Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 33

Search results for: Lukas Krawczyk

33 Model-Based Automotive Partitioning and Mapping for Embedded Multicore Systems

Authors: Robert Höttger, Lukas Krawczyk, Burkhard Igel

Abstract:

This paper introduces novel approaches to partitioning and mapping in terms of model-based embedded multicore system engineering and further discusses benefits, industrial relevance and features in common with existing approaches. In order to assess and evaluate results, both approaches have been applied to a real industrial application as well as to various prototypical demonstrative applications, that have been developed and implemented for different purposes. Evaluations show, that such applications improve significantly according to performance, energy efficiency, meeting timing constraints and covering maintaining issues by using the AMALTHEA platform and the implemented approaches. Further- more, the model-based design provides an open, expandable, platform independent and scalable exchange format between OEMs, suppliers and developers on different levels. Our proposed mechanisms provide meaningful multicore system utilization since load balancing by means of partitioning and mapping is effectively performed with regard to the modeled systems including hardware, software, operating system, scheduling, constraints, configuration and more data.

Keywords: partitioning, mapping, distributed systems, scheduling, embedded multicore systems, model-based, system analysis

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32 Chemical and Physical Modification of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers Based on Thermoplastic Acrylic Resin

Authors: Kamil Dydek, Szymon Demski, Kamil Majchrowicz, Paulina Kozera, Bogna Sztorch, Dariusz Brząkalski, Zuzanna Krawczyk, Robert Przekop, Anna Boczkowska

Abstract:

Thanks to their excellent properties, i.e. high stiffness and strength in relation to their weight, corrosion resistance, and low thermal expansion, Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRPs) are a group of materials readily used in many industrial sectors, e.g. aviation, automotive, wind energy. Conventional CFRPs also have their disadvantages, namely, relatively low electrical conductivity and brittle cracking. To counteract this, a thermoplastic acrylic resin was proposed, which was further modified by the addition of organosilicon compounds and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The addition of the organosilicon compounds was aimed at improving the dispersion of the MWCNTs and obtaining good adhesion between the resin and the carbon fibre, where the MWCNTs were used as a conductive filler. In addition, during the fabrication of laminates using the infusion method, thermoplastic nonwovens doped with MWCNTs were placed between the carbon reinforcement layers to achieve a synergistic effect with an increase in electrical and mechanical properties.

Keywords: CFRP, acrylic resin, organosilicon compounds, mechanical properties, electrical properties

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31 Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers Modified with PET-G/MWCNTs Nonwovens

Authors: Kamil Dydek, Szymon Demski, Kamil Majchrowicz, Paulina Kozera, Bogna Sztorch, Dariusz Brząkalski, Zuzanna Krawczyk, Robert Przekop, Anna Boczkowska

Abstract:

Carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) are characterized by very high strength and stiffness in relation to their weight. In addition, properties such as corrosion resistance and low thermal expansion allow them to replace traditional materials, i.e., wood or metals, in many industries such as aerospace, automotive, marine, and sports goods. However, CFRPs, have some disadvantages -they have relatively low electrical conductivity and break brittle, which significantly limits their application possibilities. Moreover, conventional CFRPs are usually manufactured based on thermosets, which makes them difficult to recycle. The solution to these drawbacks is the use of the innovative thermoplastic resin (ELIUM from ARKEMA) as a matrix of composites and the modification by introducing into their structure thermoplastic nonwovens based on PET-G with the addition of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The acrylic-carbon composites, which were produced by the infusion technique, were tested for mechanical, thermo-mechanical, and electrical properties, and the effect of modifications on their microstructure was studied. Acknowledgment: This study was carried out with funding from grant no. LIDER/46/0185/L-11/19/NCBR/2020, financed by The National Centre for Research and Development.

Keywords: CFRP, MWCNT, ELIUM, electrical properties, infusion

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30 Personnel Marketing as Perceived by HR Managers in Czech Republic: Results of a Qualitative Research Study

Authors: Lukáš Mazánek, Zdeňka Konečná

Abstract:

The article is devoted to the area of personnel marketing. A comprehensive review of scientific literature and articles published predominantly in personnel-oriented journals was carried out, followed by a qualitative exploratory research with the aim to explore and explain the perception of personnel marketing. Due to the lack of research in this field in Czech Republic, we have focused on Czech HR managers, more specifically, on how they understand the tasks of personnel marketing, which tools they use and whether the companies they work for try to be a preferred employer. The answers from our respondents were used to help us determine what is important within this field. All of the respondents strive to be a preferred employer and try to achieve it by using an extensive range of marketing tools. The most frequently used tools are advertising, job fairs presentations, employee care and employer brand promotion.

Keywords: Czech Republic, personnel marketing, preferred employer, qualitative research study

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29 Empirical Evaluation of Gradient-Based Training Algorithms for Ordinary Differential Equation Networks

Authors: Martin K. Steiger, Lukas Heisler, Hans-Georg Brachtendorf

Abstract:

Deep neural networks and their variants form the backbone of many AI applications. Based on the so-called residual networks, a continuous formulation of such models as ordinary differential equations (ODEs) has proven advantageous since different techniques may be applied that significantly increase the learning speed and enable controlled trade-offs with the resulting error at the same time. For the evaluation of such models, high-performance numerical differential equation solvers are used, which also provide the gradients required for training. However, whether classical gradient-based methods are even applicable or which one yields the best results has not been discussed yet. This paper aims to redeem this situation by providing empirical results for different applications.

Keywords: deep neural networks, gradient-based learning, image processing, ordinary differential equation networks

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28 Teachers and Innovations in Information and Communication Technology

Authors: Martina Manenova, Lukas Cirus

Abstract:

This article introduces research focused on elementary school teachers’ approach to innovations in ICT. The diffusion of innovations theory, which was written by E. M. Rogers, captures the processes of innovation adoption. The research method derived from this theory and the Rogers’ questionnaire focused on the diffusion of innovations was used as the basic research method. The research sample consisted of elementary school teachers. The comparison of results with the Rogers’ results shows that among the teachers in the research sample the so-called early majority, as well as the overall division of the data, was rather central (early adopter, early majority, and later majority). The teachers very rarely appeared on the edge positions (innovator, laggard). The obtained results can be applied to teaching practice and used especially in the implementation of new technologies and techniques into the educational process.

