Automation and Digitalization

In addition to diverse materials science and process engineering research activities, research into the field of the key technologies of automation and digitalization completes the competence spectrum of Fraunhofer IFAM. The focus here lies mainly on processes that need to adapt continuously and with great precision to components with low shape accuracy or different components, changing production procedures, and human work tasks.

This core competence encompasses the key activities of Fraunhofer IFAM within the categories of adhesive application, joining, sealing, surface treatment,  processing, and printing, and metal casting including the interaction with a digitalized production environment (Internet of Things, Big Data), as well as questions from customers or project partners in the context of joint projects. Here, solutions are being developed for a holistic quality assurance of production processes, materials, material composites, and coatings through the use of innovative methods to capture, evaluate, and visualize measurement data as well as through the use of intelligent materials.

High Precision with Modular System Components

Fast and quality-assured processes are essential for series production. Fraunhofer IFAM offers automation solutions that can recognize components as well as tolerances, even in very large lightweight structures with low shape accuracy, and adapt to them individually and with high precision. With the motto “precision through measurement and sensor technology instead of heavy steel construction”, Fraunhofer IFAM attaches particular importance to lightweight, mobile, and modular combinable system components that can be linked to highly versatile production systems via Industry 4.0 architecture.

Quality Assurance and Personnel Qualification

An overarching competence component is quality assurance in the manufacture, assembly, and repair of components and structures. The continuous monitoring of the condition of component surfaces through customized inspection methods, for example, is an essential goal in the optimization of application-specific manufacturing processes. This is supported by a range of comprehensive training programs that cover multiple products and branches of industry for the certification of personnel, during which a technology transfer takes place that brings scientific knowledge and methods to industrial applications.


Research Objectives in the Area of Automation and Digitalization

  • Increase in the effectiveness and efficiency of manufacturing and repair processes
  • Improvement of ergonomics and work safety in production
  • Optimization of the product lifecycle by quality- and condition-monitoring
  • Optimization of product quality
  • Optimization of process costs

Learn more about the automation and digitalization expertise at Fraunhofer IFAM in our different departments

 

Automation and Production Technology

The department realizes automated assembly of large structures using different joining and machining technologies.

 

Adhesive Bonding Technology

This department encompasses adhesive selection, characterization, verification, and dosing, including in industrial manufacture.

 

Adhesion and Interface Research

The department develops, among other things, surface optimizations that are both functional and suitable for manufacturing.

 

Powder Technology

Process understanding from the powder to component – regarding material, shaping, tolerances, process safety, and specific component requirements.

 

Plasma Technology and Surfaces

The Plasma Technology and Surfaces department researches surface modifications of various materials.

 

Casting Technology

The department accompanies industrial clients in the casting technological implementation from idea via first prototype to the usable product.

 

Smart Systems

The Smart Systems department develops components and systems that capture data from the environment using integrated sensors.

 

Workforce Training and Technology Transfer

This department offers tailored training courses in the field of adhesive bonding technology and fiber reinforced composites.