DIMOFAC has designed a variety of production modules covering various manufacturing processes (welding, assembling, inspection, etc.).
These modules rely on plug-and-produce technology. They can easily be connected to a production process and become operational.
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Module 1: Injection moulding
This module aims to produce a plastic part through an injection moulding process.
The configuration of the module consists in combining a mould, a material, an injection machine and a thermal controller.
The setting and monitoring of the process are based on the exchange of data between the different Asset Administration Shells of the module’s assets. The injection process also has a digital twin.
Module 2 : Quality control
This module does the inline quality inspection of plastic parts just after the moulding. It includes three different quality control stations based on non-destructive technologies as well as one traceability station. The implementation of the Asset Administration Shell (AAS) of the module makes it possible to exchange data to configure the work cell, save the quality control results and traceability data of the parts.
Module 3: Parts preparation: laser texturing
This module will prepare the surface of the metal component for the subsequent welding process (metal and composite).
Module 4: Process monitoring for induction joining
The module focuses on the monitoring of the process and the process control of the induction welding of composite components. The module will be able to collect all the information from the different assets (position, temperature, voltage, frequency, induction generator power) in a synchronous way and compare it with the physics models.
Module 5: Laser joining
This module joins some aluminium inserts with a PEEK sheet*. It integrates a laser source, a laser head, an infrared camera for process control and a specific clamping device.
*PEEK sheet (polyether ether ketone) is an extremely tough, wear-resistant plastic with excellent resistance to high temperatures and energy radiation. It is very dimensionally stable plastic and has a high mechanical bearing strength.
Module 6: Quality evaluation & control
This is a quality control module based on an Ultrasound Testing (UT) technique. It inspects the welds of composite parts and identifies bonding and manufacturing defects.
Module 7: Assembly of small parts
This module handles the assembly of small parts. The module is comprised of:
- Two robotic arms
- One monocular camera mounted on one of the robots
- A conveyor that transports the parts and jigs to pick from or place the parts
The control of the robots is handled via a Digital Twin, to generate collision-free trajectories, introducing dynamic movement using input from the vision system.
Module 8: Automated tape laying
The module focuses on the monitoring of an additive manufacturing process (Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) technology). It is able to collect all the information (robot position, process parameters, pyrometers) from the different assets in a synchronous way.
Module 9: AGV-Robot
This module handles the logistics on the shopfloor by transporting small parts from one workstation to another. It is comprised of an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) and a cobot mounted on top of it. The cobot loads and unloads the AGV with the parts.
Module 10: Milling
The milling module focuses on:
- Enabling the digitalisation of the milling process and the milling machines
- Enabling the monitoring and control of both the milling process and the machine
For the control, the chatter is investigated throughout this module, while the workflow that follows provides useful information for controlling other milling phenomena.
Module 11: Laser quality control for metal-sheet bending & additive manufacturing
This module scans the manufactured parts to obtain a point cloud mesh and analyse it with the metrology software to assess the deviations in comparison with the design specifications.
Module 12: Augmented Reality (AR) assembly instructions
This module is an augmented Reality (AR)-based application that provides multiple functionalities to the human operator. The functionalities are the following:
- Assembly instructions
- Inspection instructions
- Reconfiguration instructions
- Error/malfunction alerts
- Resource status notifications
Module 13: Laser welding
The development of the laser welding module implied the implementation of a vision-based control system that is responsible for identifying any gap existing between assembled parts before the initialisation of the welding process.
Module 14: Assembly, cabling, quality control
This is a flexible module that can handle the following tasks: assembly, cabling, and quality control.
Module 15 : Robotic handling
This module is equipped with a collaborative robot that can deal with handling and quality control tasks.
Module 16: Parts storage
This module was built for connected storage purposes. Operative agents (robots and operators) can know at any time the number of parts that are contained in each reference box.
Module 17: Bin picking handling
This is a bin picking module that includes:
- a 3D vision system (a 3D sensor imaging the scene and a CAD-based* 3D localisation algorithm)
- a robotic arm and gripper, both calibrated with the 3D sensor
The 3D vision locates the elements in the bin and the robotic arm grabs them.
*Computer-aided design (CAD) is a way to digitally create 2D drawings and 3D models of real-world products before they are manufactured.
Module 18: Quality control X-ray
This is a quality control module based on X-ray imaging methods. It is an adaptative module given that it can be used both for dimensional verifications as well as for defect identifications. It is designed to be used together with Module 17 (bin picking handling) to move samples and parts and place them on a turntable inside the inspection cabin.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870092.