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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.

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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

A sensor system learns to "hear": Reliable detection of failures in machines and systems

Researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP in Saarbrücken have developed a sensor system that can detect failures or imperfections in systems and machines quickly and reliably by means of an acoustic noise assessment similar to human hearing. The "hearing" sensor system AcoustiX has already been successfully deployed by John Deere, the American global market leader in the fields of agricultural engineering, to inspect the cutting units of combine harvesters.

In the event that large-scale machines or plants are already in operation, defects or defectively assembled components may result in malfunction of machines...

05.12.2018 | nachricht Read more

Thick metal sheets? Laser welding!

Especially for shipbuilding and other maritime applications, the further development of thick metal sheet welding is interesting. The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH), together with Held Systems Deutschland GmbH, Laserline GmbH and Meyer Werft GmbH & Co. KG, now wants to establish robust, pure laser welding processes for steel sheet thicknesses of up to 30 millimeters. For this purpose, diode laser beam sources are to be brought to peak performance.

The processes for joining maritime steel components have a great development potential in terms of production costs and productivity: the frequently used...

30.11.2018 | nachricht Read more

Optics and laser components out of the printer

Complete laser systems out of the 3D printer? What sounds like a long way off is the goal of a new research project of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) together with the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH), the Clausthaler Zentrum für Materialtechnik (CZM) and the Hochschule Hannover - University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HsH). They want to 3D print at least parts of a laser system. Because this manufacturing technology enables completely new approaches for the production of lasers and for the lighting industry.

The scientists of the innovation network GROTESK want to 3D print optics and optomechanical components made of different materials, such as glass, polymers and...

28.11.2018 | nachricht Read more

Integrating One’s Sights on the Factor of 10: “futureAM – Next Generation Additive Manufacturing”

The future of 3D printing will be the focus at formnext 2018 in Frankfurt am Main. For this, the Fraunhofer Focus Project futureAM offers particularly exciting insights, a project in which six Fraunhofer institutes are involved. The partners are doing both, comprehensively looking at digital and physical added value right from the order to the finished component; and at the leap into a new technology generation of additive manufacturing.

The complete process chain serves as the common theme

26.10.2018 | nachricht Read more

BladeFactory research project: Quicker rotor blade production and a higher quality result

Together with 14 project partners, Fraunhofer IWES, in the role of coordinator, launched the BladeFactory project at the beginning of October. The research project, which has been funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economics Affairs and Energy (BMWi) to the tune of € 7 million, is set to last 3.5 years. During this period, IWES researchers will develop and test production methods with the aim of reducing the production time for rotor blades. To this end, the team is working to parallelize production steps. In addition, a 3D laser measurement system, which is suitable for assuring the quality of blade production, will be tested for the first time.

Using the technology presently available, it takes around 24 hours to produce a rotor blade blank. The process is protracted since almost all production steps...

12.10.2018 | nachricht Read more

“TwoCure”: the New Dimension in Resin-Based 3D Printing

The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has taken its “TwoCure” process to the next level by developing it into an industry-ready machine technology. The team of scientists from Aachen, Germany will be presenting their “TwoCure” system at formnext in Frankfurt am Main from November 13 to 16. The new technique uses resin-based 3D printing to produce large numbers of plastic components without support structures in an automated process.

Sometimes systems have an inherent flaw that causes manufacturing difficulties. In the case of resin-based 3D printing, most users would immediately point to...

11.10.2018 | nachricht Read more

Additive Manufacturing: Budget-friendly retrofit of module for wire-based laser deposition welding

When economic or safety considerations rule out the use of powder materials in additive manufacturing, the option of wire-feed laser deposition welding resents itself. The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen has developed a smart laser module for wire deposition welding, which can easily be integrated within existing process chains, handling systems or machine tools. The engineers from Aachen will be unveiling the LMD-W-20-L module for the first time to the visitors from industry at Formnext, the Fair for Additive Technologies in Frankfurt/Main, Hall 3, Booth E70, 13-16 November 2018.

3D powder bed printing is currently the most well-known additive manufacturing process for filigree and complex metallic parts. A laser fuses the powdered...

05.10.2018 | nachricht Read more

More functionalities: Microstructuring large surfaces with a UV-laser system

Coherent operates a high-performance excimer laser system for processing large surfaces in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, Germany. Using the short-wave laser system, the partners aim to develop new methods for carefully controlled surface processing. Preparation of CFRP adhesive surfaces is just one example of the numerous potential applications.

In the last few years, the rapid growth in display manufacture for mobile devices has ushered in a considerable renaissance for excimer lasers. Operating in...

05.07.2018 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

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.

Im Focus: Milestones on the Way to the Nuclear Clock

Two research teams have succeeded simultaneously in measuring the long-sought Thorium nuclear transition, which enables extremely precise nuclear clocks. TU Wien (Vienna) is part of both teams.

If you want to build the most accurate clock in the world, you need something that "ticks" very fast and extremely precise. In an atomic clock, electrons are...

Im Focus: Graphene sets the stage for the next generation of THz astronomy detectors

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have demonstrated a detector made from graphene that could revolutionize the sensors used in next-generation space telescopes. The findings were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy.

Beyond superconductors, there are few materials that can fulfill the requirements needed for making ultra-sensitive and fast terahertz (THz) detectors for...

Im Focus: Physicists from Stuttgart prove the existence of a supersolid state of matte

A supersolid is a state of matter that can be described in simplified terms as being solid and liquid at the same time. In recent years, extensive efforts have been devoted to the detection of this exotic quantum matter. A research team led by Tilman Pfau and Tim Langen at the 5th Institute of Physics of the University of Stuttgart has succeeded in proving experimentally that the long-sought supersolid state of matter exists. The researchers report their results in Nature magazine.

In our everyday lives, we are familiar with matter existing in three different states: solid, liquid, or gas. However, if matter is cooled down to extremely...

Im Focus: World record for tandem perovskite-CIGS solar cell

A team headed by Prof. Steve Albrecht from the HZB will present a new world-record tandem solar cell at EU PVSEC, the world's largest international photovoltaic and solar energy conference and exhibition, in Marseille, France on September 11, 2019. This tandem solar cell combines the semiconducting materials perovskite and CIGS and achieves a certified efficiency of 23.26 per cent. One reason for this success lies in the cell’s intermediate layer of organic molecules: they self-organise to cover even rough semiconductor surfaces. Two patents have been filed for these layers.

Perovskite-based solar cells have experienced an incredibly rapid increase in efficiency over the last ten years. The combination of perovskites with classical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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