Research

– Key to Smart Products!

Impulse Projects:
Innovations for e-mobility, industry 4.0 and energy efficient products

Research activities within the SmartPro Partnership Network focus on four central areas: energy converters, energy storage, light weight construction, 3D printing. Thus, SmartPro contributes considerably to strengthen the research profile of Aalen University and the innovation profile of the region.

Research activities are implemented through four long-term research and development projects – impulse projects:  MagNetz, LiMaProMet, InDiMat and AddFunK. 15 research groups are contributing their expertise within the impulse projects. They are closely working together with local industrial partners of different sizes, research institutes and partners from the technology transfer sector.

The so-called “Explorative Projects” open up the possibility of finding further research and innovation potential. The four central areas are therefore expanded both in terms of content and method.

 

MagNetz

Smart magnetic materials and tools for quality evaluation regarding light, compact and efficient electric motors

Magnetic technologies applied in these electric energy converting machines enable the efficient use of energy for intelligent mobility, wind energy and power tools as well as Industry 4.0 adapted factory automation.

Magnetic materials are key to market-attractive material-, energy- and resource-efficient products. Current disadvan­tages are cost-intensive rare earth metals and increased losses due to the use of electrical sheet.

Smart magnetic materials of approved quality with specifically adapted properties for special system requirements as well as intelligent magnetic technologies are therefore the main focus of interest of the research project „MagNetz“.

MagNetz

 

Project coordinator

Prof. Dr. Dagmar Goll
Tel.: +49 (0) 7361 576-1601
dagmar.goll@hs-aalen.de

 

Project partner

Other research institutions
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
Industry partners
  • AMK Arnold Müller GmbH & Co. KG Antriebs- und Steuertechnik
  • Antriebstechnik GmbH Faurndau
  • Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH
  • Daimler AG
  • Dürr Technik GmbH & Co. KG
  • Georgii Kobold GmbH & Co. KG
  • GTS Generator. Technik. Systeme. GmbH & Co. KG
  • Robert Bosch GmbH
  • Vacuumschmelze GmbH & Co. KG
Transfer partner
  • e-mobil BW GmbH

LiMaProMet

Project coordinator

Prof. Dr. Timo Sörgel
Tel.: +49 (0) 7361 576-2468
timo.soergel@hs-aalen.de

 

Project partner

Other Research Institutions
  • Research Institute Precious Metals and Metal Chemistry “fem”, Schwäbisch Gmünd

  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Industry Partner
  • Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH
  • CCT GmbH
  • Kessler & Co. GmbH & Co. KG
  • Outlast Europe GmbH
  • VARTA Microbattery GmbH
Transfer partner
  • e-mobil BW GmbH

LiMaProMet

Smart material systems, intelligent production technologies and quality methods for lithium-based batteries

Rechargeable batteries with increased energy density, safety and lifetime are in high demand due to the sophisticated technical requirements on mobile applications. The research focuses on range, running and charging time as well as saf­ety for electromobility or portable electronics.

The increasing use of renewable energies within energy transition networks requires cost-effective energy storage systems with a long service life. Smart battery materials, intelligent production processes and quality assessment methods are key technologies for resource-efficient mobility and energy supply.

Thus, the research project „LiMaProMet“ aims at developing intelligent lithium-based energy storage technologies to market readiness.

InDiMat

Intelligent joining technologies, designs for lightweight constructions and quality methods for energy-efficient products

Lightweight construction is a cross-sector key technology of outstanding importance for transport, energy supply and industrial automation. The focus is on resource and energy efficiency.

Carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) are among the most promising lightweight materials – often realized as mul­ti-material composites with a wide range of application, e.g. joined with light metals and high-strength steels.

The research project „InDiMat“ aims at cost-efficient intelligent production technologies for hybrid lightweight construction. The main challenges are pressure die casting, thermal direct joining as well as the adhesive bonding of CFRP and light metals to produce high-strength multi-material composites. In addition, IndiMat researchers develop simulation methods for design and non-destructive testing methods for quality assessment of the joints.

InDiMat

 

Project coordinator

Prof. Dr. Lothar Kallien
Tel.: +49 (0) 7361 576-2252
lothar.kallien@hs-aalen.de

 

Project partner

Other Research Institutions
  • Technical University München
  • Ulm University
Industry Partner
  • Alfred Härer GmbH
  • Carbon-Werke Weißgerber GmbH & Co. KG
  • DYNA more GmbH
  • EMAG Automation GmbH
  • Franke GmbH
  • HAAS Metallguss GmbH
  • Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
  • Oskar Frech GmbH + Co. KG
  • PVA TePla Analytical Systems GmbH
  • TRUMPF Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH
  • Voith Composites GmbH & Co. KG
Transfer partner
  • Landesagentur für Leichtbau Baden-Württemberg GmbH
  • Photonics BW e. V.

