Research at the Department of Mechanical Engineering focuses in particular on Energy Technology and Process Engineering, Product Engineering and Logistics, Mechatronics, Ship Technology and Nanotechnology. The department plays a significant role in two major co­operative research projects: Collaborative Research Centre SFB 445 and Research Training Group 1240. The department works closely with four associated institutes: IUTA, IWW, DST, and ZBT.
The Chair of Combustion and Gas Dynamics (Prof. Christof Schulz) has completed construction of a pilot plant for the synthesis of highly specific nanoparticles in cooperation with IUTA and financed by the state of NRW. The project also forms the nucleus of two further large-scale projects, the nanoenergy technology centre known as NETZ (UDE with IUTA, ZBT, MPI-K and WWU, 11 million € for three years), and the Center for Filtration Research and Functional Surfaces ZF3 (IUTA, UDE and DTNW, 8 million € for 3 years).
The new laboratory for laser diagnostics in engines (financial volume approx. 850,000 €) was also commissioned. The facility is currently being used together with the RWTH Aachen, the University of Karlsruhe and ETH Zürich in acontract with a car manufacturer to develop new low emission combustion processes. At the Institute of Production Technology and Product Development (Prof. Diethard Bergers), development of a new concept for automatic accessing of mammal lesions for biopsy in the magnetic resonance tomograph (MRT) began in collaboration with University Hospital Essen. The project is being funded by German Cancer Aid (DKH).
The Center for Fuel Cell Technology (ZBT) (Prof. Angelika Heinzel) inaugurated the Technology Application Center (TAZ) in September 2008. The services offered by the ZBT have been extended to include test engineering, production engineering and additional analytics. In coopera­tion with the Institute of Production Technology (Prof. Gerd Witt), assembly, commissioning,production technology and testing of fuel cells, reformers and complete systems are being established at the new test centre.
In collaboration with the associated institute ITBB, the Chair of Mechanics and Robotics (Prof. Andrés Kecskeméthy) concluded the Proreop project (development of a new prediction system to optimise surgical and rehabilitation procedures for the human musculoskeletal system). This project was funded with a total of 750,000 € from the European Union transfer programme. Research was conducted in collaboration with the Institutes of Biomedical Imaging, Computer Graphics and Scientific Computing, Intelligent Systems, Orthopaedics, Production Technology and Product Development.
A modular driving simulator was commissioned at the Chair of Mechatronics (Prof. Dieter Schramm) and presented at leading events and exhibitions. The chair was also instrumental in founding mercatronics GmbH, which is funded under the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology’s EXIST programme. The mercatronics GmbH business plan had previously been awarded first prize at the “StartUp-Duisburg” founder competition.