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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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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

Large bearing test bench starts continuous operation

Fraunhofer´s test bench for rotor blade bearings of up to 6.5 meters in diameter has been successfully commissioned at the institute’s Hamburg facility, paving the way for automated continuous operation. Manufacturers and operators stand to benefit, as the accelerated tests – simulating 20 years of service in six months of testing – will enable them to increase the reliability of large rolling bearings and develop new calculation methods and designs. What’s more, a bearing can be validated on the test bench long before it is installed in a wind turbine. The aim is to lower development costs and reduce yield loss in order to make it more economical to operate wind turbines up to 10 MW.

The noise of the seven hydraulic cylinders responsible for dynamic load application gives an impression of the force they transmit to the bearing. In...

28.02.2019 | nachricht Read more

Directly-cooled electric motor made from polymer materials

Making electric cars lighter also involves reducing the weight of the motor. One way to do that is by constructing it from fiber-reinforced polymer materials. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT are working together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT to develop a new cooling concept that will enable polymers to be used as motor housing materials. And that’s not the only advantage of the new cooling concept: it also significantly increases the power density and efficiency of the motor compared to the state of the art.

The two key components of an electric drive train are the electric motor and the battery. And there are three issues that play a particularly important role...

01.02.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: High-pressure scientists in Bayreuth discover promising material for information technology

Researchers at the University of Bayreuth have discovered an unusual material: When cooled down to two degrees Celsius, its crystal structure and electronic properties change abruptly and significantly. In this new state, the distances between iron atoms can be tailored with the help of light beams. This opens up intriguing possibilities for application in the field of information technology. The scientists have presented their discovery in the journal "Angewandte Chemie - International Edition". The new findings are the result of close cooperation with partnering facilities in Augsburg, Dresden, Hamburg, and Moscow.

The material is an unusual form of iron oxide with the formula Fe₅O₆. The researchers produced it at a pressure of 15 gigapascals in a high-pressure laboratory...

Im Focus: From China to the South Pole: Joining forces to solve the neutrino mass puzzle

Study by Mainz physicists indicates that the next generation of neutrino experiments may well find the answer to one of the most pressing issues in neutrino physics

Among the most exciting challenges in modern physics is the identification of the neutrino mass ordering. Physicists from the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA+ at...

Im Focus: Therapies without drugs

Fraunhofer researchers are investigating the potential of microimplants to stimulate nerve cells and treat chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. Find out what makes this form of treatment so appealing and which challenges the researchers still have to master.

A study by the Robert Koch Institute has found that one in four women will suffer from weak bladders at some point in their lives. Treatments of this condition...

Im Focus: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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