Optimized Forming Processes

Innovation project: Self-correcting manufacture in connector and automation technology

Electrical contacts are the core components of electronic connector and automation technology, such as plugs in controls and switching devices. Since they are responsible for the reliable operation of machinery and equipment, high demands are placed on the precision of the small metal parts. These metal parts are produced by forming processes that are very sensitive to changes in the operating conditions, such as material properties or temperature. To ensure quality and to keep waste to a minimum, an elaborate setup of production machinery is necessary. Processes are called for that enable production machine settings to be automatically readjusted when material properties of the raw material change. New self-correction technologies should allow the quality, reliability and efficiency of the forming process to be optimized in the future.

The innovation project aims to develop control strategies, sensors and actuators for self-correcting forming processes in the field of electronic connector and automation technology. The production machines should autonomously adapt to changing operating conditions for different products.

The requirements for the components to be manufactured, the material properties and the forming process parameters are analyzed for this purpose. Control strategies and algorithms for self-correction of the forming process are developed on this basis. The next step is to design innovative sensors and actuators. These detect deviations in the material and in the operating conditions and support the autonomous adjustment of machine settings. The project draws on the results of cross-sectional projects in self-optimization and intelligent networking. The sensors, actuators and control system are validated using a demonstration model and then in a prototype environment. They will also be made available in a model kit for further applications.

The project results will enhance reliability, quality and efficiency in the production of electrical contacts for electronic connector and automation technology. This reduces the work involved in the setup and retooling of the machines and also reduces wastage. The aim is to increase productivity and efficiency by around 10 percent. The results can be transferred to other production processes, such as elements for the automotive and furniture industry. Via the “it’s OWL” transfer projects and engineering companies, the newly developed technologies can be made available to other companies.

Project duration
01 July 2015 - 30 June 2017