Keywords: innovation, diffusion of innovation, information and communication technology, teachers

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27 Anatomy of the Human Mitral Valve Leaflets: Implications for Transcatheter and Surgical Mitral Valve Repair Techniques

Authors: Agata Krawczyk-Ozog, Mateusz K. Holda, Mateusz Koziej, Danuta Sorysz, Zbigniew Siudak, Wieslawa Klimek-Piotrowska, Dariusz Dudek

Abstract:

Introduction: Rapid development of the surgical and less-invasive percutaneous mitral valve repair procedures greatly increase the interest of the mitral valve anatomy. The aim of this study was to characterize morphological variability of the mitral valve leaflets and to provide the size of their particular parts. Materials and Methods: In the study, we included 200 autopsied human hearts from Caucasian individuals (25% females) with mean age 47.5 (±17.9) without any valvular diseases. The morphology of the mitral valve was evaluated. The intercommissural and aorto-mural diameters of the mitral annulus were measured. All leaflets and their scallops were identified. The base and the height of the posteromedial commissure (PM-C), anterolateral commissure (AL-C), anterior leaflet (AL) and posterior leaflet (PL) with their scallops were measured. Results: The intercommissural diameter was 28.0±4.8 mm, the aorto-mural diameter 19.7±4.8 mm, circumference of the mitral annulus 89.9±12.6 mm and the area of the mitral valve 485.4±171.4 mm2. Classical mitral valves (AL+AL-C+PL(P1,P2,P3)+PM-C) were found in 141 (70.5%) specimens. In classical type, the mean AL base and height were 30.8±4.9 mm and 20.6±4.2 mm, while mean PL base and height 45.1±8.2 mm 12.9±2.8 mm respectively. The mean ratio of the AL base to PL base was 0.7±0.2. Variations in PL were found in 55 (27.5%) and in AL in 5 (2.5%) hearts. The most common variations were: valve with one accessory scallop (AcS) between P3 and PM-C (7%); AcS between P1 and AL-C (4%); connections of P2 and P3 scallops (4%); connections of P1 and P2 scallops (3%); AcS in AL (2.5%). All AcS were smaller than the main PL scallops. The mean intertrigonal distance was 21.9±3.8 mm. Conclusions: In all cases, the mitral valve is built by two main leaflets with possible variants in secondary to leaflets scallops (29.5%). The variations are largely associated with PL and are mostly related to the presence of AcS. Anatomically the AL is not divided into scallops, and it occupies 34.5% of the mitral annulus circumference. Understanding the anatomy of the mitral valve leaflets helps to planning and performing mitral valve repair procedures.

Keywords: accessory scallop, commissure, connected scallops, human heart, mitral leaflets, mitral valve

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26 Microwave Assisted Synthesis of Ag/ZnO Sub-Microparticles Deposited on Various Cellulose Surfaces

Authors: Lukas Munster, Pavel Bazant, Ivo Kuritka

Abstract:

Zinc oxide sub-micro particles and metallic silver nano particles (Ag/ZnO) were deposited on micro crystalline cellulose surface by a fast, simple and environmentally friendly one-pot microwave assisted solvo thermal synthesis in an open vessel system equipped with an external reflux cooler. In order to increase the interaction between the surface of cellulose and the precipitated Ag/ZnO particles, oxidized form of cellulose (cellulose dialdehyde, DAC) prepared by periodate oxidation of micro crystalline cellulose was added to the reaction mixture of Ag/ZnO particle precursors and untreated micro crystalline cellulose. The structure and morphology of prepared hybrid powder materials were analysed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy dispersive analysis (EDX), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and nitrogen absorption method (BET). Microscopic analysis of the prepared materials treated by ultra-sonication showed that Ag/ZnO particles deposited on the cellulose/DAC sample exhibit increased adhesion to the surface of the cellulose substrate which can be explained by the DAC adhesive effect in comparison with the material prepared without DAC addition.

Keywords: microcrystalline cellulose, microwave synthesis, silver nanoparticles, zinc oxide sub-microparticles, cellulose dialdehyde

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25 Metal-Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) Process Investigation for Co Thin Film as a TSV Alternative Seed Layer

Authors: Sajjad Esmaeili, Robert Krause, Lukas Gerlich, Alireza Mohammadian Kia, Benjamin Uhlig

Abstract:

This investigation aims to develop the feasible and qualitative process parameters for the thin films fabrication into ultra-large through-silicon-vias (TSVs) as vertical interconnections. The focus of the study is on TSV metallization and its challenges employing new materials for the purpose of rapid signal propagation in the microsystems technology. Cobalt metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (Co-MOCVD) process enables manufacturing an adhesive and excellent conformal ultra-thin film all the way through TSVs in comparison with the conventional non-conformal physical vapor deposition (PVD) process of copper (Cu) seed layer. Therefore, this process provides a Cu seed-free layer which is capable of direct Cu electrochemical deposition (Cu-ECD) on top of it. The main challenge of this metallization module is to achieve the proper alternative seed layer with less roughness, sheet resistance and granular organic contamination (e.g. carbon) which intensify the Co corrosion under the influence of Cu electrolyte.

Keywords: Cobalt MOCVD, direct Cu electrochemical deposition (ECD), metallization technology, through-silicon-via (TSV)

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24 The Effectiveness of Herbal Capsules Ethanol Extract of Celery (Apium graveolens L.) and Bulb of Garlic (Allium sativum L.) in Lowering Total Cholesterol Levels in Patients with Hypercholesterolemia

Authors: Anton Bahtiar, Lukas Tjandra Leksana, Fransiscus D. Suyatna

Abstract:

Hypercholesterolemia is one of the major risk factors that can trigger the development of cardiovascular disease, especially coronary heart disease. One of the traditional drugs used for hypercholesterolemia is a combination of herbs celery (Apium graveolens) and garlic (Allium sativum). This study aimed to investigate the effects of the extract on lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Subjects consisted of patients with traditional medicine clinic in Jakarta. Each subject received treatment capsules containing herbal extract and placebo capsules. On the 44 subjects, the lipid profile was examined blood levels of total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Paired two-tailed t-test was used for the difference between lipid profile of the therapy group and the placebo group. The changes in the lipid profile between the treatment groups and the placebo group for total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides was 14,82 ± 6,946;1.45 ± 2,945;6,98 ± 8,105;2,48 ± 6,504 mg/dL. The herbal extract decrease blood cholesterol and LDL levels significantly (P <0.05).

