Fabric with feeling – sensors make textiles smart!
The Center Smart Materials CeSMa of Fraunhofer ISC has HANNOVER MESSE 2018 firmly in its sights and has announced its adaptronics exhibits for next year. Center stage will be versatile elastomer sensors that support continuously variable operation.
The Center Smart Materials (CeSMa), which is based at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research (ISC) in Würzburg and is supported by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, aims to expand the economic potential of intelligent electromechanical materials. That is why the engineers at CeSMa are exploring innovative design principles and producing demonstrators to tap into new application technologies for smart materials. They are also conducting transfer projects to ensure material development based on smart materials makes the transition to industry and other sectors.
One such CeSMa project centers on an innovative pressure-monitoring stocking and was even singled out for a special award at the Diabetes Congress of the German Diabetes Association (DDG). The project was awarded the SilverStar sponsorhip prize, which is presented to projects that improve quality of life for elderly people with diabetes. The monitoring stocking, which has been developed by the Fraunhofer ISC together with industry partners and Fraunhofer colleagues at IIS, prevents the kind of pressure sores, open wounds and even tissue damage often associated with diabetes. Diabetes sufferers frequently have a reduced ability to sense pain, which means they can’t tell when their shoes are too tight or their feet under too much strain. Thanks to 40 incredibly thin sensors, the pressure monitoring stocking can identify the amount and distribution of pressure at medically relevant points on the foot, thereby taking over the function of the nerves. These sensors, which are made from a soft and very stretchy elastomer silicone film are ideal for use with textiles. They can be easily bonded into place and are thin and elastic enough not to be uncomfortable to wear, while the silicone is also skin-friendly and resistant to detergents and disinfectants.
CeSMa will be at the Fraunhofer Group Pavilion at the upcoming HANNOVER MESSE, where it also plans to exhibit other versatile elastomer sensors. Examples include a glove that measures pressure forces and a car steering wheel that can be used to control music and ventilation by touch.
Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC (97082 Würzburg, Germany), Hall 2, Stand C22
Contact: Marie-Luise Righi
Tel.: +49 931 4100-150
Startup machine fuels digitization
As digitization is becoming a key factor for mechanical engineering, thus making the ideas of a great many startups increasingly relevant, the VDMA in its 125th anniversary year is looking to use its new network - the Startup Machine - to bring together what belongs together.
Digitization is already shaping mechanical engineering, and it’s no exaggeration to say it will be one of the issues that will dominate the industry in the future. Although this isn’t exactly virgin territory, the solutions associated with digitization are nonetheless new technologies that often flourish particularly well in the creative atmosphere of startups. HANNOVER MESSE 2017 offered an excellent illustration of how startups are becoming increasingly important to industry. The VDMA (the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association), now in its 125th anniversary year, is keen to provide optimum support for this development with a new network as part of the VDMA Future Business Competence Center. The Startup Machine will see the VDMA bring together startups and mechanical engineering companies and support them in joint projects. The association is also committed to identifying and validating startups whose work in key forward-looking areas such as augmented reality, machine learning and blockchain technology can boost mechanical engineering companies in Germany.
The Startup Machine's whole purpose is therefore mechanical engineering "matchmaking". Hartmut Rauen, VDMA Deputy Executive Director, explains the concept: "Associations are service providers for their members, and we want to use the Startup Machine to harness the potential for our industry to successfully shape the technological revolution. Yet startups -particularly in digitization, Industry 4.0 and electrification of vehicle drive systems - can also add an extra dimension with their innovations and ways of working. We’re keen to give startups access to our industry, enabling them to find out directly whether their ideas and projects really work for our market." The VDMA is looking in particular to use activities such as hackathons, matchmaking, skunk works and digital innovation journeys to strengthen the new network's links between industry and startups in the future. From 17 to 18 October 2017, the VDMA Startup Machine is joining forces with trade journal Produktion at the 9th German Mechanical Engineering Summit in Berlin, where it will be bringing together everything that is currently driving the industry under the banner “A radically changing world - the consequences for mechanical and plant engineering".
VDMA e. V. (60528 Frankfurt, Germany)
Contact: Dr. Eric Maiser
Tel.: +49 69 6603-1433
The art of science
With "binär.bewegt" (binary.powered) chosen as the theme of the ART OF ENGINEERING competition run by FERCHAU this year, the company is on the look-out for artworks, sculptures, installations, moving images and paintings that represent "IT and mobility in symbiosis". The winners will receive their prizes at HANNOVER MESSE 2018.
