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05. May 2010

Hannover Messe: Fraunhofer presents new functions for digital engineering

Hannover Messe: Fraunhofer presents new functions for digital engineering

Hannover Messe: Fraunhofer presents new functions for digital engineering

Today’s products (e.g. machines) are developed at the computer. Fraunhofer researchers has presented new methods for digital development of mechatronic systems at the Hanover Fair on April 19-23, 2010.

(Darmstadt/Rostock/Graz) A number of problems have to be solved at the computer before a new automobile, airplane or ship can be built. This process has been improved with the introduction of FunctionalDMU by four Fraunhofer institutes (Fraunhofer EAS, FOKUS, LBF and IGD).

With FunctionalDMU a computer is used to generate experimental models of a mechatronic system and simulate the interactions between mechanics, electronics and software. Mechatronic systems integrate and connect mechanical and electronic components with each other. FunctionalDMU enables developers to take account of the interactions between the various technical areas. “A workshop at Fraunhofer IGD recently showed that some industrial sectors are desperately searching for software tools and methods that they can use to integrate virtual mechatronic products at an early stage of their development processes. FunctionalDMU can meet this need,” explains Dr. André Stork, the department head at Fraunhofer IGD in charge of the project.

When, for example, a finished automobile does not work in some respect, the cause frequently lies in the interplay of some of its components. To detect those of problems early, FunctionalDMU can be used to generate experimental models that simulate whether electronics, software and hardware (mechanics) work as planned under all conditions. FunctionalDMU utilizes information from the standard software being used by design engineers. “The probability that the final automobile, airplane or ship will work as intended in all situations is greatly increased,” explains Stork. “The effort required for functional verification of a complex design is decreased.”

The developments are currently focusing on the automobile industry. The Fraunhofer researchers think the methodology can be transferred to other areas such as aircraft and ship construction. They also want to combine behavioral models to analyze variants more efficiently.


Visualization and simulation of FunctionalDMU is research work of Fraunhofer IGD. (Rights of use: Fraunhofer IGD)

FunctionalDMU was presented at the Hannover Messe 2010. 

The Fraunhofer IGD is the world's leading institute for applied research in Visual Computing. Visual Computing is image- and model-based information technology. It includes Computer Graphics, Computer Vision, as well as Virtual and Augmented Reality.

Fraunhofer IGD develops prototypes and complete solutions based on customer-specific requirements. The range of applications of the concepts, models and practical solutions spans from virtual product development for medicine, commerce to multimedia learning and training.

The research and development projects of the Fraunhofer IGD are directly applicable to current problems in the economy. Numerous spin-offs ensure that prototypes are quickly converted into market-ready products.

In addition, the Institute together with its partner universities researches key technologies and cooperates with companies of various industry sectors. Apart from its headquarters in Darmstadt, the Fraunhofer IGD has locations in Rostock, Graz and Singapore. It employs about 180 (full-time equivalent) permanent men and women. Its budget is about 18 million Euro.

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