Tomas Bata University in Zlín

Departmental R&D Activities

The Regional Research Centre CEBIA-Tech

1. research team “Application of Engineering Informatics”

 Team leader: Assoc. Prof. Ing. Miroslav Maňas, CSc.

The research activity “Application of Engineering Informatics” includes 4 research sub-activities:

Grid Computing and application of artificial intelligence methods, Intelligent production systems, Intelligent buildings and Embedded systems. What they have in common is the use of intelligent information technologies and their implementation in the so-called intelligent systems. The research will be carried out in the sphere of the informatics in particular, but a significant and characteristic feature will be a close cooperation with other research programmes. In addition to the expected commercial outputs this research sub-activity will provide data, software and information support to the other research programmes with emphasis on the sphere of automation and embedded systems for technological equipment of production systems and on alternative energy sources as well as on the application of artificial intelligence methods in order to increase the efficiency of systems in the research programme ‘Security research and mathematical modelling of technological processes and equipment’.

Grid Computing and application of artificial intelligence

Activities done in the research centre will be in this section focused on the use of grid computing and cloud computing methods and selected methods in the sphere of artificial intelligence in order to implement complex problems with practical applicability. Within the mentioned activities, the following methods will among others be used: neuron networks, genetic algorithms, optimization, application of deterministic chaos in secure and encrypted information transmission, use of parallel computing for dealing with time demanding tasks, evolution and development of modern simulation systems, statistic data processing, modelling of complex processes which are difficult to include in the classic mathematics.

New software applications will be created to optimize difficult issues based on evolutionary computing techniques. A special emphasis will be laid on the sphere of problems with the organization of flow production, planning, etc. The main direction will be aimed at the sphere of demanding optimizations and modelling of complex processes of the industrial-economic character. The importance of methods enabling to find an optimal or suboptimal solution to a complex problem in real time increases with the growing complexity of problems. The degree of difficulty of the result achieved depends on mutually determining attributes such as the time necessary for finding a solution and the quantity of options leading to a solution (Pareto optimal).

Production systems

At present the conditions for manufacturing companies on the market have dramatically changed. The market became global, very dynamic and involves tough competition. Therefore, the producers are required to achieve high flexibility in the whole production process, which is obvious both in the sphere of material flow control and information flow control. The only way seems to be the development and implementation of new concepts and paradigms for production processes. As follows from some internationally successful applications – unfortunately, those are mostly done by the biggest competitors of European companies (e.g. the Toyota company), a very effective method is the use of production systems with distributed “controlling intelligence” unlike former concepts using the centralized “controlling intelligence”. Such systems can be entitled ‘intelligent production systems’ and big attention is paid to their research and implementation.

The essential prerequisite for the use of new IPS concepts is a new approach to data and information processing in the production system. It is necessary to design, process and implement complex data models of the production system, and use intelligent methods for processing of data included in them in order to acquire the information required. New concepts and paradigms prevailing in the current production systems will be analyzed – holonic production systems, bionic production systems, fractal production systems, etc. Based on this analysis the concept suitable for implementation in the Czech industrial environment will be selected. In order to enhance testing options of modern approaches to the control of production systems, new equipment of the laboratory will be purchased – laboratory equipment such as production machinery with intelligent control systems and handling devices which will be funded from these project resources.

Intelligent buildings

The basic technologies of intelligent buildings include technologies and equipment of the technology of the environment, safety and transport systems. In spite of the progress achieved, the technological systems designed for buildings are influenced by traditions and do not enable full use of all technical options. Above all the subsystems designed are static and are based on the experience of past technical generations; they do not use the current technical possibilities, i.e. computer and communication technologies, in order to find an optimum solution for the building in question. The optimum solution is supposed to involve minimized energy consumption and at the same time minimized investment and operational expenses occurring during the life of a device, provided that the required parameters of inner environment are observed.

The optimization requires that the design itself is based not only on stationary parameters of buildings, but also includes non-stationary peripheral and user conditions. The design of the building incl. its technological systems and their control requires a systematic approach, i.e. all components have to be considered as a whole, expected to react to disturbance variables, e.g. to outside climatic conditions, inside variable load and changing conditions of use of the building. The issue of optimized design of the system of technology of environment and its intelligent control proves essential. The resources of this project will be used to build a specialized laboratory focusing on studying and testing of technical equipment of buildings; in future this laboratory may be certified for a special level of testing methodologies in this sphere.

Embedded systems

In late nineties of the past century, the increasing integration density of digital integrated circuits resulted in the necessity of bridging the gap on the market of digital circuits. The development of new types of integrated circuits was required, which would meet the customers’ requirements and provided the advantages of digital systems with specialized connections. In addition to the existing programmable circuits of microprocessors whose architecture was based on a fully universal arrangement of the core of a digital computer, the necessity arose to use circuits with specialized connections which would meet the requirements set in a system defined by the customer. The reasons were the required response speed, a lower energy input and a higher reliability of such a system. Even then, the very high integration of digital circuits provided a higher reliability achieved thanks to the possibility of creation of digital circuits and systems on one silicon plate of the integrated circuit. Thus, the influences of outside interference sources are limited which are caused by power sources and by sources of industrial interference, influencing the given electronic system through electric induction in long parallel signal conductors and due to interferences caused by stray capacities in the circuits. Such an integrated circuit had to be arranged so as to produce universally usable construction units, which – in digital systems – are the gates (most frequently). Their arrangement enables random interconnection, thus giving the designer the possibility to create the system as required by the customer. However, it is at the same time necessary to test the designed connection in advance, by means of simulation.