Keywords: Allium sativum, Apium graveolens, hypercholesterolemia, cholesterol, HDL, LDL

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23 Human LACE1 Functions Pro-Apoptotic and Interacts with Mitochondrial YME1L Protease

Authors: Lukas Stiburek, Jana Cesnekova, Josef Houstek, Jiri Zeman

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Cellular function depends on mitochondrial function and integrity that is therefore maintained by several classes of proteins possessing chaperone and/or proteolytic activities. In this work, we focused on characterization of LACE1 (lactation elevated 1) function in mitochondrial protein homeostasis maintenance. LACE1 is the human homologue of yeast mitochondrial Afg1 ATPase, a member of SEC18-NSF, PAS1, CDC48-VCP, TBP family. Yeast Afg1 was shown to be involved in mitochondrial complex IV biogenesis, and based on its similarity with CDC48 (p97/VCP) it was suggested to facilitate extraction of polytopic membrane proteins. Here we show that LACE1, which is a mitochondrial integral membrane protein, exists as part of three complexes of approx. 140, 400 and 500 kDa and is essential for maintenance of fused mitochondrial reticulum and lamellar cristae morphology. Using affinity purification of LACE1-FLAG expressed in LACE1 knockdown background we show that the protein physically interacts with mitochondrial inner membrane protease YME1L. We further show that human LACE1 exhibits significant pro-apoptotic activity and that the protein is required for normal function of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Thus, our work establishes LACE1 as a novel factor with the crucial role in mitochondrial homeostasis maintenance.

Keywords: LACE1, mitochondria, apoptosis, protease

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22 Heterodimetallic Ferrocenyl Dithiophosphonate Complexes of Nickel(II), Zinc(II) and Cadmium(II) as High Efficiency Co-Sensitizers in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Authors: Tomilola J. Ajayi, Moses Ollengo, Lukas le Roux, Michael N. Pillay, Richard J. Staples, Shannon M. Biros Werner E. van Zyl

Abstract:

The formation, characterization, and dye-sensitized solar cell application of nickel(II), zinc(II) and cadmium(II) ferrocenyl dithiophosphonate complexes were investigated. The multidentate monoanionic ligand [S₂PFc(OH)]¯ (L1) was synthesized from the reaction between ferrocenyl Lawesson’s reagent, [FcP(=S)μ-S]₂ (FcLR), (Fc = ferrocenyl) and water. Ligand L1 could potentially coordinate to metal centers through the S, S’ and O donor atoms. The reaction between metal salt precursors and L1 produced a Ni(II) complex of the type [Ni{S₂P(Fc)(OH)}₂] (1) (molar ratio 1:2), a tetranickel (II) complex of the type [Ni₂{S₂OP(Fc)}₂]₂ (2) (molar ratio (1:1), as well as a Zn(II) complex [Zn{S₂P(Fc)(OH)}₂]₂ (3), and a Cd(II) complex [Cd{S₂P(Fc)(OH)}₂]₂ (4). Complexes 1-4 were characterized by 1H and 31P NMR and FT-IR, and complexes 1 and 2 were additionally analysed by X-Ray crystallography. After co-sensitization, the DSSCs were characterized using UV-Vis, cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and photovoltaic measurements (I-V curves). Overall finding shows that co-sensitization of our compounds with ruthenium dye N719 resulted in a better overall solar conversion efficiency than only pure N719 dye under the same experimental conditions. In conclusion, we report the first examples of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) co-sensitized with ferrocenyl dithiophosphonate complexes.

Keywords: dithiophosphonate, dye sensitized solar cell, co-sensitization, solar efficiency

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21 Mineral Nitrogen Retention, Nitrogen Availability and Plant Growth in the Soil Influenced by Addition of Organic and Mineral Fertilizers: Lysimetric Experiment

Authors: Lukáš Plošek, Jaroslav Hynšt, Jaroslav Záhora, Jakub Elbl, Antonín Kintl, Ivana Charousová, Silvia Kovácsová

Abstract:

Compost can influence soil fertility and plant health. At the same time compost can play an important role in the nitrogen cycle and it can influence leaching of mineral nitrogen from soil to underground water. This paper deals with the influence of compost addition and mineral nitrogen fertilizer on leaching of mineral nitrogen, nitrogen availability in microbial biomass and plant biomass production in the lysimetric experiment. Twenty-one lysimeters were filed with topsoil and subsoil collected in the area of protection zone of underground source of drinking water - Březová nad Svitavou. The highest leaching of mineral nitrogen was detected in the variant fertilized only mineral nitrogen fertilizer (624.58 mg m-2), the lowest leaching was recorded in the variant with high addition of compost (315.51 mg m-2). On the other hand, losses of mineral nitrogen are not in connection with the losses of available form of nitrogen in microbial biomass. Because loss of mineral nitrogen was detected in variant with the least change in the availability of N in microbial biomass. The leaching of mineral nitrogen, yields as well as the results concerning nitrogen availability from the first year of long term experiment suggest that compost can positive influence the leaching of nitrogen into underground water.

Keywords: nitrogen, compost, biomass production, lysimeter

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20 Use of McCloskey/Mueller Satisfaction Scale in Evaluating Satisfaction with Working Conditions of Nurses in Slovakia

Authors: Vladimir Siska, Lukas Kober

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Introduction: The research deals with the work satisfaction of nurses working in healthcare institutions in the Slovak Republic, and factors influencing it. Employers should create working conditions that are consonant with the requirements of their employees and make the most of motivation strategies to help them answer to the employess' needs in concordance with various needs and motivation process theories. Methodology: In our research, we aimed to investigate the level of work satisfaction in nurses by carrying out a quantitative analysis using the standardized McCloskey/Mueller Satisfaction scale questionnaire. We used the descriptive positioning characteristics (average, median and variability, standard deviation, minimum and maximum) to process the collected data and, to verify our hypotheses; we employed the double-selection Student T-test, Mann-Whitney U test, and a one-way analysis of variance (One-way ANOVA). Results: Nurses´satisfaction with external rewards is influenced by their age, years of experience, and level of completed education, with all of the abovementioned factors also impacting on the nurses' satisfaction with their work schedule. The type of founding authority of the healthcare institution also constitutes an influence on the nurses' satisfaction concerning relationships in the workplace. Conclusion: The feelling of work dissatisfaction can influence employees in many ways, e.g., it can take the form of burn-out syndrome, absenteeism, or increased fluctuation. Therefore, it is important to pay increased attention to all employees of an organisation, regardless of their position.

