Doctoral College Cyber-Physical Production Systems at TU Wien
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Cyber-Physical Production Systems (CPPS) are complex systems combining many different subsystems spanning from machining level (tooling machines, robots, material handling systems etc.) to software level (monitoring, virtual metrology etc.). Those subsystems can again comprise a multitude of sensors and actors in a network controlled by embedded systems and PLC. These are typically structured along the automation pyramid as can be seen in the figure. 

In addition to conventional automation and control technology for production facilities, an aim of CPPS is to design "smart" systems that embody so called self-x capabilities (e.g., self-configuration, self-organization, self-optimization) in order to be able to adapt autonomously to unforeseen states on machine level as well as non-intended situations on production system level due to failures, lack of material etc. Even though autonomous interaction on micro-level is intended and required for an implementation of advanced production concepts in modern environments, observability and controllability has to be assured. Certain levels of functionality and system behavior have to be guaranteed.

The combination of systems forming a CPPS have to be engineered and designed within a multi-domain environment of virtual product development. The outcome of such a development process determines corridors of operation and limitations to autonomous behavior of a CPPS. A coherent virtual representation of a production system being in operation forms the basis in order to be able to rapidly respond to changes as well as simulate new behavior of a customized system prior to deployment. The product and system developers today are well supported with specialized tools in their domains, e.g., CAD or simulation.

The integration of the domain specific methods and tools for mechanical design, electric/electronics engineering and software development is one main challenge in creating complex technical systems. Utilizing synergies based on the different methods, approaches, and knowledge from these fields should allow CPPS development teams to create robust and reliant CPPS in an innovative way.

Within this PhD project, work on methods and tools for Virtual Engineering Design of CPPS will be tackled. This includes research on tools to describe complete CPPS coherently as models which represent all required information from all involved domains. Furthermore, investigation in development methodologies will be pursued, especially the application of VDI 2206 (methodological support for the cross-domain development of mechatronic systems) as general procedure for the development process of CPPS. This creating additional interest in virtual representation of artifacts supporting the development processes and its management, e.g., requirements, logic, function, and physics. 

PhD-Student and Supervision

PhD-Student: Dipl-Ing. Paul Weißenbach

Paul works as a research assistant with the Mechanical Engineering Informatics and Virtual Product Development (MIVP) research group at TU Vienna.

He finished the master program "Business Engineering and Computer Science" at TU Vienna with a thesis about semantically supported features in requirements management software. His bachelor thesis is about applying mechanical design automation. Before his studies, he attended a technology and crafts orientated higher college (HTL) for automation engineering and additionally gained professional experience as a mechanical engineer. While and after his master he worked as software developer mainly focusing on client side web applications.

His main areas of interest are development methodologies, processes and tool support for engineers and development teams. The goal of his research efforts is to make teams/companies able to create higher quality products and services faster, all while conserving vital knowledge about customer needs and growing insight into possible technology that fulfills these and potential future customer needs.


Advisor: Prof. Dr. Detlef Gerhard, Mechanical Engineering Informatics and Virtual Product Development (E307-5)