Research Group Smart Production Systems


Group leader: Dr.-Ing. Tobias Voigt

The research group Smart Production Systems focuses on the digitization of the food and beverage industry through the research areas Artificial Intelligence, Multi Agent Systems, Modelling and Simulation as well as standardized data and communication interfaces. The research group's special focus is on the scientific consideration of issues that support the individual industrial sectors in solving current or future challenges. For example, the supply of individualised products of the beverage industry through a decentralized control system as well as the flexible composition of the required machines is solved with the help of multi-agent systems. The application of artificial intelligence is intended to optimize processes across industries and to make them more efficient through the interaction of standardized data. The simulation of different systems in the food and beverage industry aims to increase energy and media efficiency on the one hand, and to enable the virtual commissioning of process engineering plants by means of simulation models on the other.

In addition, the working group deals with the questions of plastic packaging with special functions. Among other things, the development of intelligent sensors and the topic of microplastics play a role here.

The comprehensive fields of research are specifically implemented in teaching and communicated to students. In addition, the working group " Smart Production Systems" has many years of experience in the field of machine interfaces (Weihenstephan Standard) as well as a wide range of expertise in consulting and services in the field of beverage filling.

Research Projects

REIF - Resource-efficient, Economic and Intelligent Foodchain

REIF pursues the identification of potentials and conceptualisation of innovative approaches based on AI for learning value-added networks. The value creation development of the food supply chain has coordinative problems that can only be overcome by disruptive approaches such as the use of artificial intelligence. The focus is on the active use of procedures analogous to machine learning and multi-agent systems, through the application of which knowledge is continuously generated and processes are optimised with this knowledge base in order to reduce food waste.

You can find more information here.


MiPAq - Microparticles in the aquatic environment and in food

Aim of the BFS sponsored project MiPAq is the thorough characterization of microparticles in the aquatic environment and in food. Several chairs of studies work on this project; in the center of our work lies the research of sorption mechanics of various contaminants on plastic particles. For this purpose, several plastics are contaminated with various pollutants to extract them after certain times and determine the amount of substance absorbed into the polymers using mass spectrometry. This way sorption coefficients can be calculated and propositions regarding the intake ability of polymers can be made. Furthermore, we produce microplastic particles for further research ourselves and characterize them.

You can find further information here.


BarriFlex - Enhanced Performance of Flexible Plastic Materials by Innovative Nanotechnologies for Food Packaging and Technical Applications

To protect sensitive food and flexible electronic components against oxygen and water vapor, novel polymer-based nanocomposite layers are developed in the BarriFlex project. The task of BGT in BarriFlex is the theoretical study and calculation of the mass transport in the developed layers. The project is funded by the AiF as part of the CORNET program and coordinated by the Research Institute for Leather and Plastic Sheeting. Further project partners are the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging, Celabor and Materia Nova.


Development of a non-destructive optical detection method for the individualised evaluation of meat spoilage in inert gas packaging with CO2 and O2

The modified gas atmosphere of packaged fresh meat changes due to the growth of microorganisms during storage. In order to determine the gas non-destructively in the packaging, appropriate methods and packaging systems are being developed which allow an individualized evaluation of the best before date. On one hand, a sensor based on the principle of fluorescence quenching is integrated into a packaging system (O2 determination) and on the other hand CO2 is determined by IR spectroscopy. This should lead to a reduction of the avoidable amount of wasted and spoiled meat.


vIvA - Real-time 3D-fluid and process simulation of mixing, thermal, filtration and pipe flow processes for the aim of virtual commissioning

The virtual commissioning enables the automation system to be secured early on a simulation model. However, currently available simulation models only allow the simulation of solids, which means that process engineering systems can only be mapped insufficiently. The research project therefore aims to enable realistic, real-time 3D flow simulation for virtual commissioning. For the first time, it should also be possible to simulate the processing of liquids relevant to control technology in a 3D model.


Virtual food process engineering laboratory

With the construction of a virtual demonstration system, on which the students can learn and deepen the engineering, automation and the operation of beverage, food and bioprocess technology production systems in a practical and time- and location-independent manner, digitization is carried directly into teaching. By integrating process engineering models, the system behaves in the same way as the real system. Supported by a digital exercise and teaching concept as well as high-performance server solutions, the students are enabled to work independently on the virtual system.

WS goes OPC UA

The goal of the project "Creation of an OPC UA Companion Specification for a substitutional migration of the Weihenstephan standards" is to offer an alternative using OPC UA in addition to the already existing Weihenstephan protocol.

This communication interface should enable machine builders to implement an interface with a uniform information model according to the service- and object-oriented OPC UA standard in a uniform, cost-effective way. The information model should provide an extensible basis for future IoT- M2M and cloud applications.




Hybrid modeling and prediction of media and energy demand in the beverage industry

In the research project, a modelling and simulation tool for the beverage industry is being developed, which will enable a standardised holistic analysis of the energy and media consumption of process chains as well as a forecast of energy and media requirements of sub-processes, process stages and operations.

 You can find more information here.

RoboFill 4.0 - Robot-supported filling concept for individualised beverage supply

In addition to providing and developing an adaptable and flexibly expandable filling and material flow concept, the focus is on a decentralized control concept that orchestrates the intelligent components of the filling system. A virtual representation in the cloud is used to synchronize customer requests, production orders and the associated production planning and control. In doing so, the decentralized intelligence of the individual system components (e.g. utilization status of a filling module) is used and taken into account in the situational design of the process flow. The product to be manufactured steers itself independently and intelligently through the filling process, so to speak. This allows the representation of the plant components independent of time and place. Compared to rigidly assembled and controlled lines in the filling and beverage industry, this project aims to create highly flexible processing stations that are intelligently controlled by the product.

You can find more information on the RoboFill 4.0 Homepage.


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