The energy transition with rising energy prices, volatile energy markets and an increasing environmental responsibility confront the manufacturing industry with challenges. In particular the increasing relevance of energy and resource efficiency if of growing significance to meet normative requirements and to stay competitive. At the same time by flexible use of energy, manufacturing plants can reduce costs and support the electric grid.
In an interdisciplinary team of more than 21 associates the group „ETA | Energy Technologies and Applications for Production” does research on a vast variety of aspects in the areas energy efficiency, energy flexibility and resource efficiency in the production. These three superior topics are addressed in the five research focus areas “Energy-optimized Production Machines”, “Energy-optimized Supply Systems”, “Energy Management & Monitoring”, “Simulation of Energy Systems” and “Artificial Intelligence for Energy Systems”.
The energy optimization ranges from individual machines to the whole holistic production environment. Both the efficient dimensioning of components and systems (machines, supply technology) and the synergetic interaction between cross-linked systems and control engineering issues are part of the research. Therefore, simulation models on different levels are developed to investigate energy efficient machine development, machine control, production and factory planning. Digital tools are not only a core competence of the team in simulation aspects: Valuable energy data are the basis of all analyses and the premise for subsequent optimizations. Thus, the systematic and efficient acquisition and analysis of energy data by machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches in various forms are important elements of the research activities.
In the project „ETA-Fabrik“ a cross-linked holistic view of the building, supply systems and the production machines is used to investigate further energy efficiency potentials in production. The energy efficient model factory at Campus Lichtwiese, developed as part of the research project, serves to investigate the thermal and electrical interaction of the machines in an exemplary process chain.
The ETA-Fabrik is also the basis of the research project “PHI-Factory”, which examines technical and organizational solutions to enable manufacturing plants as an active control element to both save energy costs as well as to support the electricity grid. Therefore, different measures for optimized load management, power quality improvement and the ideal integration of decentralized generator and storage systems into the holistic and optimized energy management are investigated.
In the context of the large-scale project “SynErgie” (funding initiative Kopernikus), energy-intensive industrial processes are to be integrated into the future energy system in a way that the volatile supply of renewable energies in the electricity system can be used and balanced. Within the group, the potential of cross-industry production infrastructure, such as heat, refrigeration, compressed air or ventilation systems, is explored within various energy-intensive industries in order to synchronize their energy demand with the fluctuating supply of renewable energy.
The aim of the “TWIN-CONTROL” research project is to combine the subdisciplines, which influence the machine tool and its operating process, in a common simulation environment. The group's research activities focus on increasingly important aspects such as energy efficiency and optimization of maintenance. By the holistic approach, synergy effects are to be utilized which lead to more precise simulation results in all partial disciplines. Additionally, the results of the research are being didactically prepared for the „Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center“ and transferred to the industry within the scope of workshops at the “ETA Learning Factory”.
Furthermore, the research associates of the group do studies about energy efficienc and flexibility as well as work on bilateral research or implementation projects with well-known industry partners.