The Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University is currently researching the “Internet of Production” — the core of the Industrial Internet of Things, which paves the way for a future era of production. A few weeks ago, the chief engineer of WZL’s Chair for Manufacturing Technology, Dr.-Ing. Daniel Trauth, spoke with Markus Gebhardt from the „public IOTA Project“ on the processes and visions in the use of IOTA in fineblanking. It was also agreed that the „public IOTA Project“ would continue to flank this process of the real IOTA application in the future.
Big Data in general
Due to the progressive digitization of all areas of life — above all communication, science and the internet — countless data is generated every day, especially measurements in advanced industrial processes create a flood of data. Dealing with this Big Data is an important step towards Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things.
Fineblanking machine at WZL
Big data in fineblanking
Specifically, the WZL of RWTH Aachen University is currently working on the application of a fineblanking machine. In fineblanking, firstly the metal is decoiled from a sheet metal coil. Afterwards, the decoiled material is fed into a straightening system, where the sheet is flattened. A fineblanking press then processes the flattened material. Up to four parts a seconds are cut-out from the flattened material. Fineblanking is very suited for mass production of security-critical components, such as brake carriers. The goal is that all parts are identical. However, this is not the case, since uncertainties in the material, the process, or even the surrounding area result in different die-rolls and clean-cuts. However, since all parts have to be identical at the end, it requires expensive post-processing steps, which one ideally wants to avoid. Engineers have tried to describe these relationships in formulas of certain process parameters, but they contain constants that have to be determined experimentally. Therefore, the approach is to capture as much data as possible from the process and to combine physical-based and data-driven approaches for the first time in fineblanking.
Fineblanking machine at WZL
The data is read directly from the machine, from additional self-attached force sensors, image and video feeds, material property sensor (a sheet is never uniform) or acoustics, vibration, temperature sensors. This leads to data rates of up to 10 Gbit / s (theoretical), of which the WZL wants to save as much data as possible in a first step. They have a server with plenty of power and memory in their machine so they can store that data and then manipulate it with machine learning methods. The aim is to find new correlations between individual measurement series and the perturbation parameters that are hidden in the formulas in the constants. The vision then sees a self-governing, ‘autonomous’ machine, which controls itself as in “autonomous driving” and optimizes the process.
A vision becomes a real application with IOTA
This case alone already includes several construction sites (data acquisition, data integration, distributed networks, generally much of the field of “big data” and machine learning), but the WZL now wants to devote itself to the distributed ledger technologies such as tangle and blockchain and in the form of a testing out the digital supply chain. In this context, a digital value chain, which is now being used with IOTA, is presented in such a way that process states, production steps and component properties are digitally mapped in a networked value chain for every component produced by the fineblanking machine. With the ability of DLTs to be unalterable, and the ability to pay for IOTA’s unique data streams / data sets, IOTA’s Tangle provides a promising basis for a digital connected value chain.
Cooperation with grandcentrix and support of public IOTA
We read it recently in the press: In future, the WZL will rely on cooperation with grandcentrix, one of the most modern system houses specialized in Internet of Things productions and smart products in the region. As a cooperation partner, grandcentrix is certainly a great choice and is to be welcomed in any case. This cooperation should make it possible to realize the vision of the Internet of Production with the know-how and the methods of an expert in this field with a unique position to provide services end-to-end, from electronics design to the cloud and digital ledgers. grandcentrix’ Managing Partner Ralf Rottmann recently joined the IOTA Foundation’s Board of Directors which further gives the team direct access to the IOTA universe.
The previous, very good exchange between the WZL and the „public IOTA Project“ should be continued and deepened in the future. public IOTA will continue to flank this extraordinary process of implementing this IOTA application in machine tool manufacturing.