Keywords: motivation, nurse, work satisfaction, McCloskey/Mueller satisfaction scale

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19 Structural, Magnetic, Dielectric and Electrical Properties of Gd3+ Doped Cobalt Ferrite Nanoparticles

Authors: Raghvendra Singh Yadav, Ivo Kuřitka, Jarmila Vilcakova, Jaromir Havlica, Lukas Kalina, Pavel Urbánek, Michal Machovsky, Milan Masař, Martin Holek

Abstract:

In this work, CoFe₂₋ₓGdₓO₄ (x=0.00, 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, 0.20) spinel ferrite nanoparticles are synthesized by sonochemical method. The structural properties and cation distribution are investigated using X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Raman Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The morphology and elemental analysis are screened using field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, respectively. The particle size measured by FE-SEM and XRD analysis confirm the formation of nanoparticles in the range of 7-10 nm. The electrical properties show that the Gd³⁺ doped cobalt ferrite (CoFe₂₋ₓGdₓO₄; x= 0.20) exhibit enhanced dielectric constant (277 at 100 Hz) and ac conductivity (20.17 x 10⁻⁹ S/cm at 100 Hz). The complex impedance measurement study reveals that as Gd³⁺ doping concentration increases, the impedance Z’ and Z’ ’ decreases. The influence of Gd³⁺ doping in cobalt ferrite nanoparticles on the magnetic property is examined by using vibrating sample magnetometer. Magnetic property measurement reveal that the coercivity decreases with Gd³⁺ substitution from 234.32 Oe (x=0.00) to 12.60 Oe (x=0.05) and further increases from 12.60 Oe (x=0.05) to 68.62 Oe (x=0.20). The saturation magnetization decreases with Gd³⁺ substitution from 40.19 emu/g (x=0.00) to 21.58 emu/g (x=0.20). This decrease follows the three-sublattice model suggested by Yafet-Kittel (Y-K). The Y-K angle increases with the increase of Gd³⁺ doping in cobalt ferrite nanoparticles.

Keywords: sonochemical method, nanoparticles, magnetic property, dielectric property, electrical property

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18 Structural and Magnetic Properties of CoFe2O4:Nd3+/Dy3+/Pr3+/Gd3+ Nanoparticles Synthesized by Starch-Assisted Sol-Gel Auto-Combustion Method and Annealing Effect

Authors: Raghvendra Singh Yadav, Ivo Kuřitka, Jaromir Havlica, Zuzana Kozakova, Jiri Masilko, Lukas Kalina, Miroslava Hajdúchová, Vojtěch Enev, Jaromir Wasserbauer

Abstract:

In this work, we investigated the structural and magnetic properties of CoFe2O4:Nd3+/Dy3+/Pr3+/Gd3+ nanoparticles synthesized by starch-assisted sol-gel combustion method. X-ray diffraction pattern confirmed the formation of cubic spinel structure of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) doped CoFe2O4 spinel ferrite nanoparticles. Raman and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy study also confirmed cubic spinel structure of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) substituted CoFe2O4 nanoparticles. The field emission scanning electron microscopy study revealed the effect of annealing temperature on size of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) substituted CoFe2O4 nanoparticles and particles were in the range of 10-100 nm. The magnetic properties of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) substituted CoFe2O4 nanoparticles were investigated by using vibrating sample magnetometer. The variation in saturation magnetization, coercivity and remanent magnetization with annealing temperature/ particle size of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) substituted CoFe2O4 nanoparticles was observed. Acknowledgment: This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic – Program NPU I (LO1504).

Keywords: starch, sol-gel combustion method, rare-earth ions, spinel ferrite nanoparticles, magnetic properties

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17 Comparing Machine Learning Estimation of Fuel Consumption of Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Authors: Victor Bodell, Lukas Ekstrom, Somayeh Aghanavesi

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Fuel consumption (FC) is one of the key factors in determining expenses of operating a heavy-duty vehicle. A customer may therefore request an estimate of the FC of a desired vehicle. The modular design of heavy-duty vehicles allows their construction by specifying the building blocks, such as gear box, engine and chassis type. If the combination of building blocks is unprecedented, it is unfeasible to measure the FC, since this would first r equire the construction of the vehicle. This paper proposes a machine learning approach to predict FC. This study uses around 40,000 vehicles specific and o perational e nvironmental c onditions i nformation, such as road slopes and driver profiles. A ll v ehicles h ave d iesel engines and a mileage of more than 20,000 km. The data is used to investigate the accuracy of machine learning algorithms Linear regression (LR), K-nearest neighbor (KNN) and Artificial n eural n etworks (ANN) in predicting fuel consumption for heavy-duty vehicles. Performance of the algorithms is evaluated by reporting the prediction error on both simulated data and operational measurements. The performance of the algorithms is compared using nested cross-validation and statistical hypothesis testing. The statistical evaluation procedure finds that ANNs have the lowest prediction error compared to LR and KNN in estimating fuel consumption on both simulated and operational data. The models have a mean relative prediction error of 0.3% on simulated data, and 4.2% on operational data.

