Key Research Areas

Condition monitoring of electronics

© Fraunhofer IZM

Condition Monitoring Concepts

The highest levels of availability and lowest failure rates are key requirements for durable and high quality products and main criteria for increasing sustainability. Concepts for condition monitoring are based on the identification and intelligent and efficient recording of relevant system parameters and simultaneous evaluation and calculation of reliability purposes. By means of intelligent interpretation of field data it is possible to determine the condition and the remaining life-time of electrical, electronic and mechatronic systems (E/E/M). As a result, condition based maintenance can be carried out to avoid imminent system failures. In addition, stored data can be further analysed to determine the causes of failures.

Furthermore, the remaining life time of a system can be estimated in field use under varying load with monitoring structures. To achieve permanent condition monitoring, a monitoring unit must be added to the system. Complexity and cost of the monitoring unit has to be balanced due to terms of ecological and economical use.

We provide expertise in the following areas:

  • Developing algorithms and models for predicting the reliability of E/E/M systems
  • Acquisition and evaluation of measurement data
  • Statistical support for the applied methods
  • Development and implementation of monitoring structures for a direct, intelligent indication of the condition of an E/E/M system
  • Implementation of condition based maintenance

The system evaluation offers the approach for the identification of weaknesses in terms of technology or sustainability. The various system levels are differentiated. The available methods provide the basis for overall system optimisation, taking into account processes of reliability management.

Methods of System Evaluation

System evaluation makes it possible to identify weak spots in terms of technology and sustainability. The various system levels are differentiated. The available methods provide the basis for overall system optimisation taking into account processes of reliability management.

Condition Monitoring and Lifetime Prediction of IGBTs for Photovoltaic Inverters

Insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) are key to the state-of-art inverters used in photovoltaic equipment. Their main function is converting the variable direct current (DC) produced by solar panels into alternating current (AC). Thermomechanical stress induced by cyclic loading is a main cause of semiconductor degradation. IGBT lifetime is primarily dependent on the frequency and amplitude of this cyclic loading.

Projects in Electronic Condition Monitoring


In this project, we are developing a condition monitoring system for power electronics in photovoltaics to implement condition-oriented maintenance using lifetime predictions for power electronic components.

Self-contained Condition Monitoring System (ECoMoS)

Here we are developing a sensor network that monitors engines and storage facilities in industrial environments. The sensor nodes harvest the power required for operation from their environment and communicate wirelessly, which makes cabling redundant. Vibration sensors detect failures, for example in a paper factory, and alert a technical control center further on down the line.

Fraunhofer Innovation Cluster: Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul in Energy and Traffic (MRO)

Fraunhofer IZM is investigating and developing applications for specifically mechatronic and electronic component-related MRO, as well as sensor integration in all application areas of the focus topics energy and traffic in this innovation cluster.