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Better and faster machines through automation technology

There is hardly any industry that does not rely on machines. Machines with automation technology and test and measurement technology are used in the metal industry as well as by textile manufacturers.

No machines without automation technology

Automation technology allows machines to carry out certain work processes on their own. This saves the owner of the company not only time, but over the long term also money since fewer employees are needed. When machines employ a high level of automation technology, the degree of automation is perceptible. These processes still need people to monitor the machines and replenish the supplies. The finished products also have to be transported by hand. Automation technology achieves its goal more effectively through innovations that stem from electronics research. Although problems are solved much easier with automation technology, workers who monitor the machines face more difficult tasks. They must learn a variety of requirements by heart and always be in a position to intervene in the automation technology of the machines.

Even automation technology has its limits

The limits of automation technology were once readily apparent. Large machines were the only benefactors of automation technology and test and measurement technology. Automation technology can meanwhile be used inlarge, medium and small scale machines . Today, the limits of automation technology have more to do with whether the automation technology and test and measurement technology will pay off. If the automation technology is deployed to produce only a single component instead of thousands, then it becomes a question of the return on the investment.

Many things can be calculated and accomplished through test and measurement technology

In machines, test and measurement technology involves not only methods, but also equipment, which are used to determine a variety of values. With test and measurement technology, machine values such as pressure, length, time and temperature become visible and easy to understand.

Automation technology in machines - technologies that work hand in hand

Test and measurement technology would hardly function by itself in machine engineering were it not for control technology and automation technology. Production engineering is a good example of how test and measurement technology works alongside these other two technologies. That basically means that test and measurement technology is already being used together with automation technology in machine engineering.

Achieving the goal through various fields of test and measurement technology

Test and measurement technology involves not just one, but several interdependent fields. If engineers fail to enhance current test and measurement systems and methods, advances in test and measurement technology will come to a halt. Miniaturization, modeling and capturing methods are also helping to keep test and measurement methods on the leading edge. In the area of test and measurement technologies, especially test and measurement technology in machines, the focus is always on alignment and adjustment. When machines do not meet the desired goal, improperly calibrated test and measurement technology could be the cause. Test and measurement technology and machines are used together mainly in the area of production engineering. The underlying standards for test and measurement technology are not uniformly interpreted in every country. Germany, for instance, relies on the DIN 1913 standard, which sets the guidelines for test and measurement technology. In contrast, Austria uses OENORM M 1330, where the OE in front of the designator stands for Austria.

Automation technology is therefore a vital element of test and measurement technology and vice versa.

Machine Engineering

Machine engineering is one of Germany's key industries. The importance of this segment has led to the creation of new university degree programs in fields such as production and logistics, process engineering, vehicle/automotive engineering, production engineering and aerospace engineering among others.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles covering technologies such as automation, motion, power train, energy, conveyor, plastics, lightweight construction, logistics/warehousing, measurement systems, machine tools and control engineering.

Latest News:

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Recyclable lightweight single Component Composite Material developed for Injection-Molded Components

Polyethylene (PE) would be an ideal material for lightweight construction: energy-efficient, can be produced from renewable raw materials, almost residue-free recyclable. However, only PE components that are reinforced as composites for example with carbon or glass fibers are truly mechanically resilient. Scientists at the Fraunhofer IWM, MicroTribology Centrum µTC, together with the Freiburg Materials Research Centre and the polyolefin manufacturer LyondellBasell, have now produced and qualified a sustainable "All-PE composite". The trick is that the reinforcing fiber structures are also made of PE and even form themselves during injection molding.

The hydrocarbons polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) account for a good half of all polymers produced worldwide. PE can be found in many plastic products...

27.08.2019 | nachricht Read more

Under scrutiny: Automated induction thermography for surface crack testing of forgings

Within the framework of a project funded by the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen" AiF ("Consortium of Industrial Research Associations"), Fraunhofer IZFP scientists investigate the reliability of the automated application of the thermographic crack detection method: After positive validation, this technology is to find better acceptance as an alternative to the established magnetic particle inspection. Using this method, surface-related defects such as cracks in forged parts can be determined quickly, objectively and in a resource-saving manner while the results can be stored and documented in detail.

This study is intended to confirm the increased inspection reliability compared to current standard procedures. The resulting optimized economic efficiency of...