Keywords: artificial neural networks, fuel consumption, friedman test, machine learning, statistical hypothesis testing

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16 High Performance Wood Shear Walls and Dissipative Anchors for Damage Limitation

Authors: Vera Wilden, Benno Hoffmeister, Georgios Balaskas, Lukas Rauber, Burkhard Walter

Abstract:

Light-weight timber frame elements represent an efficient structural solution for wooden multistory buildings. The wall elements of such buildings – which act as shear diaphragms- provide lateral stiffness and resistance to wind and seismic loads. The tendency towards multi-story structures leads to challenges regarding the prediction of stiffness, strength and ductility of the buildings. Lightweight timber frame elements are built up of several structural parts (sheeting, fasteners, frame, support and anchorages); each of them contributing to the dynamic response of the structure. This contribution describes the experimental and numerical investigation and development of enhanced lightweight timber frame buildings. These developments comprise high-performance timber frame walls with the variable arrangements of sheathing planes and dissipative anchors at the base of the timber buildings, which reduce damages to the timber structure and can be exchanged after significant earthquakes. In order to prove the performance of the developed elements in the context of a real building a full-scale two-story building core was designed and erected in the laboratory and tested experimentally for its seismic performance. The results of the tests and a comparison of the test results to the predicted behavior are presented. Observation during the test also reveals some aspects of the design and details which need to consider in the application of the timber walls in the context of the complete building.

Keywords: dissipative anchoring, full scale test, push-over-test, wood shear walls

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15 Effects of Drought on Microbial Activity in Rhizosphere, Soil Hydrophobicity and Leaching of Mineral Nitrogen from Arable Soil Depending on Method of Fertilization

Authors: Jakub Elbl, Lukáš Plošek, Antonín Kintl, Jaroslav Hynšt, Soňa Javoreková, Jaroslav Záhora, Libor Kalhotka, Olga Urbánková, Ivana Charousová

Abstract:

This work presents the first results from the long-term laboratory experiment dealing with impact of drought on soil properties. Three groups of the treatment (A, B and C) with different regime of irrigation were prepared. The soil water content was maintained at 70 % of soil water holding capacity in group A, at 40 % in group B. In group C, soil water regime was maintained in the range of wilting point. Each group of the experiment was divided into three variants (A1 = B1, C1; A2 = B2, C2 etc.) with three repetitions: Variants A1 (B1, C1) were controls without addition of another fertilizer. Variants A2 (B2, C2) were fertilized with mineral nitrogen fertilizer DAM 390 (0.140 Mg of N per ha) and variants A3 (B3, C3) contained 45 g of Cp per a pot. The significant differences (ANOVA, P<0.05) in the leaching of mineral nitrogen and values of saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) were found. The highest values of Ksat were found in variants (within each group) with addition of compost (A3, B3, C3). Conversely, the lowest values of Ksat were found in variants with addition of mineral nitrogen. Low values of Ksat indicate an increased level of hydrophobicity in individual groups of the experiment. Moreover, all variants with compost addition showed lower amount of mineral nitrogen leaching and high level of microbial activity than variants without. This decrease of mineral nitrogen leaching was about 200 % in comparison with the control variant and about 300 % with variant, where mineral nitrogen was added. Based on these results, we can conclude that changes of soil water content directly have impact on microbial activity, soil hydrophobicity and loss of mineral nitrogen from the soil.

Keywords: drought, microbial activity, mineral nitrogen, soil hydrophobicity

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14 In Situ Volume Imaging of Cleared Mice Seminiferous Tubules Opens New Window to Study Spermatogenic Process in 3D

Authors: Lukas Ded

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Studying the tissue structure and histogenesis in the natural, 3D context is challenging but highly beneficial process. Contrary to classical approach of the physical tissue sectioning and subsequent imaging, it enables to study the relationships of individual cellular and histological structures in their native context. Recent developments in the tissue clearing approaches and microscopic volume imaging/data processing enable the application of these methods also in the areas of developmental and reproductive biology. Here, using the CLARITY tissue procedure and 3D confocal volume imaging we optimized the protocol for clearing, staining and imaging of the mice seminiferous tubules isolated from the testes without cardiac perfusion procedure. Our approach enables the high magnification and fine resolution axial imaging of the whole diameter of the seminiferous tubules with possible unlimited lateral length imaging. Hence, the large continuous pieces of the seminiferous tubule can be scanned and digitally reconstructed for the study of the single tubule seminiferous stages using nuclear dyes. Furthermore, the application of the antibodies and various molecular dyes can be used for molecular labeling of individual cellular and subcellular structures and resulting 3D images can highly increase our understanding of the spatiotemporal aspects of the seminiferous tubules development and sperm ultrastructure formation. Finally, our newly developed algorithms for 3D data processing enable the massive parallel processing of the large amount of individual cell and tissue fluorescent signatures and building the robust spermatogenic models under physiological and pathological conditions.

Keywords: CLARITY, spermatogenesis, testis, tissue clearing, volume imaging

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13 Protective Coating Layers via Phosphazene Compounds for Stabilizing Silicon Anode Materials

Authors: Adjmal Ghaur, Christoph Peschel, Iris Dienwiebel, Lukas Haneke, Leilei Du , Laurin Profanter, Tobias Placke, Martin Winter

Abstract:

In recent years, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs)are widely used in electric vehicles (EVs) and mobile energy storage devices (ESDs), which has led to higher requirements for energy density. To fulfill these requirements, tremendous attention has been paid to design advanced LIBs with various siliconactive materials as alternative negative electrodes to replace graphite (372 mAh g⁻¹)due to their high theoretical gravimetric capacity (4200mAh g⁻¹). However, silicon as potential anode material suffers from huge volume changes during charging and discharging and has poor electronicconductivity which negatively impacts the long-term performance and preventshigh silicon contents from practical application. Additionally, an unstable crystalline silicon structure tends to pulverization during the (de)lithiation process. To compensate for the volume changes, alleviate pulverization, and maintain high electronicconductivity, silicon-doped graphite composites with protecting coating layers are a promising approach. In this context, phosphazene compounds are investigated concerning their silicon protecting properties in silicon-doped graphite composites. In detail, electrochemical performance measurements in pouch full-cells(NCM523||SiOx/C), supressing gas formation properties, and post-mortem analyzes were carried out to characterize phosphazene compounds as additive materials. The introduction of the dual-additive approach in state-of-the-art electrolytes leads to synergistic effects between FEC and phosphazene compounds which accelerate the durability of silicon particles and results in enhanced electrochemical performance.

