Taking part in the StabiLO research project of the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management (iwb), Grenzebach digital (GDI) provides an intelligent end-to-endprocess control for laser-based surface structuring of metals for the production of hybrid components made of metal and plastic with their digitalization platform SERICY.
StabiLO research project of the iwb
Hybrid components are increasingly gaining importance in ensuring long-term sustainable mobility in the transportation industry. New manufacturing technologies in the mechanical engineering sector have to be promoted to meet the modern requirements for high and consistent quality as well as economic efficiency. The StabiLO research project is specifically dedicated to a software-basedprocess to manufacture hybrid components made of metal and plastic.
During their StabiLO research project, the iwb is looking at the research and development of a process-stable laser structuring of metallic surfaces for the large-scale joining of 3-D-metal-structures with fiber-reinforced plastics.
Regarding the increasing demand for lightweight materials in multi-material construction and the call for economical serial production, the project team focuses on flexibly scalable process management.
The project is funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation (BFS).
The project started in March 2021 and has a project duration of three years.
The research project is organized into seven work packages:
- Project management
- Laser structuring of metallic surfaces
- Inline topography measurement using OCT sensors
- Automation of the data analysis
- Intelligent control of the laser process
- Scaling of the joining process
- Function demonstrator
The aim of the research project is the joining of large metal and plastic structures with homogeneous and consistent quality features. The use of an innovative, optical sensor concept shall provide inline quality assurance in the intelligent process control.
This technology will be integrated into future mechanical engineering process chains to promote sustainability, save production costs and enable shorter process times.
The StabiLO research project is still in its initial phase. At the moment, the iwb is responsible for the project. First measurements and analyses of the laser structuring of metallic surfaces and inline topography measurements using OCT sensors have already been conducted. All project participants are regularly exchanging news of their progress.
In the next step, a control concept will be created in which the individual interfaces to machines, systems and processes are analyzed together with the project partners, and disturbance and control variables are defined. Afterward, based on the data provided by the project participants, an intelligent control of the laser process is established. In a final validation, the results are analyzed and the process is then further optimized. The start of this project phase will be scheduled for the third quarter of the second project year.
Intelligent control of the laser process: Digital transformation
To enable the developed technology to be used in the industrial serial production in mechanical engineering aiming at consistent quality, flexibly scalable process management and efficient control are required. With the aspired inline process monitoring, changes of the topographic features can be detected at an early stage and then compensated via an intelligent end-to-end process control.
The digital transformation of machines, systems and processes is, therefore, a key component of the research project. A fully digitalized machine for laser structuring can help manufacturing companies to increase their competitive advantage over companies with alternative manufacturing processes for surface pretreatment.
Therefore, the StabiLO project team was looking for a digital platform which
- could digitalize the entire production process – each individual machine, process step and system
- has a flexible architecture and is therefore scalable and compatible with the used system technology
- enables an out-of-the-box digitalization without immense development effort
- allows for the connection of all machines, systems and processes due to a microservices architecture with open and flexible interfaces – now and in the future
- guarantees fastresults without users having to dispose of digitalization know-how
- keeps the development time and costslow.
The innovative and flexible IloT platform SERICY from Grenzebach digital meets all these criteria and more. This is why Grenzebach digital, being a partner in the project, is in charge of creating the control concept and the intelligent control of the laser process as well as the assessment and optimization of data using SERICY.
Grenzebach digital's digitalization platform SERICY connects all participating system components of the StabiLO project and is, therefore, a central interface and part of the research project.
The IIoT platform is the ideal choice for the research project as
- the innovative development environment can be adapted easily and quickly to changed and future requirements
- the software components and preconfigured modules are ready to use, reusable and flexible to digitalize processes and machines cost-efficiently
- the platform can be freely scaled and expanded
- the intelligent end-to-end process control is easily applied in practice after the research project is completed
Application example of SERICY in the research project
SERICY continuously compares the target and actual values, for example, those of the laser power. SERICY is interconnected with all involved system components and can therefore immediately detect deviations and initiate the relevant changes in the process management. If the measured depth of ablation exceeds the target value, SERICY, for example, regulates the laser power based on the deviating measured values. This process only takes a few milliseconds. The measured data is gathered by SERICY and used by the research teams as a basis for their further analyses.
Chances for Grenzebach digital and medium-sized businesses
The StabiLO research project offers the chance to show the advantage of a software-based digitalization and automation of processes, systems and machines in medium-sized businesses, in particular in the sector of mechanical engineering. At the same time, the project enables Grenzebach digital to further develop its expertise in the end-to-end consideration of production processes. Every insight gained and observation made are integrated into the modular IloT platform SERICY from Grenzebach digital. This dynamic makes SERICY a unique and future-proof digitalization and development platform.
"We are happy to participate in the StabiLO research project of the iwb of the Technical University of Munich and to contribute our knowledge and competence of machine and process digitalization. Using SERICY, we enable a more intelligent end-to-end process control, which is key to successful and economical manufacturing."
Alexander Beck, Head of Project Management of the Grenzebach digital
Further information about the StabiLO research project, its current status and the intelligent process control by SERICY can be found on the iwb's website of the TU Munich (https://www.mw.tum.de/iwb/forschung-und-industrie/projekte/lasertechnik/stabilo)