"It is often assumed that art and science are mutually exclusive disciplines," says Frank Ferchau, Managing Partner of FERCHAU Engineering GmbH. This misconception forms the backdrop to the company’s art competition: "In fact, our ART OF ENGINEERING contest has already shown that finding links between these two areas unlocks huge potential for innovation. The artists, engineers and IT specialists who take part are building bridges between art and technology, and this really inspires them to think outside the box. This is what makes the competition so exciting and worthwhile." With prize money of EUR 20,000 up for grabs, the tagline for this year's interdisciplinary ART OF ENGINEERING competition is "binär.bewegt - Symbiosen von IT und Mobilität" (binary.powered - IT and mobility in symbiosis). This is the fifth time that FERCHAU Engineering GmbH has run the contest, encouraging artists, engineers and IT specialists to get creative and forge links between art and technology.
The competition opened for online submissions (ferchau.com/go/aoe) on 1 September 2017 and will close on 7 January 2018. Company, group and individual entries are being accepted, and students, recent graduates and professionals at any stage in their careers are welcome to take part. The judging process will run until 15 February 2018, with a panel of 11 high-profile figures in business, research, education and art assessing all the submissions and selecting 15 finalists to present their work to the judges on 28 February 2018. Selections will be made on the basis of the artworks’ content, technical and artistic qualities, originality, relevance, innovation and execution.
FERCHAU, a family-run company based in Gummersbach, will present the first prize of EUR 10,000 at the official awards ceremony at HANNOVER MESSE 2018. The second-prize and third-prize winners will receive EUR 7,000 and EUR 3,000, respectively.
The ART OF ENGINEERING competition aims to promote the creativity and innovation shown by German engineers and build up Germany's status as a hub of culture and technology. Above all, it is designed to reach out to the next generation of specialists by supporting them and showcasing new approaches to spark their interest in technical careers. ART OF ENGINEERING partners include the Fraunhofer Society, VDI Verlag, the International Bionics Center, the Museum for Applied Arts in Frankfurt, the Berlin Technical University, the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and the UNICUM online portal and magazine for university students.
FERCHAU Engineering GmbH (51643 Gummersbach, Germany), Hall 2, Stand C47
Contact: Martina Gebhardt
Tel.: +49 2261 5011-441
New robot carries up to fifty pounds
YASKAWA is one of the largest manufacturers of industrial robots, with over 330,000 units installed throughout the world. It is expanding its successful GP series with the new MOTOMAN GP25 handling robot, which can carry up to 25 kilograms.
Japanese technology group Yaskawa - which is currently growing faster than the market and becoming a bigger player in Europe, for example in Slovenia and in Allershausen near Munich - unveiled its new Motoman GP25 robot model at the start of September. This new addition isn't just compact and flexible but is also genuinely strong, with a proven load-carrying capacity of 25 kilograms. GP stands for "General Purpose", reflecting the wide range of possible uses. Indeed, just like the three smaller models in the GP series - which can carry loads of seven, eight and 12 kilograms - the new robot has also been developed for exceptionally high-speed joining, packaging and general handling applications.
As with its older but not quite as strong siblings, the new 6-axis GP25 has been designed as a compact and extremely fast handling robot and is set to become one of the fastest in its class, thus making it a reliable productivity driver. Like the first models in the GR series, the wrist axes (R, B, T) of the GP25 meet protection class IP67, which means the new robot can also be used for handling and other automation tasks in more demanding environments without further modifications. Thanks to its slim and compact design, the GP25 can also delve deep into the workspace, while its smooth surfaces make cleaning easy. As only one robot cable is needed to connect the manipulator to the controller, further benefits include less wear, a smaller footprint and reduced costs for spare parts and maintenance.
YASKAWA Europe GmbH European Headquarters (65760 Eschborn, Germany), Hall 17, Stand B24
Contact: Armin Schlenk
Tel.: +49 6196 569-406
All hail the king!
Unveiled for the first time at INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY, the composite material HICOMPELT is ideal for applications where components are required to deliver maximum strength at minimum weight. The product was awarded the title "ThinKing" by the Baden-Württemberg State Agency for Lightweight Construction in September.
Thanks to the new composite material HICOMPELT, it is now possible to create carbon and glass fiber parts with exceptionally high fiber content. Biberach-based Handtmann Elteka produces this unique material using the innovative T-RTM process. HICOMPELT offers a wide range of production opportunities that are particularly suited to the automobile and aircraft industries, and Handtmann Elteka also highlights key advantages when it comes to repair work and recycling.
Using low-viscosity cast polyamides PA 6C or PA 12C Lauramid as matrix materials, HICOMPELT delivers an exceptionally high fiber volume content of up to 65 per cent. Carbon fiber, glass fiber or a fiber mix is infused with the two thermoplastics and molded using a near-net-shape technique. Metal elements such as bolts and other parts can also be integrated during production. Handtmann Elteka is keen to emphasize the economic advantages of near-net-shape molding, as it minimizes both material and process costs. Components can be produced in cycle times of just three minutes.
