Rigorosum Dr. Michael Mayrhofer

On September 22, 2023, Michael Mayrhofer, researcher in Area 2 “Cognitive Robotics and Shop Floors”, successfully defended his PhD with distinction at the Institute of Software Systems Engineering at Johannes Kepler University Linz. The thesis was written under supervision of Prof. Alexander Egyed and Dr. Christoph Mayr-Dorn. The examination committee consisted of Prof. Wolfgang Kastner from Vienna Technical University and Prof. Rick Rabiser from the LIT Cyber Physical Systems Lab, with Prof. Josef Küng from Johannes Kepler University as chair of the committee.

The title of the thesis is “Model driven software engineering for flexible distributed production using OPC UA”. The goal was to explore the possibilities in future discrete manufacturing environments to allow for maximum reconfigurability, both for reconfiguration of the physical layout of a manufacturing line during runtime, as well as reconfiguration of the sequences executed by individual machines. This was complemented by strategies to monitor and debug the industrial systems of systems that manufacturing lines are.

The conducted research resulted in a tool kit of individual building blocks for flexible manufacturing, that very well complement each other and can bring reconfigurability into existing shopfloors with a very small additional footprint in the present controllers. Pro²Future is looking forward using these building blocks to enhance both brownfield and greenfield manufacturing lines.

Abstract: Software plays a central role in augmenting industrial machinery with additional flexibility. This thesis defines the main components for a metamodel that captures the central elements of industrial manufacturing, such as product, process and resource. Based on this metamodel, solutions are created to support engineers throughout the software lifecycle, from programming to commissioning, online reprogramming, to debugging. The solutions are shown by prototypic implementations in a lab environment using the standard protocol OPC UA.