Monitoring of the production process

Industry 4.0 und Big Data are the driving force for innovations in the field of test and measurement technology. Big Data in particular will play a key role in the smart factories of the future. This means relocating the testing functionality from the lab to the actual production system. Fraunhofer IZFP is actively developing application scenarios and solutions to support such in-line testing systems for manufacturing environments.

Here the emphasis is on new production processes, which contain an inherent risk of developing new quality issues. The current development activities focus on applications such as press hardening, friction stir welding and other processes for manufacturing composite materials and material composites made from CFRP, aluminum, titanium and magnesium.

Because they can be quickly adapted to the changing requirements of mass customization, adaptive manufacturing processes are being deployed more often. To monitor these complex production processes, quality monitoring must be carried out in process and in situ. Fraunhofer IZFP is developing new inspection solutions to support these applications. Moreover, these new tasks and new challenges also call for new skills and know-how. With this in mind, Fraunhofer IZFP is collaborating with the Grundig Academy to design training courses covering new production processes such as press hardening and friction stir welding.

In the near future, "production-integrated inspection" will be used to generate a nearly real-time map of complete production processes by means of distributed, networked sensors. By combining test and measurement data with other production-related data, self-monitoring and self-optimizing production processes can then be implemented using machine learning techniques. Production-integrated inspection is thus closely linked to the issue of Big Data. Even today, Fraunhofer IZFP is developing intelligent monitoring and control systems based on data fusion for applications such as laser beam welding.

One consequence of Industry 4.0 is that quality assurance applications will continue to be more automated and connected. Innovative robots and autonomous systems can significantly expand the range of potential applications for production-integrated inspection. With this in mind, Fraunhofer IZFP relies on collaborating robots, because their utilization ensures reversibility during the transition from manual to automated inspection services while making it possible to minimize the development risks.



Adaptive Manufacturing Processes, Production Integration, Collaborating Robots, Press Hardening, Friction Stir Welding

Sensor Systems: Automatic Configuration and Planning Admissions

Machine-Material-Interaction: 3MA system integrated in the production line in order to monitor mechanical-technological material properties of steel strip during manufacturing

Robot-assisted inline-monitoring system for hardened and tempered steel strip

Continuously self-adjusting positioning of the sensor by robots based on sensor-own signal generation and signal processing

Continuous determination of hardness and residual stresses within the steel strip

Permanent readjustment of the process through independent extraction of relevant information by means of “cognitive sensor systems“

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Hardness, Case Depth, Yield Strength, Tensile Strength

Nondestructive Inspection pf Presshardened Body Parts using 3MA

Nondestructive Evaluation of Hardness and Residual Stress Depth Profiles of Valve Springs by 3MA

Surface Crack Inspection: Automated Thermography Inspection System for Railway Wheels

© Fraunhofer IZFP

Robot-assisted surface crack inspection in railroad wheels of high-speed trains by inductively excited thermography

Substitution of conventional magnetic particle inspection: Large-scale, fast, and imaging method

Nondestructive and automatable, can be integrated into existing processes

Objective/automatic defect detection even of covered (near-surface) defects by intelligent assessment algorithms

Contactless and couplant-free

Quantitative crack depth assessment

High-Frequency Ultrasonic Technology: Optimizing the Quality of Laser Welding Seams (Presshardened Steels)

© Fraunhofer IZFP
3d profile of a laser beam welding seam

Integration of the HF-ultrasonic inspection technology for a fast, efficient monitoring, documentation and optimization of the laser welding quality

Validation for determining all of the relevant quality characteristics (welding seam profile, existence and position of defects, etc.)

Detection of typical defects such as “false friends“, “seam collapse“ and “blow out“ as well as pores with a minimum diameter of approx. 0.2 millimeters

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Clinching: Offline and Online Measurement of the Wall Thickness in Clinched Joints

© Fraunhofer IZFP
Prototype system for offline determination of base thickness in clinched joints

For a fast quality monitoring of clinched joints, the eddy current method was refined

Combination of several eddy current frequencies

Disturbances such as sensor lifting from the surface or changes in conductivity and permeability can be distinguished from the objective criterion “base thickness“

Calibration needed

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