Business Unit Industrial Electronics

Automation Technology

Discussion on automation technology is currently dominated by three big topics:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Wireless sensor technology
  • Application-specific sensor packaging

Fraunhofer IZM’s research and services promotes the development of solutions in all three areas.

Energy Efficiency

Rising energy costs have become a central concern for companies. Automation technology is a means of streamlining processes and preventing stand-by losses. Fraunhofer IZM helps businesses identify potential energy savings and with the know-how required for the assembly of intelligent power electronics.  Intelligent, because the power and control components are integrated into the same housing, which improves machine and equipment control. Thanks to our miniaturization technologies, such intelligent control devices can even be integrated into tight or awkwardly shaped spaces. At the same time, our technologies ensure that the power component itself has low losses, in other words, that it runs more efficiently.

Wireless Automation Technology

Fraunhofer IZM specializes in energy supply, networking, robust communication and the application-specific assembly of sensor nodes in wireless automation technology.

The availability and demand for energy is a key topic in the implementation of autarkic sensor nodes. In fact, it is often the decisive factor determining just how competitive an autarkic sensor solution is. Fraunhofer IZM researches and develops, independently and as support services for external clients, the energy-efficient design of sensor nodes, energy supply using fuel cells, application-specific batteries and environmental energy conversion. Communication between the nodes and a central receiving unit is the second large research area. Here too, energy efficiency plays a key role, however issues such as the robustness of the wireless connection and the antenna design are also addressed. Finally, Fraunhofer IZM researches and develops the packaging of sensor nodes and identifies which technologies are available to the customer-specific or, more precisely, the application-specific sensor nodes.

Application-specific sensor packaging

Sensors for automation technology can almost be said to perform miracles. They have to collect data extremely accurately, often while exposed to the harshest environmental conditions. Packaging takes on a crucial role here. It has to protect the sensors from environmental influences without affecting their functionality. Fraunhofer IZM specializes in:

  • Stress-free packaging, such as for pressure, Hall effect and acceleration sensors
  • Highly robust packaging, such as for media, high-temperature or vibration resistant sensors
  • Optical sensor packaging, such as miniaturized camera systems, spectrometers and fiber optic sensors
  • Sensor packaging with openings, such as for moisture and gas sensors
  • MEMS packaging, including in wafer composites