KIT at Hannover Messe 2021
Biomimetic surfaces, a flexible production system for manufacturing individualized products, the world's smallest transistor and climate-neutral synthetic fuels: These and other highlights from technology development the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will present at the Hannover Messe 2021, which will be held as a digital event from April 12 to 16. KIT will be represented with two virtual stands: in the Future Hub and at the Energy Solutions.
Camera-based Spindle Control
The intelligent camera system for quantifying surface defects on ball screw drives enables image-based direct monitoring of the spindle surface. It consists of a camera system with lighting mounted on the ball screw nut, combined with a machine learning model trained on image data, which distinguishes between image data with and without defects. By evaluating this image data, a reliable state-ment can be made about the wear condition of the entire spindle surface, which is a prerequisite for timely exchange of the component in operation.
In the course of the evolution, many plants and animals have developed nano- and microstructured surfaces with fascinating properties. Biomimetics imitates these solutions from nature and makes them technically usable: Modeled on the white beetle Cyphochilus insulanus, a nanostructured polymer film forms a brilliant white coating for various products. An aquatic plant-inspired nanofur with specially arranged structures on a plastic film effectively separates oil and water and enables oil spills on water bodies to be removed quickly and in an environmentally friendly manner.
The anti-reflective film developed by Phytonics ensures a unique deep, velvety-matt color impression. Whether used for photographs, display panels, furniture, solar modules, product packaging, or building facades, the film can almost completely suppress the reflection for all wavelengths and angles of incidence of the light. This increases the yield of solar modules by up to ten percent. Produced in a cost-effective roll-to-roll process, the Phytonics film is both mechanically flexible and highly resistant to environmental influences.
Flexible Production System Enables Variety of Variants
Combining the high productivity and accuracy of special machines with the flexibility and versatility of industrial robots - this is what value stream kinematics makes possible. This innovative production system focuses on mapping entire production flows using uniform standard kinematics. In addition to the usual robotics handling tasks, the kinematics also carries out other processes such as assembly, 3D printing, cutting and joining, and machining. Value stream kinematics allows companies to economically and competitively manufacture products with a high degree of individualization and in smaller quantities.
Digital Assembly Assistant
The start-up Kimoknow, which emerged from KIT, has developed a digital assembly assistant for contact-free cooperation of humans and machines. The assistant supports specialists in the assembly of complex devices, makes the entire process more efficient, and improves the quality of the products. To train the system to recognize objects in a time- and cost-saving way, Kimoknow uses image data from computer-aided design processes (CAD) and production data management (PDM) .
The "reFuels" research initiative deals with the composition, production, and use of regenerative fuels. The objective is to enable refueling of all vehicles with regenerative fuels in order to provide a rapid complementary solution for CO2-neutral mobility. "reFuels" is based on innovative infrastructures: For bioliq®, which is used to produce high-quality fuels from biogenic raw materials and residues such as straw, KIT already operates a plant that supplies gasoline. The Energy Lab 2.0 at KIT is a worldwide unique plant network, which combines state-of-the-art technologies, e.g., gas turbines, power-to-methane systems, and water electrolysis plants, for the generation and use of electrical, thermal, and chemical energy. In addition, Energy Lab 2.0 produces different fuel components.
World’s Smallest Transistor
Information technologies consume enormous amounts of energy: Whether in data processing centers, PCs, smartphones, or embedded systems for various applications from washing machines to air-planes – transistors are the central elements of digital data processing. The world's smallest transis-tor, which switches current through the controlled reversible movement of a single atom, can be used to increase energy efficiency: The quantum-electronic element enables switching energies that are by a factor of 10,000 lower than those of conventional silicon technologies. The single-atom transistor already works at room temperature. It operates in a gel electrolyte that combines the advantages of a solid with the electrochemical properties of a liquid.
Digital Power Supplies
A new modulation method for the digital and highly dynamic control of power supplies makes it pos-sible to use film capacitors that need only slightly increased installation space. Thanks to the accura-cy and flexibility of control, such digital power supply devices are particularly suitable for industrial applications with high dynamic requirements, for example in electric cars. The long service life of the film capacitors reduces the failure rate of the switching power supplies and thus increases the service life of the end devices many times over. The power supply units can be integrated into the Internet of Things via an online monitor for remote maintenance or remote diagnosis. Digital power supplies thus are important companions of Industry 4.0.
The software developed by the start-up company greenventory enables companies and cities to reach their energy and climate targets more easily, faster, and at less cost by providing the spatially and temporally highly resolved database needed for forward-looking planning. This database contains all energy-relevant building parameters and includes the grid infrastructure and potential for wind power and photovoltaic plants. In a holistic system analysis, the software considers heat, electricity, and mobility together. It enables energy supply and climate protection concepts, for example for produc-tion sites, distributor networks, or living areas, to be developed in much less time and at a much higher quality than before.