Miniaturized, high-performance optics can be inserted into small, flexible endoscopes to enhance diagnostic and surgical practice. The production of modern optical systems is highly complex and requires a holistic view of manufacturing tolerances and process steps. Increasingly exacting customer demands in terms of the optical characteristics required in conjunction with the trend to miniaturization are pushing individual process steps up against their physical and technological limits. Consequently, the quality of the optics is frequently impacted and there is a significant amount of scrap. When the individual operations are networked digitally, the outcome is comprehensive optimization of the production process, which enables optical systems to be produced efficiently and with constant, high production capacity.
The aim of the "FOSDIGUM" research project is to develop a digitally and physically networked production environment thereby opening up opportunities for economically-efficient and resource-conserving production of innovative, superior performance optical systems.
In the drive to achieve this aim, the project consortium will network the individual processes in the production chain digitally and will investigate the interactions between different processes in the production chain with one another in order to identify areas which could potentially contribute to increases in both quality and efficiency in the manufacture of optical systems. The project partners will create a digital twin of the part concerned and analyze the data to ensure automated data exchange among individual process steps involved in the production chain. The networked process chain will be tested using a miniaturized optical system for high-resolution endoscopes as an example. To this end, engineers at the Fraunhofer IPT will collaborate with the project partners to create a digitally and physically networked production line and will investigate interactions between individual process steps on the basis of a highly complex, optical endoscopic system.
In order to ensure an optimum match between process steps and to compensate in one step for any deviations during the previous step from tolerance limits, the project partners will apply the principle of adaptive feedforward control in addition to the conventional feedback method. The aim of this innovative pilot control is to base modifications in the subsequent process steps on the current part status so as to optimize the tight tolerance requirements of individual processes and ensure that these are observed through to the end of the process chain.
The "FOSDIGUM" research project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the "Internationalization of clusters of excellence, future-oriented projects and comparable networks" support measure.