2. research team “Security Research”

 Team leader: Assoc. Prof. RNDr. Vojtěch Křesálek, CSc.

The research programme is targeted at 3 main areas: development of small mobile data and telecommunication networks for emergency units, development of a detection and analysis system for hazardous substances with the use of THz frequencies and development of technological methods for protection of electronic systems against interference from outer and inner electromagnetic fields. Last but not least, the research programme Security research will closely cooperate with the other two research programmes; with the programme Application of engineering informatics especially in the areas of data security, development of programs for intelligent access systems etc., with Alternative energy sources mainly in the areas of providing technical cooperation in securing technological operations (data security, sensors, detectors).

The first objective is development of small mobile data and telecommunication networks for emergency units. The research is a part of designing of intelligent clothing that will contain sensors monitoring the health condition such as temperature, pulse etc. of the emergency unit members, record the chemical situation in the surroundings and also with the use of integrated video cameras it will monitor the surroundings and position by GPS.

The second objective is to develop a detection and analysis system for hazardous substances with the use of THz frequencies. The area of THz frequencies possesses a strong innovation potential which can bring corresponding economical advantage for the firms that focus their innovation activities into this field. Our research will concern assemblage of laboratory samples of two kinds of systems, namely a THz spectrometer for the analysis of selected types of substances, and an imaging system in a selected spectral band. Other task will concern design and construction of the entire system including specific parts of the imaging system (scanning mechanisms etc.) and methods of its applications in the security industry (e.g. a supplement of the existing RTG screeners in the input baggage check, or person check).

The third objective is to develop technological methods for protection of electronic systems against interference from outer and inner electromagnetic fields. The project is aimed at building a highly specialized laboratory which will – in cooperation with aircraft technology producers – do expert activities in the above-mentioned field. The designing as well as manufacturing enterprises are interested in this type of services, which are at the same time suitable for activities done at higher education institutions focusing on technology. Our activities will be focused on two areas: measuring of electric and magnetic characteristics of aircraft construction materials depending on frequencies, and testing of entire construction blocks and visualization of electromagnetic fields located inside

There is an exponential increase in the number of electronic systems embedded in industrial products. In order to guarantee their flawless functionality, it is absolutely necessary to adopt measures regarding the increase in resistance of these systems against interference and the use of electronic systems in order to inhibit generation of interfering signals. This represents a key problem especially in the aircraft construction industry. We will deal with the development of construction measures which prevent the outer electromagnetic fields from getting into the airframes.

For the generator, frequency multipliers and analyzer GHz frequencies will be designed and manufactured measuring cell and developed measurement methodology, which will then be offered for commercial purposes. In Sub-EMC immunity will be developed following objectives:

  • Elaboration and commercial use of methodologies for quality and electromagnetic parameter assessment of the materials used in modern aircraft construction
  • Standardization of construction rules for the protection of avionic systems against interfering effects of both natural and artificial electromagnetic fields
  • Elaboration of methodologies for testing and assessment of airframe construction from the viewpoint of electromagnetic compatibility

3. research team “Alternative energy sources”

 Team leader: prof. Ing. Karel Kolomazník, DrSc.

The research programme Alternative energy sources is fully targeted at the development of particular technologies for direct use in industrial practice. There are two parallel research activities, namely biodiesel production from waste fats and oils, which at the same time includes pre-treatment methods of the input feedstock, and the development of optimized catalytic systems and recycling technologies, which will enable us to achieve an economically feasible and mainly environmentally clean operation. Full automation of technological devices and their security will be provided by the other two research programmes. This will lead to production of a completed technology which will require no other expenses for automation and security from external subjects. Cooperation with particular research institutes and companies is planned for specific R&D tasks.

The first objective is the development and optimization of a pre-treatment of the input feedstock, i.e. low quality waste fats and oils, the direct processing of which into biodiesel would be too expensive. The key task is research in waste fat and oil refining technologies in order to achieve raffinates of the same quality as the vegetable oils commonly used as raw stock for biodiesel production. This objective will also include detailed mass, energetic and economic balance of the input feedstock with respect to actual world`s prices, availability and the way of raw stock acquisition. Within mass and energetic balances, analyses will be carried out especially of the content of water, ash and fatty acids. Special attention will be paid to precise determination of the content of nitrogen, sulphur and free fatty acids in waste fats and oils.

The second objective is optimization of the free fatty acids esterification and transesterification reactions, i.e. the key reactions in biodiesel production. It is necessary to develop such esterification-catalytic system to achieve a maximum conversion and at the same time to preserve the main advantage of the new technology – economical feasibility and environmental cleanliness. First of all, this will be preceded by a market survey on potential organic catalysts from the viewpoint of their availability, prices, logistics and their performance in the key reactions supported by preliminary laboratory tests. Based on the experimental measurements of the transesterification kinetics, a mathematical model of the transesterification reaction will be presented and optimization of the process will be carried out which enables us to transfer the process into industrial practice. Also, a document will be elaborated that will contain comprehensive properties of the biodiesel produced by the innovative technology and their comparison to international standards.

The third objective is the development of a recycling technology for the substances used in the key reactions, i.e. esterifiers and catalysts for the transesterification reaction. The aim is to get a closed recycling loop for the entering chemicals and their re-use in the production processes, or possibly to find a commercial use for the key reaction by-products. A decomposition reactor for tetramethylammonium soaps and an alkylation reactor will be designed. Based on the reactor designs pilot plant tests will be carried out of the tetramethylammonium soaps decomposition.

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