The stability of the components is ensured through a new production process known as Thermoplastic Resin Transfer Molding (TRM). The matrix material, a PA 6C or PA 12C, is melted "just in time" and injected as a liquid into the preform to be molded into the component required. This thermoplastic infusion process delivers an exceptionally high fiber volume content of up to 65 per cent. What’s more, virtually no further processing is required once the component is removed from the mold, while short cycle times make large-batch production possible using a single tool.
Albert Handtmann Elteka GmbH & Co. KG (88400 Biberach, Germany), Hall 5, Stand D33
Contact: Joachim Weiss
Tel.: +49 7351 342-720
Another good reason to switch to cycling!
Lubrication- and maintenance-free xiros bearings from igus GmbH aren’t just up to 40 percent cheaper than conventional bearings - their properties also make them indispensable for developments such as the new cycleWash bicycle cleaning system.
Bicycle owners are usually forced to wash their bicycles by hand if their pride and joy is not to be ruined by the high-pressure lances of self-service car washes. Up to now, they could only dream of fully automated bicycle cleaning. Yet this may soon be changing for good. cycleWash, which is now available, is a compact washing system for bicycles that isn't just thorough but is also exceptionally eco-friendly, using organic soap and just half a liter of water per wash. Lubrication- and maintenance-free xiros polymer ball bearings from Cologne-based igus GmbH were among the key factors behind this development.
xiros rotary table bearings with stainless steel balls are used to hold the washing brushes, thus ensuring smooth running under water. xirodur B180, the ball bearing material used to manufacture the bearing rings, enables maintenance-free dry running and minimal rolling friction while withstanding temperatures up to 80 degrees Celsius. xiros bearings are also corrosion-resistant, up to 60 percent lighter and cost much less than comparable metal bearings. The lubrication-free and corrosion-resistant plastic bearings are ideal under water and thus extend system service life. That's why xiros bearings are not just used in the new cycleWash but also in other underwater applications, such as wave-generation systems in swimming pools. What’s more, xiros polymer ball bearings are resistant to dirt and detergents, which is essential when using soap.
igus GmbH (51147 Cologne, Germany) Hall 17, Stand H04
Contact: Tobias Vogel
Tel.: +49 2203 9649-396
Robonatives are the future
Robotics is at the heart of a revolution - and the "digital native" generation looks set to be followed by the "robonative" generation. One company playing a key role in the democratization of robotics is FRANKA EMIKA GmbH, now nominated for the 2017 Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2017 (German President's Award for Innovation in Science and Technology).
Munich-based FRANKA EMIKA gained worldwide acclaim at HANNOVER MESSE 2017 thanks to its Panda "powertool" - a robot system controlled using smartphone-style apps that can be taught new tasks within minutes without users needing any specialist expertise in robotics. The system is so sophisticated it can work hand in hand with human users to learn complex tasks without posing any safety hazards - a feat that secured its place as a major highlight in Hannover this year.
The people behind Panda - Prof. Sami Haddadin, Dr. Simon Haddadin and Sven Parusel - have now been nominated for the 2017 Deutscher Zukunftspreis (German President's Award for Innovation in Science and Technology). For many years, the three scientists worked together at the prestigious Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), before launching a startup dedicated to developing the first system for a completely new generation of cost-effective, reliable and intelligent tools. The 2017 Deutscher Zukunftspreis nominees are also taking into account children and young people - the so-called "robonatives" - in their work. Indeed, following hot on the heels of digital natives, this new generation will have a profound impact on the way society develops. Offering easy, cost-free access to the FRANKA World ecosystem and providing training at the FRANKA Academy from the earliest possible stage, the three colleagues want to establish new value creation opportunities that have never existed before. The idea is for startups and students to be able to develop robot apps without needing to make virtually any financial investment of their own, thus opening up new commercial and non-commercial application areas. The nominees have been working to implement their vision for over ten years now. Sami Haddadin is the Director of the Institute of Automatic Control at Leibniz Universität Hannover and was recently appointed Professor of Robotics and System Intelligence at the Technical University Munich (TUM). He is also the founding director of the Munich School of Robotics, Machine Learning & Artificial Life. Simon Haddadin is the Managing Director at FRANKA EMIKA GmbH, while Sven Parusel heads the department for software and control systems as chief engineer.
FRANKA EMIKA GmbH (80797 Munich, Germany), Hall 17, Stand D24
Contact: Daniel Schmidt
Tel.: +49 89 2006069-20
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