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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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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

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

Im Focus: Electron cryo-microscopy: Using inexpensive technology to produce high-resolution images

Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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