Keywords: silicon, phosphazene, solid electrolyte interphase, electrolyte, gasmeasurements

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12 Description of the Process Which Determine the Criterion Validity of Semi-Structured Interview PARA-SCI.CZ

Authors: Jarmila Štěpánová, Martin Kudláček, Lukáš Jakubec

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The people with spinal cord injury are one of the least sport active members of our society. Their hypoactivity is determined by primary injury, i.e., the loss of motor function, the injured part of the body is connected with health complications and social handicap. Study performs one part of the standardization process of semi-structured interview PARA-SCI.CZ (Czech version of the Physical Activity Recall Assessment for People with Spinal Cord Injury), which measures the type, frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity of people with spinal cord injury. The study focused on persons with paraplegia who use a wheelchair as their primary mode of mobility. The aim of this study was to perform a process to determine the criterion validity of PARA-SCI.CZ. The actual physical activity of wheelchair users was monitored during three days by using accelerometers Actigraph GT3X fixed on the non-dominant wrist, and semi-structured interview PARA-SCI.CZ. During the PARA-SCI.CZ interview, participants were asked to recall activities they had done over the past 3 days, starting with the previous day. PARA-SCI.CZ captured frequency, duration, and intensity (low, moderate, and heavy) of two categories of physical activity (leisure time physical activity and activities of a usual day). Accelerometer Actigraph GT3X captured duration and intensity (low and moderate + heavy) of physical activity during three days and nights. The study presented three potential recalculations of measured data. Standardization process of PARA-SCI.CZ is essential to critically approach issues of health and active lifestyle of persons with spinal cord injury in the Czech Republic. Standardized PARA-SCI.CZ can be used in practice by physiotherapists and sports pedagogues from the field of adapted physical activities.

Keywords: physical activity, lifestyle, paraplegia, semi-structure interview, accelerometer

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11 The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Nursing Workforce in Slovakia

Authors: Lukas Kober, Vladimir Littva, Vladimir Siska

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The pandemic has had a significant impact on our lives. One of the most affected professions is the nursing profession. Nurses are closest to the patient, spend the most time with him, support him, often replace the closest family members, and of course, are part of the whole treatment process. Current nurses have more competencies and roles than in the past. The healthcare system has reached a turning point, also in connection with the spreading Delta variant and the risk of the arrival of the third wave. The lack of nurses is a long-term problem, but it did not arise by itself. The reasons for the departure of nurses from the health care system are not only due to the increasing average age of nurses and midwives in Slovakia and their retirement. Thousands of nurses are leaving due to poor working conditions, low wages, and poor management of individual workplaces. We need to keep older nurses in the health care system, otherwise, we risk their early departure. The pandemic only exacerbates this situation, and the associated risks, such as occupational infections or enormous overload and exhaustion, only accelerate the exit from the profession. According to current data from the register of nurses and midwives, we canceled 772 registrations from January to September 2021, and 584 nurses requested the suspension of registration due to non-performance of the profession. During the same period, we registered only 240 new nurses graduate. We have had this significant disparity here for a long time. For the whole of 2020, we canceled 911 registrations and suspended 973 registrations. We registered a total of 389 graduates. Our system loses hundreds of graduates a year and loses experienced nurses with decades of experience who leave due to poor working conditions, wages and suffer from burnout. Such compensation should also be awarded to the families of health professionals who have lost their lives due to work and to COVID-19. These options can also be motivating for promising people interested in studying nursing, who can gradually replace the missing workforce. This purchase is supported by the KEGA project no. 015KU-4/2019.

Keywords: pandemic, COVID-19, nursing, nursing workforce, lack of nurses

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10 Companies and Transplant Tourists to China

Authors: Pavel Porubiak, Lukas Kudlacek

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Introduction Transplant tourism is a controversial method of obtaining an organ, and that goes all the more for a country such as China, where sources of evidence point out to the possibility of organs being harvested illegally. This research aimed at listing the individual countries these tourists come from, or which medical companies sell transplant related products in there, with China being used as an example. Materials and methods The methodology of scoping study was used for both parts of the research. The countries from which transplant tourists come to China were identified by a search through existing medical studies in the NCBI PubMed database, listed under the keyword ‘transplantation in China’. The search was not limited by any other criteria, but only the studies available for free – directly on PubMed or a linked source – were used. Other research studies on this topic were considered as well. The companies were identified through multiple methods. The first was an online search focused on medical companies and their products. The Bloomberg Service, used by stock brokers worldwide, was then used to identify the revenue of these companies in individual countries – if data were available – as well as their business presence in China. A search through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was done in the same way. Also a search on the Chinese internet was done, and to obtain more results, a second online search was done as well. The results and discussion The extensive search has identified 14 countries with transplant tourists to China. The search for a similar studies or reports resulted in finding additional six countries. The companies identified by our research also amounted to 20. Eight of them are sourcing China with organ preservation products – of which one is just trying to enter the Chinese market, six with immunosuppressive drugs, four with transplant diagnostics, one with medical robots which Chinese doctors use for transplantation as well, and another one trying to enter the Chinese market with a consumable-type product also related to transplantation. The conclusion The question of the ethicality of transplant tourism may be very pressing, since as the research shows, just the sheer amount of participating countries, sourcing transplant tourists to another one, amounts to 20. The identified companies are facing risks due to the nature of transplantation business in China, as officially executed prisoners are used as sources, and widely cited pieces of evidence point out to illegal organ harvesting. Similar risks and ethical questions are also relevant to the countries sourcing the transplant tourists to China.

Keywords: China, illegal organ harvesting, transplant tourism, organ harvesting technology

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9 Investigation of Poly P-Dioxanone as Promising Biodegradable Polymer for Short-Term Medical Application

Authors: Stefanie Ficht, Lukas Schübel, Magdalena Kleybolte, Markus Eblenkamp, Jana Steger, Dirk Wilhelm, Petra Mela

