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Development of Virtual Mechatronic Laboratory (ViMeLa)


UNIPV structure involved: Department of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering    

UNIPV Team: Prof Paolo Di Barba; Maria Evelina Mognaschi, Nicoletta Galli

Project Duration: 24 months

Start Date: 01-11-2017                                 End Date: 31-10-2019



Budget: 272.029,00 €

Budget UNIPV: 47.862,00 €

In their daily practice, academics frequently face lack of access to modern equipment and devices, which are currently in use on the market. There is no opportunity to disassemble available devices for the purposes of presenting the components and construction as well as clarifying related physical phenomena. Laboratory exercises must be carried out under supervision, hence students do not have the ability to self-configure the equipment, experience states of emergency or effects of misconfiguration which may lead to equipment damage. Moreover, there is no possibility to practice and catch up outside the laboratory schedule. The above mentioned factors manifest in deficiencies in fundamental knowledge and practice of graduates, which cause inability to properly react to the challenges at future workplace.
esponding to above mentioned needs, we would like to enrich study programmes of all partners by implementing an innovative method for teaching and learning mechatronics based on virtual reality (VR), which will include the below mentioned scenarios.
Construction and operating principles of electric motors - 3D models will be designed based on authentic devices, according to their technical documentation. It will enable virtual assembly and disassembly of individual elements of the motor (i.e. rotor, permanent magnets, windings, bearings). The simulation module will present the principles of the machines used in mechatronic systems. Virtual models will enable to analyse the impact of supply conditions (i.e. values of voltage and frequency, pulse frequency) on the work of a particular motor.
Production line - This scenario will familiarize users with the work of typical production lines or their most important fragments. Virtual models of production lines will be controlled using the virtual or authentic PLC controler. The production lines will be equipped with virtual actuators and sensors. The user will be able to program a PLC controller using a ladder diagram. The virtual production line will be launched according to user's programming. One will be able to asses the correctness of created programming and experience full scale effects of potential errors or misconfiguration. Additionally, this scenario will include states of emergency which may lead to equipment damage.
Electro-pneumatic systems - The third scenario will consists of specialised virtual exercises providing the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of pneumatics and electro-pneumatic. The user will be introduced to the construction and the principle of pneumatic and electro pneumatic actuators and controls used in the industry. Additionally the user will be able to select pneumatic components according to the requirements of an industrial manufacturing processes. In order to acquire skills of appropriate selection and configuration of the electro-pneumatic control systems, the user will configure and test electro-pneumatic systems, using the virtual workstation