AddFunK

 

Project coordinator

Prof. Dr. Rainer Börret
Tel.: +49 (0)7361 576-3482
rainer.boerret@hs-aalen.de

 

Project partner

Other Research Institutions
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Ulm  University
Industry partner
  • Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH / Carl Zeiss Vision GmbH
  • Eluminocity GmbH
  • Franke GmbH
  • F. & G. Hachtel GmbH & Co. KG
  • Hecker Werke GmbH
  • MAPAL Dr. Kress KG
  • Oppold System International GmbH
  • Trumpf GmbH + Co. KG
Transfer partner
  • Photonics BW e. V.

AddFunK

Intelligent components for resource and energy efficiency pro­duced by Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing is one of the key technologies for Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. It enables the eco­nomic and resource-efficient production of individualized products.

The research project „AddFunK“ addresses industry demands in focussing on questions around the development of additive manufacturing. Examples include 3D printing with smart materials or new material combinations such as cermet, hard metals and optical plastics for intelligent sensors in cyber physical systems.

In addition to new possible applications and functional inte­gration into metal or optical elements based on intelligent manufacturing processes, the research focusses on component design and tailoring of physical properties. Further important aspects include surface quality and micro-structuring by laser processing.

Explorative Projects

In addition to the four long-term Impulse Projects there are so-called “Explorative Projects” to open up the possibility of finding further research and innovation potential. The four central areas in SmartPro are therefore expanded both in terms of content and method. The projects are generally high-risk basic research, but have a high potential for exploitation in case of successful application.

The research assumptions within these projects require extremely interdisciplinary approaches. To continually broaden the expertise SmartPro aims at integrating new academic staff and professors that have not yet been actively involved in research projects.

3DGRIN

3D printing of gradient index optics

Conventional optical components consist of one material with homogeneous optical characteristics, e.g. the refractive index. The aim of the 3DGRIN project is the development of a gradient index optical system (GRIN-optic), in which materials with different refractive indices are combined.

Gradient index optics generate new properties of optical components and promise innovative applications, as they are necessary for highly integrated systems, e.g. for Augmented Reality Systems. Until now, they could only be manufactured with high effort and at high costs as well as with limited functionalities. The 3DGRIN project now investigates the innovative and economical production of gradient index optics in a single manufacturing process using 3D printing.

3DGRIN supports the exploitation and transfer strategy of the SmartPro partnership through direct cooperation with companies involved in SmartPro.

  • Project coordinator
    Prof. Dr. Andreas Heinrich, Zentrum für optische Technologien (ZOT)
  • Project partner
    Prof. Dr. Rainer Börret, ZOT;
    Prof. Dr. Harald Riegel, LaserApplikationsZentrum (LAZ)
  • Term
    01.07.2018 – 30.06.2019

The explorative project 3DGRIN is affiliated to the impulse project AddFunK.

HEROD

Simulation of 3D printing of high-precision plastic parts

The aim of the HEROD project is to develop a simulation model for 3D plastic printing. 3D-printed plastic components are built up layer by layer in the printer. The bonding of the layers during the printing process is a weak point. The mechanical properties of the entire component strongly depend on how well it is formed.

The simulation model to be developed in HEROD will predict the mechanical properties of the components. It is based on individual elements (see illustration) which correspond to individual 3D-printed drops. The model is tested experimentally by strength tests. The model aims to determine whether 3D printing can be used to produce plastic parts that have similar mechanical properties and the same load-bearing capacity as the injection moulded parts currently used in industry. In case of success, plastic spare parts can quickly be produced in small quantities and with high precision using 3D printing.

  • Project coordinator
    Prof. Dr. Rainer Börret, Zentrum für optische Technologien (ZOT)
  • Project partner
    Dr. Wolfgang Rimkus, Technologiezentrum Leichtbau (TZL)
  • Term
    01.01.2019 – 29.02.2020

The explorative project HEROD is affiliated to the impulse project AddFunK.

PreMo-LiB

Artificial intelligence and machine learning as pioneers for improving process quality in battery mass production

High-quality lithium-ion batteries with a long service life will be required in many industrial products in the future, for example in E-cars, smartphones or electric tools. In PreMo-LiB Aalen University of Applied Sciences is investigating innovative production-accompanying methods for lifetime prognosis and improvement using modern self-learning software algorithms (Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence) in cooperation with Varta Microbattery GmbH.

Currently, it is only in later use that it becomes apparent whether a lithium-ion battery meets customer requirements. Because of the complex physical interactions within the battery, a quality prognosis accompanying production is only possible to a very limited extent and is not suitable for mass production.

In PreMo-LiB machine learning methods are being used to forecast the quality and extended life of the battery during production. The quality assurance process works non-destructively and is scalable for mass production of high-quality lithium-ion batteries.

