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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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Super magnets from a 3D printer

Magnetic materials are an important component of mechatronic devices such as wind power stations, electric motors, sensors and magnetic switch systems. Magnets are usually produced using rare earths and conventional manufacturing methods. A team of researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has worked together with researchers from the Graz University of Technology, the University of Vienna and the research institution Joanneum Research to produce specially designed magnets using a 3D printer. The results were published in the journal Materials.

Permanent magnets are incorporated into a number of mechatronic applications.

05.03.2020 | nachricht Read more

Additively manufactured rocket engine features an aerospike nozzle for microlaunchers

Microlaunchers are an alternative to conventional launch vehicles. Able to carry payloads of up to 350 kilograms, these midsized transport systems are designed to launch small satellites into space. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden and TU Dresden’s aerospace experts developed an additively manufactured rocket engine with an aerospike nozzle for microlaunchers. The scaled metal prototype is expected to consume 30 percent less fuel than conventional engines. It will feature prominently at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 12 and in the showcase at booth C18 in hall 16 at the Hannover Messe from April 20 through 24, 2020.

The market for small satellites is sure to boom in the years ahead. The United Kingdom aims to build a spaceport in the north of Scotland, the first on...

12.02.2020 | nachricht Read more

Photonics meets textile engineering: faster CFRP component manufacturing with an ultrashort pulsed laser and robot

Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) components are usually assembled using fasteners. These are typically glued into the CFRP component once it has been cured and drilled. The consortium behind the CarboLase project came up with a new method, using an ultrashort pulsed laser to drill the holes for the fasteners in the textile preform with micrometer-scale accuracy. Integrating the fasteners in these high-precision cut-outs before the CFRP component is cured saves time by shortening the production process. In 2019, the project team’s efforts were rewarded with the prestigious CAMX Award in the “Combined Strength” category.

Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) are one of the most versatile composite construction materials. They combine the positive mechanical properties of...

30.01.2020 | nachricht Read more

Causes and consequences of manufacturing deviations

What causes manufacturing deviations, and how do they affect the quality of technical products? Since 2016, the research group FOR2271 ‘Process-oriented tolerance management with virtual assurance methods’ has been investigating these issues at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). The German Research Foundation (DFG) has now decided to provide FOR2271 with a total of 1.7 million euros in funding for a further three years.

Gear wheels, shafts, bearings – complex machines only work as well as their individual components. Accordingly, the definition of admissible manufacturing...

10.01.2020 | nachricht Read more

Casting-rolling line at TU Freiberg enables innovative magnesium components for lightweight construction

The researchers at the Institute for Metal Forming at the TU Freiberg are able to produce magnesium strips up to 70 centimetres wide with this unique prototype plant. These can be used to produce novel, lightweight magnesium components for the automotive industry or mechanical engineering.

As part of the AMARETO project (Saxon Alliance for Material and Resource Efficient Technologies), the Institute for Metal Forming (IMF) has now produced cast...

20.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

Fine-tuning for additive production

"COAXshield" and "LIsec": Fraunhofer IWS presents shielding gas nozzle and light scanner for laser powder build-up welding at "formnext" trade fair

Additive manufacturing systems can generate highly complex components, which could not be produced with conventional machine tools or only with great effort....

15.11.2019 | nachricht Read more

Efficient engine production with the latest generation of the LZH IBK

Aluminum engine blocks are significantly lighter than their conventional cast iron predecessors. However, in order to make them durable, the cylinder surfaces must be lined with a wear-resistant coating.

The internal processing laser head (IBK) developed by the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) can be used to prepare the inner surfaces of the cylinder. The IBK...

13.11.2019 | nachricht Read more

Magnets for the second dimension

If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it. What happens is that the magnets always arrange themselves in a column sticking out vertically from the magnetic board. Moreover, it's almost impossible to join several rows of these magnets together to form a flat surface. That's because magnets are dipolar. Equal poles repel each other, with the north pole of one magnet always attaching itself to the south pole of another and vice versa. This explains why they form a column with all the magnets aligned the same way.

Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have managed to create magnetic building blocks in the shape of cubes that - for the first time ever - can be joined together to...

12.11.2019 | nachricht Read more

Aachen becomes a center of excellence for optics production

Having established a center of excellence in Aachen, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT is now bringing together a network of companies and research institutes to create a new photonics hub in North Rhine-Westphalia. In the "Aachen Center for Optics Production", or ACOP for short, the Fraunhofer researchers are pooling their own expertise with that of the regional optical industry to jointly create a digital, networked infrastructure for optics production. Eleven companies have agreed to support the center in its work. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is funding the collaborative venture to the tune of 2.8 million euros over an initial period of three years.

Aachen has a long tradition as a center for the production of high-precision optical components and systems. The researchers at the Fraunhofer IPT have...

01.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

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
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

Im Focus: ILA Goes Digital – Automation & Production Technology for Adaptable Aircraft Production

Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...

Im Focus: AI monitoring of laser welding processes - X-ray vision and eavesdropping ensure quality

With an X-ray experiment at the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble (France), Empa researchers were able to demonstrate how well their real-time acoustic monitoring of laser weld seams works. With almost 90 percent reliability, they detected the formation of unwanted pores that impair the quality of weld seams. Thanks to a special evaluation method based on artificial intelligence (AI), the detection process is completed in just 70 milliseconds.

Laser welding is a process suitable for joining metals and thermoplastics. It has become particularly well established in highly automated production, for...

Im Focus: A structural light switch for magnetism

A research team from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure of Dynamics (MPSD) and the University of Oxford has managed to drive a prototypical antiferromagnet into a new magnetic state using terahertz frequency light. Their groundbreaking method produced an effect orders of magnitude larger than previously achieved, and on ultrafast time scales. The team’s work has just been published in Nature Physics.

Magnetic materials have been a mainstay in computing technology due to their ability to permanently store information in their magnetic state. Current...

Im Focus: Virtually Captured

Biomechanical analyses and computer simulations reveal the Venus flytrap snapping mechanisms

The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) takes only 100 milliseconds to trap its prey. Once their leaves, which have been transformed into snap traps, have...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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