Once the manufacturing process itself has been completed, parts frequently have to undergo costly and time-consuming testing. Depending on the complexity of the part, this can account for up to 50 percent of manufacturing time and may necessitate the use of expensive test machinery and measuring instruments. Part testing based on process data and carried out immediately after manufacture would save time and costs. Digitalization provides the option of recording increasing volumes of part-related data during the manufacturing process. However, the potential benefits of digital part testing in order to reduce testing time and cost are still not being exploited to the full as the data processing applications required, do not yet exist.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen is currently developing a digital coordinate measuring device along with the associated analysis software within the framework of the “DigitalCMM – Digital Coordinate Measurement Machine” research project. This will enable the quality of parts to be determined immediately after their manufacture without any significant effort. The measuring device receives the majority of its data directly from the control unit of the machine tool concerned and from additional sensors. The aim of the project is to ensure that it will, in future, be possible to make precise statements as to the part geometry and surface quality on the basis of these data. Information relating to process conditions such as vibrations and forces acting on the part will be collected by the various sources. These data will then be processed by the analysis software and presented in a form that will enable them to be used to assess specific quality-related factors.
The Fraunhofer IPT is combining special algorithms derived from the cutting technology sector with new machine learning methods to come up with a data processing solution within the “DigitalCMM” research project. The measurement results are processed and made available to machine operators and quality testing personnel in visual form via smart devices such as smart glasses. Wireless data connections with short latency times and high data rates made possible by the use of 5G technology in the machine tool help to further increase both depth of detail and speed.
The “DigitalCMM – Digital Coordinate Measurement Machine” research project is funded by the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE) 2014-2020.