The BMBF is funding the Digital Repair Factory with a total of 10.3 million euros
Scientists led by coordinator Prof. Dr. Christiane Hipp from the BTU are working together with small and medium-sized enterprises in Lusatia as well as large companies and research institutions on innovative digitalized systems, products, services and training programs. The goal is to create new business areas and promote spin-offs and company settlements.
"In the first phase of the alliance, we managed to pave the way for structural change in Lusatia through the future topic of digitization," says Prof. Dr. Christiane Hipp, Chair of General Business Administration, in particular Aspects of Organisation and Corporate Governance. "In the second phase, we are now planning to bring the companies in Lusatia a little closer together by combining digitization and the circular economy in order to become jointly competitive both nationally and internationally."
In one sub-project, the scientists were able to combine the various processes for material application and removal, such as tungsten inert gas welding, laser metal deposition or high-speed milling, with imaging processes and evaluation methods in a mobile processing center. The aim was to combine the complete chain of defect detection and evaluation, milling and filling, thermal post-treatment, final contour milling and final evaluation in one flexible overall system.
Whether bird, hail or stone impact, accidents or property damage - the damage assessment of fiber-reinforced components such as rotor blades of wind turbines or the bodywork of modern trains or vehicles has become not only more cost-efficient and faster but also safer in a second project through the mobile use of infrared thermography. Previous methods have had the disadvantage that inspection is still carried out visually, for example in the case of wind turbines. This requires industrial climbers to lower themselves down the blade with a platform and scan the blade for damage. Partial automation via drone and IR thermography eliminates this for inspection and can be done directly from the ground.
"By digitizing the entire inspection chain - from damage to repair or re-placement - we were able to standardize inspection results in a third project, making the process manageable and significantly simplifying it," says Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Bolz, project team member in the Digital Repair Factory Alliance. "The standardization of all results of a repair chain accelerates the maintenance, servicing and repair of components."
In addition, the scientists worked with the partners to develop a platform for repair, maintenance and servicing that makes the processing and awarding of contracts more transparent and cost-efficient for clients and customers.
In the second phase, the strategy of digitalization in maintenance, servicing and repair will be further developed into a circular economy. The aim is to bring companies in the region closer together and to develop a viable marketing concept.
The Digital Repair Factory Alliance is funded by the German Federal Mi-nistry of Education and Research (BMBF) until December 31, 2025, as part of the "WIR! - Change through Innovation in the Region" program.
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