The growing demand for micro products and miniaturized components in small and medium quantities requires flexible micro machining processes. At the FBK, the possibilities of micro grinding, micro milling and micro drilling with tool diameters of less than 50 μm are investigated. The research activities at the FBK focus on the investigation of the process and of process-machine interactions, which have a great influence on the work results in these dimensions. Furthermore, micro machining tools and their components as well as machine tools for the production of micro tools are developed.
Development of cutting tools
Constantly growing demands on cutting processes, such as simultaneously increasing productivity and tool life, require powerful tools. The research activities at the FBK deal with the development of tools to ensure both process capability and safety. The tools are optimized with regard to their wear behavior as well as chip and burr formation and the improved application of process auxiliaries.
Machining of high performance materials
The continuous development of materials to be machined as well as the ongoing demand for higher machining performance lead to a permanent need for the adaptation and optimization of cutting tools and processes. Only in this way, process safe and economical production can be achieved. The focus is on the machining and machinability of high-performance and composite materials (including titanium and nickel-based alloys, high-alloy steels, fiber-reinforced plastics, metal matrix composites).
Additive manufacturing offers possibilities in design and dimensioning of components beyond the limits of conventional processes. However, many additively manufactured components are associated with high costs and low surface quality. At FBK, process chain analyses and feasibility studies are utilized to identify components for which a change from conventional production to additive manufacturing is technologically and economically beneficial. Furthermore, possibilities for the post-processing of additively manufactured components are examined in order to be able to produce required functional surfaces.
Cyber-physical production systems
The research activities in the field of cyber-physical production systems (CPPS) study the design of factories of the future, which is represented by the concept of "Industry 4.0". The main focus is on networking of manufacturing systems via the Internet, which creates a new information base in production based on real-time data. This opens up new possibilities such as a decentralized and an autonomous control of the manufacturing system. The focus of the research activities of FBK is the optimization and planning of CPPS. In particular, the research examines how the networking of the manufacturing system can be used and implemented for individual companies.
The research area of virtual production (VP) covers the entire process chain from the process level to the factory planning level. While classical simulation methods such as FEM (finite element method) and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) are applied to the process level and the design of machine tools, virtual methods and tools are investigated for the complete digital design and evaluation of factories, production facilities and processes. The focus at FBK is on the development of novel applications of virtual reality (VR) in production as well as the targeted use of VP for the continuous improvement of production. Moreover, the implementation of physical properties into the VP is investigated, examining how physical properties can be considered within the planning of manufacturing systems, e.g. in the planning of material flows. The aim of the research activities is to investigate the future effects of changes on the entire factory operation in advance using VR.
Product-service systems (PSS) are the result of the integration of products and services in order to be able to offer complete solutions over the whole life cycle, which go beyond the product itself. The activities of FBK in the field of PSS research are focused on their development as well as their evaluation, in order to increase the quality and productivity of PSS, thus generating competitive advantages. Here, availability-oriented business models are also developed in order to guarantee an agreed availability to customers by means of PSS. In addition, protective measures are assessed and developed in this research field to prevent plagiarism via the reverse engineering of spare parts.
The research field of resource efficient production deals with the development of methods for planning, evaluation and improvement of the material and resource efficiency of factories, machines and processes. The focus of the research field is the reduction of the resource demand of production. For this purpose, the impact of material and resource efficiency on the life cycle of production strategies is evaluated in order to assess the improvement. In addition, manufacturing strategies are investigated. For example, reducing the friction of sliding parts contributes to an increase of resource efficiency in production.