Machining technologies

Milling, drilling, water-jet cutting – Machining technologies for lightweight structures

The machining of Fiber Reinforced Plastics (FRP) requires special know-how due to their complex mechanical properties and temperature sensitivity.

Zero-defect production via process control

Zero-defect production is a requirement when manufacturing high value-added components. This is only achievable by having effective control of all processes. An important instrument here is defect prevention by monitoring quality-related process parameters.

 

Flexible plant layout

A focus of our R&D work is the realization of flexible plant layouts. Scientists achieve the necessary processing precision not using heavy foundations and metal structures but rather with mobile, high-precision machining modules that can be used simultaneously.

 

Process development for automated, mobile, simultaneous machining

The focus of the process development activities is on milling, drilling and water-jet cutting. In collaboration with Hamburg University of Technology, the researchers at Fraunhofer IFAM integrate robots and portal plants into processes that require high tool mobility over components with high precision. They also develop solutions for simultaneous use of several machining components on the same component.

Available systems

Center for machining large components up to 13 meters in length.
© Fraunhofer IFAM

Center for machining large components up to 13 meters in length.

Machining robot on a mobile platform capable of meeting the precision requirements for aircraft manufacture.
© FRaunhofer IFAM

Machining robot on a mobile platform capable of meeting the precision requirements for aircraft manufacture.

Dust extraction at the source for machining robots.
© Fraunhofer IFAM

Dust extraction at the source for machining robots.

Drilling and milling with robots – high flexibility for precision requirements

A machining center with industrial robots from different manufacturers for milling and drilling is available for the R&D work. If desired, they can be used on a linear axis. The machining of lightweight structures up to a length of 13 meters can be undertaken.

 

Mobile robots for machining

A linear axis extends the working space of machining robots in two directions, which is vital for effectively machining large components. Autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs) allow considerably greater freedom for positioning machining systems on the component. A prerequisite for good machining is, however, adequate static and dynamic stability of the vehicles. Within the framework of the ProsihP 2 project the automation team at Fraunhofer IFAM and industrial partners designed and constructed an autonomous mobile machining unit for interchangeable heavy-duty robots from any manufacturer. Using this system the developers successfully evaluated methods for the precise positioning and path guidance of end-effectors for adaptable production environments.   

 

Water-jet cutting – abrasive water-jet cutting

Depending on material and process requirements, water-jet cutting can have advantages over conventional machining. In particular, thermal damage is avoided, there is constant cut quality due to the freedom from wear of the tool, and there is large variability regarding the wall thickness and mechanical properties of the component. Fraunhofer IFAM in Stade possesses a 6000 bar abrasive water-jet cutting plant with a 5-axis cutting head suitable for a range of applications.