A selection of current research projects of the IFF GmbH.
Research projects funded by the Central Innovation Program SME – ZIM
Optimization of induction thermography for non-destructive testing of joints
The active thermography, ie a thermal imaging of components into which a defined heat flow was generated, is a non-destructive component test, with which defects in the component (cracks, inclusions), but also defective joints can be detected with simple means. Previous excitation techniques, such as halogen or flash discharge lamps, heat the component from the outside, causing the heat to flow in, be reflected at the first boundary layer, and come back to the surface where it can be detected. It would be better to generate the heat inside the component and to look at the heat flow to the surface. This is possible with ultrasonic excitation, but in which the component must be touched for exciting, and the non-contact induction excitation. The task of the IFF GmbH was the optimization of the existing generator technology and the development of special inductors for excitation in reflection arrangement (keyword: “transparent inductors”), in which the exciting inductors and the thermal imaging camera are located on the same side of the component. Together with our partner company edevis GmbH in Stuttgart, starting with this project induction thermography systems are developed and built, which are used very successfully by manufacturing industry partners.
Development of a process and plant for small series production of composite material gears
The overall theme of this project was the development of noise-optimized gears that would be used in the automotive industry (gearbox) or in a tool manufacturer (circular saw) to reduce the noise emission. The noise reduction of the newly developed hybrid gears is achieved by a circumferential layer of plastic (adhesive layer) in the gear ridge, which provide the sound attenuation during operation but should have the properties of a metal gear. IFF GmbH had the task of reducing the process time for curing the adhesive layer to a level that was tolerable for the planned production times. Instead of a time-intensive oven curing, the adhesive crosslinking takes place by means of significantly more efficient induction heating.
Development of optimized induction technology for CfK component hardening
The overall topic of this project was the development of a process methodology for the rapid hardening of CfK components using induction technology. Previous methods of producing carbon fiber reinforced components by means of resin infusion and resin injection techniques require large metallic shapes that are unsuitable for optimal curing conditions. The task of IFF GmbH was to find and qualify more usable (even heatable) mold materials (eg Hextool) and to develop alternative heating mechanisms based on induction technology in order to minimize the energy and time consumption in the production of these fiber composite components.
Development of an online resistance heater for the braiding process
The purpose of the braided pultrusion project was to simplify and accelerate the production of long CFRP profiles with a thermoplastic matrix (eg pipes) by targeted heat input into the fibers. The heat to be introduced serves to consolidate the textile preforms produced by means of braiding pultrusion and impregnated with resin. It is not inductively introduced into the fibers, but touching by conduction (electrical resistance heating) with frequency-optimized alternating current. The main task of the IFF GmbH was the development and qualification of a safe operable contacting method of the moving preforms and an associated generator, which was successfully implemented.
Development of fasteners with a latently reactive, tack-free pre-coated adhesive at room temperature and adapted application technique via inductive heating
This project was concerned with the development of a methodology for the structural quick gluing of fasteners. These fasteners should be preconditioned with a dry adhesive so that the user does not have to apply the adhesive himself (incorrect metering, contamination), but can only perform the bonding process via an inductive heating process. The whole thing should be carried out manually and lead to a strong bond in a few seconds, without drilling the joining partner would be necessary. IFF GmbH has developed a special inductor for such fasteners and a mobile induction generator.
Research projects funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Process technology for preserving the technological properties of lightweight vehicle structures in the event of repairs
The aim of this project was to develop optimal induction technology for the desired application (detacking and gluing at the push of a button) and to work with the users to develop a workshop-oriented and user-friendly induction application that could ideally also be used in series production.
In detail, IFF GmbH has dealt with the following aspects: Development of suitable systems engineering, tool development (induction, clamping tools), method development for detackifying, method development for inductive heating in case of repair, further development of the use of nanoparticles for adhesives and primers, determination of the boundary conditions for accelerated adhesive hardening.
Integration of a laser pretreatment system in a modern series production of bonded parts
For the integration of the laser radiation as a cleaning and pretreatment process in a large scale (adhesive) production, in addition to the functionality of the process, especially the proof of process reliability is decisive, so that it can be ensured that high quality bonds can be produced reproducibly.
In detail, IFF GmbH has dealt with the following aspects: material and adhesive selection, surface preparation, definition of a sample workstation and creation of a web-based process-related database.
Development of a technology for the energy efficient and economic production of complex continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic components
The goal of IFF GmbH in this project is to optimize the manufacturing process of nanoparticle-doped fiber composites by using intelligently used special heating techniques. Since the induction technology can not solve any requirements due to the component complexity, a second conductive-based heating technology is developed, which helps to close these gaps. This variability of the heating techniques enables the development of a robot-controlled induction heating head, in which, depending on the component, the optimum heating process is used.
In detail, IFF GmbH has dealt with the following aspects: Development of methods for heating fiber composite bodies, development of higher frequency (up to 100 kHz) induction generators for inductive heating of nanoparticle doped materials, development of inducible inductors, method development for conductive heating of components from inside and outside outside, tool development for safe contacting, development of a robot-controlled induction heating head with integrated control system for temperature control.
Function-integrated process technology for pre-assembly and component fabrication of FRP metal hybrids
In the “Open Hybrid LabFactory”, the entire value chain from carbon fiber to the recycling of functional lightweight components is depicted. As part of the ProVorPlus project, a continuous process chain for the production of fiber-reinforced plastic-metal hybrids is being developed. The process chain is divided into a prefabrication step, in which a near-net shape semi-finished product is produced in component-compatible multi-material construction, and component manufacturing, in which the semifinished product is deconsolidated by a combined forming-injection molding process. In this process step, the final strength of the component is achieved as well as the structural integrity and functionality by additional material input, z. B. stiffening elements increased.
The main goal of the IFF GmbH in the project is the provision of efficient induction generators and inductors, which lead to reproducible fixation points and can easily be integrated into the overall fixation process. The project ProVorPlus is divided into the project start, the material characterization, the prefabrication, the forming and the original production of components and into the overall process. In pre-assembly, suitable handling automation and heating strategies are developed to produce a hybrid preform. The process limits and suitable tool concepts for forming and injection molding are determined in the two component manufacturing components. At the end of the project, the two process routes (metamorphoses and prototypes) are mapped together with the prefabrication in an overall process.
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