Industry 4.0 and big data methods will lead to a paradigm shift in the application of non-destructive components testing and materials diagnostics methods. These methods are an essential source of valuable data. New sensor concepts, robot-assisted measurements, cloud-based data acquisition, and data evaluation using AI methods are driving this transformation and expanding the application range of new and well-established NDT methods.
Backed by several decades of experience, Fraunhofer IKTS and its Materials Diagnostics Division are positioned to cope with these challenges. IKTS concepts established in ceramics development – covering complete value chains and realizing material and process innovations at the system level – can also be transferred to materials diagnostics. Non-destructive components testing (NDT) and materials diagnostics will be performed over the entire product life cycle, from development to testing or monitoring in production and use. For this, Fraunhofer IKTS draws on traditional methods such as ultrasonic, eddy current, and x-ray inspection as well as acoustic diagnostics, combining or supplementing these techniques with new methods such as laser speckle photometry or optical coherence tomography. By linking the data acquired during testing with a dynamic simulation model of the part or system, it is possible to predict the service life or performance with the help of the “digital twin”.
Fraunhofer IKTS is part of the globally leading Dresden Materials Research Cluster and cooperates with the Dresden Microelectronics Network as well as various established mechanical engineering companies.
The range of capabilities at Fraunhofer IKTS goes far beyond that of a classic provider of NDT testing services. The traditional strength of the institute – handling noisy signals – is reflected at the hardware level by adapted sensors and in-house electronics with excellent signal-to-noise ratios as well as by an in-house software library and use of state-ofthe- art machine learning methods. The mathematical knowhow of the institute and research partners fuels the algorithm development process and forms the basis of sensor data fusion concepts.
Sensor development activities profit from the main Fraunhofer IKTS materials systems and technology offering, which includes thin-film, thick-film, and multilayer technologies as well as printed electronics and ceramic sensors for use in harsh operating conditions. In the profile lines of nanoanalytics and robust electronics, knowledge related to failure models is acquired and applied in reliable sensor solutions. Interference-free optical data transmission and data compression by preprocessing in the sensor round out the profile.
With these core technological capabilities – combined with a systematic approach and driven by a creative team of scientists, technicians, and engineers – established methods can be advanced and new non-destructive testing methods can be qualified.
For customers of Fraunhofer IKTS, various contract and cooperation modes are available to accommodate the given task and in-house capabilities. Projects range from simple service provision and improvement of specific aspects of a method or customer components to complete system development. Each project begins with a clear problem analysis and a feasibility demonstration. Feasibility studies in the early phase of
development reduce the financial risk and provide a stable basis for all further project steps. The result is a CE-certified system and approval of the testing process by the Accredited Test Lab. IKTS can work flexibly with the client to coordinate individual development and implementation steps. Successful hardware developments are commercialized via industrial collaborations and can be licensed by industry customers for their applications.
Innovation and development are the cornerstones of a promising corporate future. In order to create a competitive edge, Fraunhofer offers tailored options for cooperation, so that small and medium-sized companies can work together in the best possible way. This also allows to utilize development skills at short notice and as needed.