Adaptronics

The Fraunhofer IWU presents its highlights in the sphere of adaptronics at the main booth of the Fraunhofer society. Part of these highlights is the digital functionalization of 3D components, which will be introduced with the help of a robot-based production system. Furthermore, the Fraunhofer IWU presents the exhibit “Morfoil”, which demonstrates how intelligent surfaces interact with humans.

Digital functionalization of complex 3D components

The Fraunhofer IWU presents a robot-based manufacturing system that functionalizes  complex 3D components. It will be presented detailed and live during the fair how the application of conducting paths and sensors by directly printing onto components allows the implementation of a function integration, which does not need any assembly and is suitable for large series production.

Using additive technologies structural components are being enhanced with electrical and sensoric functions. Conducting paths, sensors and operating elements are being printed directly onto the structural components. This does not only increase the flexibility, but it also reduces the weight of the end product, due to the elimination of cables. The manufacturing process becomes more efficient in total.

The main principle resembles the technology of an inkjet printer, except that instead of ink a special paste is being used. After drying, this paste, depending on its ingredients, can be used as either conducting paths or sensors. With a so-called jet dispenser, a special nozzle, those pastes are being applied as stripes or dots onto the components.

A robot moves the nozzle across the component and ensures high variability. For the first time, it is possible not only to print conducting paths, sensors and buttons fast, efficient and completely individualized onto plane surfaces, but also onto three-dimensional components.

Intelligent and interactive surfaces

An additional highlight for intelligent manufacturing technology is “Morfoil”. The Fraunhofer IWU’s adaptronics experts have developed shape-changing plastic surfaces, which sense their surroundings and react according to the stimulation by reversibly deforming. They interact with humans and autonomously adapt to different rooms.

“Morfoil” can perform various folding and motion patterns. If an object or subject approaches the foil, the surface forms a hollow and sets additional space free. The integration of sensors, actuators, control electronics and kinematics, furthermore, allows the determination of brightness, weight and the type of approaching objects.

The shape-changing surface “Morfoil” is being realized by multilayer film composites. They allow for a form and function flexible production with the advantages of mass production. Those surfaces enrich products with new functions and flexible properties for variable usage concepts, e.g.  concerning the handling of changing ambience conditions.

Further exhibits at the main booth of the Fraunhofer society

As a part of the lighthouse project Go Beyond, the Fraunhofer IWU has helped develop the exhibit “Smart Door”, which demonstrates possible use cases for the digital functionalization of 3D components. The exhibit will be presented at the main booth of the the Fraunhofer society. Further information you will find here.