Applied Research in current projects

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The five research profile lines superbly combine the research activities of currently more than 150 ongoing projects and thus represent our modern interpretation of the megatrend „mobility” in the areas of humans and technology. With these research lines, the university is focusing on the continuous further development and selective reorientation of the previous research profile. Here you will find a selection of current, exciting research topics: 

Current Research Projects at WHZ

How is it possible to transmit data reliably while charging an electric vehicle? Researchers at the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau in Western Saxony (Germany) want to find an answer to this question. A Power-Line Communication (PLC) has been defined for communication while the charging process is running. However, the requirements for the communication channel have not yet been sufficiently standardized, which may lead to problems during charging. In order to close this gap, the communication properties of charging cables from charging stations already available on the market were examined on behalf of various German automobile manufacturers. The research group has also developed a reference system permitting to determine the functional limits of the PLC. The aim of the study is to define uniform system properties to be incorporated into international standardization.

 

A team of researchers from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering has developed a completely new Hybrid Energy Storage System (HESS). The combination of battery and ultracapacitor improves the peak current characteristics of the energy storage device, prolongs battery life considerably. Thanks to digital regulation, it permits adjustments according to requirements. It ensures maximum reliability in a wide range of applications – with low development effort. This world premiere was developed in joint collaboration with Rutronik, the high-tech system distributor from Baden (Germany). It proves that battery systems can be combined with ultracapacitors to master practical conditions.

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The increasing digitisation and rapid technological progress present the industry with new challenges. Science and research at WHZ help shape the working worlds of the future. One project focuses on the food industry. Whilst in other industries significant parts of production processes are largely self-organised, automation and digitised processes in the food industry are less developed. The primary objective of this research project is to optimise the industrial processing of individual foodstuffs that were previously processed mostly “by hand”. Cyber-physical systems allow processing chains to run automatically. The research project focuses on the development of components for a fully automated production line for this industry. In addition to the development of optical sensors for the automation and improvement of quality control, the resulting data are to be integrated into the existing company information systems. The processing speed that can be achieved with the automated solution will be an essential criterion to counteract cheap manual labour in Eastern Europe.

“Telematics support for the impulse region of Vogtland 2020” is the title of a project in which out-patient service centres are to be established in areas where general medical care cannot be suitably ensured. The centres are to be staffed with mid-level medical staff (for example medical assistants), who can carry out preliminary examinations of the patients, arrange a virtual doctor's appointment with a doctor from a medical pool if required, or even visit patients in their homes. The project additionally includes the equipment of homes with medical assistance systems for independent living (AAL systems), the creation of a patient-centred file, the implementation of geriatric risk assessment tools, the technical link of data collected in the home with the patient-centred file, the inclusion of the file in the health telematics infrastructure of the German health care system, the establishment of video surgeries with the cooperating physicians from the service centre, as well as telemedicine training for medical staff and the development of an appointment management system for the video surgeries. The concept is initially being implemented in two model regions in the Vogtland district. If it is successful, a transfer to other regions is planned.

Around 100,000 people in Germany live with paraplegia. Every year, approximately 10 out of every one million people suffer such trauma. Individuals with this type of physical disability are severely restricted in their mobility and require permanent support from relatives and carers. Wouldn’t it be amazing if these people were able to trigger simple movements again with the help of their thoughts? A group of young scientists from Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau and scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology and the UKL, Leipzig University’s teaching hospital, want to address this challenge. The aim of the project is to extract the intention of a movement from measurements of human brain activity. The information that is obtained this way will then be used as the basis for a technical replica of natural movements.

A group of design students have created a collection of furniture made of felt wrapped around simple wooden frameworks. The students used fibre composite Lanisor – a lightweight, flexible felt-like material – combining it with wooden panels and dowels. The furniture is designed to explore the felt’s potential, and contrast its “haptically appealing” surface with wood’s solidity. Students made the most of Lanisor’s flexibility, bending it around simple wooden frameworks to form shelving with an unusual curved structure. A slanted bookshelf has shelves made from wooden panels slicing through the felt. A series of stacking boxes is made from pieces of felt that slot into one another, and are held in place by wooden dowels. The pieces are designed to be both long-lasting and, in some cases, customisable. The baby’s cradle is intended to be used throughout a child’s life, becoming a swing once its purpose as a bed is outgrown. The students used traditional woodworking tools and machines to shape the felt, which can be folded much like paper but remains as stiff as wood.