Industrial Solutions for Production

Tactile close distance sensing

Industrial solutions for production

The development of applications for Industry 4.0, Smart Health, Smart Security and Automotive is characterised by the increasing use of intelligent interactive systems. Safe sensory information acquisition and the exchange of information from objects and surfaces in the near-distance and contact range are essential here. Application fields such as sensitive and precise gripping, handling, orientation and positioning of objects in robotics, enhanced human sensory perception (augmented reality, artificial skin) as well as 3D environment sensing (depth-resolved gesture sensing, contactless switches) require a high information density in real time with energy-efficient AI-supported sensor networks.

Optical and capacitive methods available on the market lack spatially continuous and precise detection of the environment as well as a combined tactile mode. Fraunhofer IPMS is pursuing a multimodal sensor concept for ultrasound-based tactile close-range monitoring. The sensor platform developed enables the integration of tactile and proximity sensors on one chip module for the first time, thus offering increased information density. The CMOS-compatible capacitive micromechanical ultrasonic transducers (CMUT) in combination with integrable electronics form the basis for making cost-effective and energy-efficient multimodal sensors in a small installation space with high sensitivity and integrated signal processing available to the market.

RFID sensor technology for more safety in the switchboard

Industrial solutions for production

Switchboards are the heart of many industrial companies. There is no other place where more cable routes begin and end than in switchgears. All the more damage can be done if the equipment breaks down and causes entire production lines to come to a standstill. Undetected overloads, inadequate cooling or improper electrical installation can lead to effects such as arc faults and, in the worst case, fire. Usually, thermographic examination with infrared cameras is carried out regularly to track down such thermal hot spots in the switchboard, but continuous temperature monitoring is not possible. In addition, for safety reasons, all systems have to be shut off beforehand. RFID sensor technology enables continuous, wireless and maintenance-free monitoring at any point in the switchboard. Screw connections and other parts of the switchboard can be thermally monitored. Humidity or other sensors can also be incorporated.

 

Our services:

  • System concept development
  • Module and system development
  • RFID sensor tag development
  • Antenna optimisation
  • System integration & optimisation
  • Cloud integration

Optical data transmission on driverless transport systems

Industrial solutions for logistics

Automated solutions are increasingly being used in intralogistics to ensure permanently available and more flexible flows of goods. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are essentially connected to the higher-level vehicle or route management or other control systems via WiFi or other radio-based transmission technologies. However, many parallel participants in a radio-based network can lead to interference and impair the reliability of the data connections.

With the use of Li-Fi as an optical data transmission technology, stable interference-free data links can be established, thus always ensuring reliable data transmission. With Li-Fi, parallel operation of many vehicles with data links can be realised while maintaining the same bandwidth.

Our services:

  • Optics and transceiver development
  • Module integration
  • System setup
  • Characterisation & test
  • Production support
  • Customer Support

Collaborative robots - safety through environmental sensing

Industrial solutions for production

Human-robot collaboration requires a high degree of safety and precision for working together in confined spaces. Multisensory approaches offer an extended range of monitoring options for this and at the same time increase reliability through redundancy. Fraunhofer IPMS develops optical and acoustic modules and systems (LiDAR, acoustic camera, ultrasonic proximity sensors, tactile sensors) for the reliable detection of people and objects as well as the detection of textures and force distributions on surfaces in the distance range from a few metres to the point of contact. Compared to previous systems, the miniaturised solutions of the Fraunhofer IPMS offer the integration and combination of sensor modules in compact installation spaces and on surfaces. This enables new applications for gripping, positioning, collision protection and navigation in the domains of service robotics, professional services and machine tending.


Li-Fi contactless transmission

Industrial solutions for production

Currently, classic connection technologies such as connectors and cable loops are mainly used to connect machines and robots to data communication. In addition to the lack of flexibility of these solutions, the constant mechanical contact leads to signs of wear on the components. Compared to hardwiring, connectors allow connections to be disconnected again - a great advantage for repair, maintenance and modernisation. However, the connectors are often limited in their cycles of operation, and frequent cycles can also lead to altered transmission properties. Li-Fi - i.e. optical data transmission can serve as a contactless connector or also as a cable replacement and transmits high data rates in the gigabit range. The contactless connection technology is almost free of wear and interference and is suitable for use in explosion-proof areas.

 

Our services:

  • Technology consulting
  • Concept development
  • Hardware and module design
  • Pilot production

Machine-to-machine communication via light

Modern flexible production lines with mobile robots and tools, each production cell and machine connected to the cloud and networked with each other. These are Industry 4.0 or M2M scenarios that require one thing above all: secure and wireless communication. Li-Fi HotSpots use the spectrum of light instead of radio to transmit data. Compared to radio, optical technology is fundamentally safer from electromagnetic interference. It is tap-proof and also has real-time capability in the microsecond range, with data rates of up to 1 Gbit/s. These factors predestine optical communication for industrial use. Li-Fi can be used in areas where even industrial WLAN access points reach their limits.  Local diversity also simplifies network planning, eliminating the need for time-consuming antenna planning and alignment.

 

Our services:

  • Optics and transceiver development
  • Module integration
  • System setup
  • Characterisation & test
  • Pilot production
  • Customer support