and provides new research questions that need to be answered in order to be consistently implemented. The development is not only to be seen in individual sectors, but spreads across the entire industry and crosslinks various components, systems and technologies.
While in the past the focus was set on solutions for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance, the principle of holistic digitalization in fluid power technology and research needs to be expanded. This includes the development of cyber-physical systems that are linked in a global network. These distributed systems create new functionalities, enabling the development of new business areas that are tailored to the customers’ individual needs. This requirement presupposes that basic functional patterns and design guidelines are reconsidered. Fluid power systems must not only be adaptable but also self-describing and functionally reliable using the concepts of feature definitions and asset administration shells. Finally, by utilizing dynamic and theoretically infinite amounts of computing power, e.g., cloud or high performance computing, advanced control algorithms and data analysis techniques can lead to unforeseen functionalities.