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Although 3D printing as transformative technology has become of increasing interest in the medical field and the demand for biodegradable polymers has developed to a considerable extent, there are only a few additively manufactured, biodegradable implants on the market. Additionally, the sterilization of such implants and its side effects on degradation have still not been sufficiently studied. Within this work, thermosensitive poly p-dioxanone (PPDO) samples were printed with fused filament fabrication (FFF) and investigated. Subsequently, H₂O₂ plasma and gamma radiation were used as low-temperature sterilization techniques and compared among each other and the control group (no sterilization). In order to assess the effect of different sterilization on the degradation behavior of PPDO, the samples were immersed in phosphate-buffered solution (PBS) over 28 days, and surface morphology, thermal properties, molecular weight, inherent viscosity, and mechanical properties were examined at regular time intervals. The study demonstrates that PPDO was printed with great success and that thermal properties, molecular weight (Mw), and inherent viscosity (IV) were not significantly affected by the printing process itself. H₂O₂ plasma sterilization did not significantly harm the thermosensitive polymer, while gamma radiation lowered IV and Mw statistically significantly compared to the control group (p < 0.001). During immersion in PBS, a decrease in Mw and mechanical strength occurred for all samples. However, gamma sterilized samples were affected to a much higher extent compared to the two other sample groups both in final values and timeline. This was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy showing no changes of surface morphology of (non-sterilized) control samples, first microcracks appearing on plasma sterilized samples after two weeks while being present on gamma sterilized samples already immediately after radiation to then further deteriorate over immersion duration. To conclude, we demonstrated that FFF and H₂O₂ plasma sterilization are well suited for processing thermosensitive, biodegradable polymers used for the development of innovative short-term medical applications.

Keywords: additive manufacturing, sterilization, biodegradable, thermosensitive, medical application

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8 Influence of Genotype, Explant, and Hormone Treatment on Agrobacterium-Transformation Success in Salix Callus Culture

Authors: Lukas J. Evans, Danilo D. Fernando

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Shrub willows (Salix spp.) have many characteristics which make them suitable for a variety of applications such as riparian zone buffers, environmental contaminant sequestration, living snow fences, and biofuel production. In some cases, these functions are limited due to physical or financial obstacles associated with the number of individuals needed to reasonably satisfy that purpose. One way to increase the efficiency of willows is to bioengineer them with the genetic improvements suitable for the desired use. To accomplish this goal, an optimized in vitro transformation protocol via Agrobacterium tumefaciens is necessary to reliably express genes of interest. Therefore, the aim of this study is to observe the influence of tissue culture with different willow cultivars, hormones, and explants on the percentage of calli expressing reporter gene green florescent protein (GFP) to find ideal transformation conditions. Each callus was produced from 1 month old open-pollinated seedlings of three Salix miyabeana cultivars (‘SX61’, ‘WT1’, and ‘WT2’) from three different explants (lamina, petiole, and internodes). Explants were cultured for 1 month on an MS media with different concentrations of 6-Benzylaminopurine (BAP) and 1-Naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) (No hormones, 1 mg⁻¹L BAP only, 3 mg⁻¹L NAA only, 1 mg⁻¹L BAP and 3 mg⁻¹L NAA, and 3 mg⁻¹L BAP and 1 mg⁻¹L NAA) to produce a callus. Samples were then treated with Agrobacterium tumefaciens at an OD600 of 0.6-0.8 to insert the transgene GFP for 30 minutes, co-cultivated for 72 hours, and selected on the same media type they were cultured on with added 7.5 mg⁻¹L of Hygromycin for 1 week before GFP visualization under a UV dissecting scope. Percentage of GFP expressing calli as well as the average number of fluorescing GFP units per callus were recorded and results were evaluated through an ANOVA test (α = 0.05). The WT1 internode-derived calli on media with 3 mg-1L NAA+1 mg⁻¹L BAP and mg⁻¹L BAP alone produced a significantly higher percentage of GFP expressing calli than each other group (19.1% and 19.4%, respectively). Additionally, The WT1 internode group cultured with 3 mg⁻¹L NAA+1 mg⁻¹L BAP produced an average of 2.89 GFP units per callus while the group cultivated with 1 mg⁻¹L BAP produced an average of 0.84 GFP units per callus. In conclusion, genotype, explant choice, and hormones all play a significant role in increasing successful transformation in willows. Future studies to produce whole callus GFP expression and subsequent plantlet regeneration are necessary for a complete willow transformation protocol.

Keywords: agrobacterium, callus, Salix, tissue culture

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7 Predicting Recessions with Bivariate Dynamic Probit Model: The Czech and German Case

Authors: Lukas Reznak, Maria Reznakova

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Recession of an economy has a profound negative effect on all involved stakeholders. It follows that timely prediction of recessions has been of utmost interest both in the theoretical research and in practical macroeconomic modelling. Current mainstream of recession prediction is based on standard OLS models of continuous GDP using macroeconomic data. This approach is not suitable for two reasons: the standard continuous models are proving to be obsolete and the macroeconomic data are unreliable, often revised many years retroactively. The aim of the paper is to explore a different branch of recession forecasting research theory and verify the findings on real data of the Czech Republic and Germany. In the paper, the authors present a family of discrete choice probit models with parameters estimated by the method of maximum likelihood. In the basic form, the probits model a univariate series of recessions and expansions in the economic cycle for a given country. The majority of the paper deals with more complex model structures, namely dynamic and bivariate extensions. The dynamic structure models the autoregressive nature of recessions, taking into consideration previous economic activity to predict the development in subsequent periods. Bivariate extensions utilize information from a foreign economy by incorporating correlation of error terms and thus modelling the dependencies of the two countries. Bivariate models predict a bivariate time series of economic states in both economies and thus enhance the predictive performance. A vital enabler of timely and successful recession forecasting are reliable and readily available data. Leading indicators, namely the yield curve and the stock market indices, represent an ideal data base, as the pieces of information is available in advance and do not undergo any retroactive revisions. As importantly, the combination of yield curve and stock market indices reflect a range of macroeconomic and financial market investors’ trends which influence the economic cycle. These theoretical approaches are applied on real data of Czech Republic and Germany. Two models for each country were identified – each for in-sample and out-of-sample predictive purposes. All four followed a bivariate structure, while three contained a dynamic component.