23.08.2019 | nachricht Read more

Innovative valve train saves 20% fuel

Up to now, the gas exchange valves of four-stroke engines are controlled through camshaft drives. Despite some complex additional mechanics, the flexibility of such camshaft driven system remains limited. Empa has now developed an innovative, electrohydraulically actuated valve train that enables completely free adjustment of stroke and timing, while at the same time being robust and cost-effective. This valve train was mounted on a serial production engine and has been running successfully in test bench operation for several months. The new technology saves up to 20 percent fuel in typical passenger car low load operating conditions.

The valve train is the "respiratory organ" of combustion engines: it manages the aspiration of fresh air and the discharge of exhaust gases, which is referred...

19.08.2019 | nachricht Read more

AddSteel project: new steel materials for 3D printing

North Rhine-Westphalia has launched the NRW Leitmarkt project AddSteel, which is aimed at digitalizing the steel industry. Coordinated by SMS group GmbH, a plant engineering company based in Mönchengladbach, this project will develop new function-adapted steel materials for additive manufacturing. One of the project’s key areas of focus is the qualification of the developed materials for laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), a metallic 3D printing process, at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen. One of the AddSteel project team’s first successes was the development of the first case-hardening and heat-treatable steel powders designed specifically for LPBF applications.

A major challenge facing steelmakers in Germany, and especially those in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, is the continuing decline in sales. Previously,...

26.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

Novel approach to self-assembling mobile micromachines

How the components come together depends on their design and shape and the resulting dielectrophoretic forces when exposed to an electric field.

Building a robot with many different components is a challenging task, even more so at the micro scale. Very convenient, if the parts self-assemble.

25.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Clean lungs thanks to laser process exhaustion

“CleanRemote” protects work environment against hazardous micro dust

In sectors such as the automotive industry, components can be processed at extremely high speed using the laser remote process. However, this can result in...

19.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Chemnitz University of Technology Tests a Driverless Transport System at KOMSA Logistics

The prototype “Hubert” was created as a part of a three-year project – a special feature of Hubert is a 3-D sensor that recognises people and thus makes it possible to collaborate beyond its usually autonomous operating mode

Central Germany is considered by many to be a region filled with inventors and tinkerers. On the way towards Industry 4.0, a new solution for the future has...

12.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Additive machines discover superalloys

Fraunhofer lighthouse project "futureAM" expected to speed up "additive manufacturing" by a factor ten

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden have developed innovative methods enabling more materials to be...

17.05.2019 | nachricht Read more

Fraunhofer scientists develop universally applicable broadband eddy current electronics

Current developments in the field of industry 4.0 such as the digitalization of production plants and processes provide massive new challenges to nondestructive inspection technologies. Fraunhofer IZFP scientists in Saarbrücken have developed a novel eddy current platform, which is able to operate currently necessary interfaces. As a consequence, the platform can easily be integrated into digitization concepts. As part of a multimodal electronics series, experts from this Saarland research institute present the inspECT-PRO eddy current platform at the 33rd Control in Stuttgart from 7 to 10 May 2019 (hall 6, booth 6301).

Due to the high degree of automation of the technology as well as the comprehensive range of potential applications nondestructive material and defect...

09.04.2019 | nachricht Read more

One third less consumption: Industry & research work together on fuel-efficient SI engines

In order to meet future CO2 limits, SI engine-driven vehicles must consume significantly less fuel. A new project of the Research Association for Internal Combustion Engines (FVV) is investigating how this can be achieved. The ambitious goal is to increase the efficiency of future spark-ignition engines to up to 50 per cent. At the same time, fuel consumption is to be reduced by around one third compared with today's fleet. The project is exploring new engine technologies in interaction with electrified powertrains and synthetic fuels.

“CO2 emissions from road transport must fall significantly in the next decade. It is essential that industry and science team up to meet this challenge “, says...

04.03.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Stevens team closes in on 'holy grail' of room temperature quantum computing chips

Photons interact on chip-based system with unprecedented efficiency

To process information, photons must interact. However, these tiny packets of light want nothing to do with each other, each passing by without altering the...

Im Focus: Happy hour for time-resolved crystallography

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.

The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.

Im Focus: Modular OLED light strips

At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.

Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...

Im Focus: Tomorrow´s coolants of choice

Scientists assess the potential of magnetic-cooling materials

Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....

Im Focus: The working of a molecular string phone

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.

This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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