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:
Ultrasonic-assisted component processing is a main focus at the Institute for Production Engineering (IfP) at WHZ. The two scientists Prof. Matthias Kolbe and Prof. Michael Schneeweiß are looking for new fields of application and partners interested in this technology. Extensive experimental tests on typical crankshaft materials (steel and cast iron) have shown that the process-specific disadvantages of established methods do not play a role in ultrasonic after-treatment. The example of ultrasound-supported after-treatment of crankshafts underlines the necessity of fundamental, scientific approaches until the final commercial introduction of innovative manufacturing processes, so that the essential influencing variables can be recorded and described for specific components. In a current project, the scientists are developing a novel ultrasonic technology and its application for surface treatment of forming and cutting tools. Based on the available findings on machining tools optimised for residual stress and their positive effects on wear behaviour, a considerable potential for increasing the tool life through ultrasonic-supported aftertreatment of deep-drawing, extrusion and cutting punches can be expected.
The Paris Agreement commits all countries to climate protection from 2020. The 195 member states want to act together to fight global warming and are striving for zero emissions in the future. With the two projects „WindNODE“ and „ZED“, the scientists from Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau - University of Applied Sciences in Western Saxony are reacting to the energy revolution. ZED stands for „Zwickauer Energiewende Demonstrieren“ („Demonstrating Zwickau’s Energy Revolution”) and is currently the largest research project at WHZ with a share of € 4.5 million. 13 partners are realising a zeroemissions quarter. The project aims to show how apartments based on electric-thermal interconnected systems, innovative storage technologies and networked communication technology can be supplied with affordable, future-proof energy.
WindNODE, the showcase for intelligent energy from north-east Germany, receives funding from the Federal Ministry for four years. Like the ZED project, the project is being implemented in the Zwickau district of Marienthal. 1109 apartments in this model region are connected to the network. During the concept phase, storage sizes were calculated or future scenarios simulated. Implementation is now underway. An intelligent low-voltage energy supply network with various energy storage system is to be set up for the district and the entire existing energy supply network is to be measured. The novel aspect of this concept is that excess energy is stored locally rather than being exported. The transferability of the concepts of ZED and WindNODE to other municipalities must be guaranteed in the project. To this end, demonstrators (image) will be developed to bring the issue closer to the residents.
Persistent noise can cause damage to human health and have an impact on physical, social and psychological wellbeing. Scientists from the Institute of Textile and Leather Technology and the Institute of Automotive Technology have tackled this problem and, together with partners from industry and research, are developing a dynamic textile system for sound absorption. The aim of the project is to automatically change the room acoustics according to the situation in such a way that conversations remain comprehensible and noise pollution is reduced.
Today, corporate success is no longer determined only by economic performance, but increasingly also by ecological compatibility and social justice. Prof. Dr. Uta Kirschten, Professor of General Business Administration with a focus on Human Resources, has now summarised the three components under the term „Sustainable Human Resources Management”. In a new book she presents her concept comprehensively to practitioners, scientists and students. There have only been a few publications on this topic so far; additionally, sustainability in „sustainable human resources management” is usually misinterpreted as strategic sustainability and permanence of human resources management. For this reason, Prof. Dr. Uta Kirschten explicitly focuses on ecological, conomic and social concerns and areas of action in her model.
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.
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.
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.
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.