Keywords: bivariate probit, leading indicators, recession forecasting, Czech Republic, Germany

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6 The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on the Performance of Czech Industrial Enterprises

Authors: Maria Reznakova, Michala Strnadova, Lukas Reznak

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The global financial crisis that erupted in 2008 is associated mainly with the debt crisis. It quickly spread globally through financial markets, international banks and trade links, and affected many economic sectors. Measured by the index of the year-on-year change in GDP and industrial production, the consequences of the global financial crisis manifested themselves with some delay also in the Czech economy. This can be considered a result of the overwhelming export orientation of Czech industrial enterprises. These events offer an important opportunity to study how financial and macroeconomic instability affects corporate performance. Corporate performance factors have long been given considerable attention. It is therefore reasonable to ask whether the findings published in the past are also valid in the times of economic instability and subsequent recession. The decisive factor in effective corporate performance measurement is the existence of an appropriate system of indicators that are able to assess progress in achieving corporate goals. Performance measures may be based on non-financial as well as on financial information. In this paper, financial indicators are used in combination with other characteristics, such as the firm size and ownership structure. Financial performance is evaluated based on traditional performance indicators, namely, return on equity and return on assets, supplemented with indebtedness and current liquidity indices. As investments are a very important factor in corporate performance, their trends and importance were also investigated by looking at the ratio of investments to previous year’s sales and the rate of reinvested earnings. In addition to traditional financial performance indicators, the Economic Value Added was also used. Data used in the research were obtained from a questionnaire survey administered in industrial enterprises in the Czech Republic and from AMADEUS (Analyse Major Database from European Sources), from which accounting data of companies were obtained. Respondents were members of the companies’ senior management. Research results unequivocally confirmed that corporate performance dropped significantly in the 2010-2012 period, which can be considered a result of the global financial crisis and a subsequent economic recession. It was reflected mainly in the decreasing values of profitability indicators and the Economic Value Added. Although the total year-on-year indebtedness declined, intercompany indebtedness increased. This can be considered a result of impeded access of companies to bank loans due to the credit crunch. Comparison of the results obtained with the conclusions of previous research on a similar topic showed that the assumption that firms under foreign control achieved higher performance during the period investigated was not confirmed.

Keywords: corporate performance, foreign control, intercompany indebtedness, ratio of investment

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5 Social and Economic Aspects of Unlikely but Still Possible Welfare to Work Transitions from Long-Term Unemployed

Authors: Andreas Hirseland, Lukas Kerschbaumer

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In Germany, during the past years there constantly are about one million long term unemployed who did not benefit from the prospering labor market while most short term unemployed did. Instead, they are continuously dependent on welfare and sometimes precarious short-term employment, experiencing work poverty. Long term unemployment thus turns into a main obstacle to regular employment, especially if accompanied by other impediments such as low level education (school/vocational), poor health (especially chronical illness), advanced age (older than fifty), immigrant status, motherhood or engagement in care for other relatives. Almost two thirds of all welfare recipients have multiple impediments which hinder a successful transition from welfare back to sustainable and sufficient employment. Hiring them is often considered as an investment too risky for employers. Therefore formal application schemes based on formal qualification certificates and vocational biographies might reduce employers’ risks but at the same time are not helpful for long-term unemployed and welfare recipients. The panel survey ‘Labor market and social security’ (PASS; ~15,000 respondents in ~10,000 households), carried out by the Institute of Employment Research (the research institute of the German Federal Labor Agency), shows that their chance to get back to work tends to fall to nil. Only 66 cases of such unlikely transitions could be observed. In a sequential explanatory mixed-method study, the very scarce ‘success stories’ of unlikely transitions from long term unemployment to work were explored by qualitative inquiry – in-depth interviews with a focus on biography accompanied by qualitative network techniques in order to get a more detailed insight of relevant actors involved in the processes which promote the transition from being a welfare recipient to work. There is strong evidence that sustainable transitions are influenced by biographical resources like habits of network use, a set of informal skills and particularly a resilient way of dealing with obstacles, combined with contextual factors rather than by job-placement procedures promoted by Job-Centers according to activation rules or by following formal paths of application. On the employer’s side small and medium-sized enterprises are often found to give job opportunities to a wider variety of applicants, often based on a slow but steadily increasing relationship leading to employment. According to these results it is possible to show and discuss some limitations of (German) activation policies targeting welfare dependency and long-term unemployment. Based on these findings, indications for more supportive small scale measures in the field of labor-market policies are suggested to help long-term unemployed with multiple impediments to overcome their situation.

Keywords: against-all-odds, economic sociology, long-term unemployment, mixed-methods

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4 Threats to the Business Value: The Case of Mechanical Engineering Companies in the Czech Republic

Authors: Maria Reznakova, Michala Strnadova, Lukas Reznak

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Successful achievement of strategic goals requires an effective performance management system, i.e. determining the appropriate indicators measuring the rate of goal achievement. Assuming that the goal of the owners is to grow the assets they invested in, it is vital to identify the key performance indicators, which contribute to value creation. These indicators are known as value drivers. Based on the undertaken literature search, a value driver is defined as any factor that affects the value of an enterprise. The important factors are then monitored by both financial and non-financial indicators. Financial performance indicators are most useful in strategic management, since they indicate whether a company's strategy implementation and execution are contributing to bottom line improvement. Non-financial indicators are mainly used for short-term decisions. The identification of value drivers, however, is problematic for companies which are not publicly traded. Therefore financial ratios continue to be used to measure the performance of companies, despite their considerable criticism. The main drawback of such indicators is the fact that they are calculated based on accounting data, while accounting rules may differ considerably across different environments. For successful enterprise performance management it is vital to avoid factors that may reduce (or even destroy) its value. Among the known factors reducing the enterprise value are the lack of capital, lack of strategic management system and poor quality of production. In order to gain further insight into the topic, the paper presents results of the research identifying factors that adversely affect the performance of mechanical engineering enterprises in the Czech Republic. The research methodology focuses on both the qualitative and the quantitative aspect of the topic. The qualitative data were obtained from a questionnaire survey of the enterprises senior management, while the quantitative financial data were obtained from the Analysis Major Database for European Sources (AMADEUS). The questionnaire prompted managers to list factors which negatively affect business performance of their enterprises. The range of potential factors was based on a secondary research – analysis of previously undertaken questionnaire surveys and research of studies published in the scientific literature. The results of the survey were evaluated both in general, by average scores, and by detailed sub-analyses of additional criteria. These include the company specific characteristics, such as its size and ownership structure. The evaluation also included a comparison of the managers’ opinions and the performance of their enterprises – measured by return on equity and return on assets ratios. The comparisons were tested by a series of non-parametric tests of statistical significance. The results of the analyses show that the factors most detrimental to the enterprise performance include the incompetence of responsible employees and the disregard to the customers‘ requirements.

Keywords: business value, financial ratios, performance measurement, value drivers

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