Mechanical engineering must respond to the need of processing hard-to-machine and difficult-to-form materials, and the production of heavy and large machines or technological units with increased accuracy and fully automated operations and control. The demands for high quality and functionality of final products are increasing. There are increased requirements for higher reliability and the demands for the time availability of machines are reaching up to 97%. Another factor is the requirement for the versatility and multifunctionality of components, machines, and devices. New technical means are required for increasing accuracy, reducing production costs, diagnostics, predictive maintenance, maximal modularity, pooling of production operations, reducing energy consumption, lowering demands on operators, all given at the current growth of the reliability of production.
Development is necessary in the field of high-performance processing of light titanium alloys, and composite materials; the increase of production accuracy of pliable parts; the automation search of stable and efficient areas of technological parameters. For surfaces, there are new requirements in the area of quality and integrity of the surfaces. The evolution of needs is also seen in the increase of accuracy of the production of very large parts, the increase of performance and cost-effectiveness of processing both conventional and non-conventional materials, the increase of long-term working accuracy, and in the high demands on maximal thermal stability.
In terms of operation, high demands on monitoring, diagnostics, and analysis of the state of components, machines, devices, or the entire production process are essential. Requirements on integrated automation and the safety operation of machines for the operators are also increasing. The means of virtual prototyping, verified instruments for simulation and optimisation of the operation of components, machines, devices, and processes for the purposes of predictive maintenance, the prevention of malfunctions or „learning“, are going through a rapid development. From relatively isolated processes, different sectors are gradually switching to integrated solutions and linking to cloud-based applications. The connecting of the Internet of Things (IoT), services, and the Internet of People (IoP) leads to a significant amount of generated data, which are usable for the analysis and optimisation of machine systems. From the perspective of technological challenges, the development of CPS, which will allow a greater degree of digitisation and the use of virtual twins with the potential in the area of autonomous methods, self-diagnostics, autoconfiguration, machine perception, and operators´ assistance, seems to be essential.
The key domain for the industry of the 21st century appears to be, particularly in the conditions of the Czech Republic, the development of technologies enabling the production of smart components and systems that will be the basis of new generation of machines and devices. These are comprehensive components combining new materials, virtual designing and prototyping with mechatronics and operations, including software tools. They will find their use in technologically most demanding engineering industries that combine considerable requirements on precision of production, quality, and the parameters of surface integrity, maximal demands on production performance and furthermore demands on reliability and safety. These are „Machine Tools“ and „Precision Engineering“ fields, whose products use advanced materials, smart technologies, and integrated sensor technology, data processing, communication and operations. A technological challenge are mechatronic components and systems enabling designing and development of the machines themselves, as well as entire technological units up to smart factories. These elements will find use not only in production, transport, aviation, or energy systems, but also in other areas of economy such as health care, logistics, forestry, or agriculture.
The development of comprehensive smart components and systems is essential for the innovative advancements in engineering, which will lead to the increase of efficiency, accuracy and quality of production, production power, reliability, economic efficiency, and the reduction of negative impacts on the environment. Common research agenda of the Center is structured into three research programs:
Materials and the material research are the basic prerequisites for (not only) mechanical engineering of the 21st century.Read more
The dynamic development of additive manufacturing (AM) in the last decade is one of the major technological themes affecting the entire spectrum of industrial sectors.Read more
The Center envisages open cooperation with both research organizations and other technology-oriented companies.