  • Project coordinator
    Prof. Dr. Ricardo Büttner, Wirtschaftsinformatik
  • Project partner
    VARTA Microbattery GmbH
  • Term
    01.03.2019 – 31.08.2020

The explorative project PreMo-LiB ist affiliated to the impulse project LiMaProMet.

SurfPlus

Laser-structured surfaces for release agent-free pressure die casting

Aluminium die casting is becoming increasingly important for lightweight construction applications. In order to prevent the component from adhering to the surface of the die casting tool during the casting process, release agents have so far been required. However, their use is cost-intensive and can lead to cracking and increased wear.

In SurfPlus an innovative separating agent-free process is being developed that prevents the aluminium component from adhering to the tool. Before the casting process, the tool surface is structured in a defined manner by means of ultra-short pulse laser radiation. The pulses with a duration in the femtosecond and picosecond range specifically reduce the wetting capacity of the die casting tool so that its surface cannot be wetted by the melt. Adhesion of the component during the casting process is prevented.

Successful laser-based surface functionalization enables aluminium die casting without release agents and thereby increasing cost-effectiveness and quality. SurfPlus opens up new fields of application which are of particular interest to the automotive industry.

  • Project coordinator
    Prof. Dr. Harald Riegel, LaserApplikationsZentrum (LAZ)
  • Project partner
    Prof. D. Lothar Kallien, Gießereitechnologie Aalen (GTA)
  • Term
    01.04.2019 – 31.03.2020

The explorative project SurfPlus is affiliated to the impulse project InDiMat.

TRICLA

Topology optimization of hybrid components for the automotive industry

Lighter components with high stability and safety are of great interest for the automotive industry. Numerous structural components in cars, which are fragile and relevant in the event of an impact, consist of different materials combined with each other. For such so-called hybrid components, the usual methods for the design of (non-hybrid) components cannot currently be used and linked suitably.

Aim of the TRICLA project is therefore to develop an efficient workflow for the force-flow-compatible design of hybrid structural components. Different structural optimization methods and simulations are combined in it. A central component is the dynamic topology optimization. This method is used to design components according to bionic principles (modelled on nature) and under dynamic loads, such as those occurring in an impact. Material properties and other parameters will be considered. The aim is to achieve a significant reduction in material while maintaining the performance of the fragile component.

  • Project coordinator
    Dr. Wolfgang Rimkus, Technologiezentrum Leichtbau (ZTL)
  • Project partner
    Prof. Dr. Volker Knoblauch, Institut für Materialforschung Aalen (IMFAA)
  • Term
    01.03.2019 – 31.08.2020

The explorative project 3DGRIN is affiliated to the impulse project InDiMat.

Data Science for SmartPro

In addition to quality assessment and material analysis, data science will be a central cross-sector topic. New interdisciplinary methods are being developed that are using machine learning. “We link material structures with material properties through machine learning. In this way we are able improve material properties and create the basis for smart products”, says Rector Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider.

More information …

Artificial intelligence and machine learning as pioneers for improving process quality in battery mass production

Many industrial products will require high-quality lithium-ion batteries with a long service life in the future: E-cars, smartphones or electric tools, etc. This is where the explorative project “PreMo-LiB” (predictive modelling of the life cycles of lithium-ion batteries) as part of the SmartPro partnership comes in. In PreMo-LiB Aalen University of Applied Sciences is investigating innovative production-accompanying methods for lifetime prognosis and improvement using modern self-learning software algorithms (machine learning, artificial intelligence) in cooperation with Varta Microbattery GmbH.

Bildinfo

Die Beurteilung der Qualität von Lithium-Ionen-Batterien mittels Deep Learning – Methoden in der Mikroskopie wurde auch auf der Hannover Messe 2019 und der make Ostwürttemberg 2019 vorgestellt. Links: Olatomiwa Badmos vom Institut für Materialforschung beim Forum tech transfer.

SME Projects

In cooperation with industrial partners – especially local SME – further research and developments projects will be launched. These projects – SME Projects – expand the strong cooperation network and are key to develop SmartPro concerning subject and method. Interested innovative companies can be included strategically as industrial partner: this regards new companies as well as companies within the network that are interested in intensifying their collaboration.

Associated Projects

Aalen University of Applied Sciences was very successful in raising third-party funds for further innovative research projects that address questions from the SmartPro application fields. These associated projects are often carried out jointly with regional companies by the research groups involved in SmartPro. Numerous SmartPro industrial partners have also been supporting the transfer-oriented projects since the application was submitted through LOIs, advisory councils and scientific discussions. Selected projects will be presented.

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The “FH-Impuls” framework: strong universities of applied sciences providing impulses for the region

Through the SmartPro partnership, Aalen University of Applied Sciences has positioned itself among the best universities of applied sciences in Germany. It is one of ten German universities of applied sciences awarded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with five million Euro for initially four years within the program „FH-Impuls“. The main objectives of the program are the sustainable expansion of a regional transfer and cooperation network as well as the development of a distinct research profile.