The researchers at the iwb develop strategies for an efficient production of tomorrow. To this end, the departments and their teams work together with project partners to investigate current issues in a scientific and problem-oriented manner. The work is carried out in the research fields of the institute or at the companies on site.
Additive (generative) manufacturing processes, publicly referred to as „3D printing“ or „rapid prototyping“, are playing a continuously increasing role in production engineering. Today, the term "Additive Manufacturing" refers to all manufacturing processes, in which a component is produced in layers, providing numerous design freedoms.
The Department Additive Manufacturing at the iwb concentrates on the processing of metallic materials. The process portfolio includes selective laser beam melting (LBM), wire and arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), binder jetting and ink jet printing. Various systems for processing polymers, which are primarily used for teaching or for the production of prototypes, complete the equipment. The methodological core competencies of the Department Additive Manufacturing include process development, process simulation on different scales and process monitoring. In addition, the Department Additive Manufacturing possesses expertise in the field of machining post-processing of additively manufactured components through joint research work with the Department Machine Tools.
Head of the Department: Andreas Bachmann
The main research topics of the Department Additive Manufacturing in detail:
- Additive manufacturing processes
This research field concentrates on individual additive processes and the underlying physical effects. The focus is on the development of new processes as well as the extension of process understanding of existing processes. In particular, the recording and description of the fundamental cause-effect relationships in additive manufacturing processes are of interest. A sound understanding of processes not only serves to improve the robustness and process reliability of additive manufacturing processes, but also forms the starting point for the development of new processes and derivatives as well as for the qualification of new materials for additive manufacturing.
Research Field Leader: Andreas Wimmer
- Process chain and component design
In this research field, overarching questions arising from the use of additive manufacturing in production systems are investigated. This means that the interactions and interrelationships of the additive manufacturing process with pre- and post-processing steps within the process chain are analyzed. These include, for example, methods for controlling or compensating component distortion along the entire additive process chain or the suitable coordination of Additive Manufacturing and post-processing in order to be able to manufacture components with a high surface quality.
Research Field Leader: Cara Kolb
Powerful electrochemical energy storage systems are of great importance for applications in electromobility and stationary energy storage. Herefor, the improvement of gravimetric and volumetric energy density as well as the reduction of production costs are decisive. Only a deeper understanding of the processes involved in manufacturing LIB will enable producing improved and more cost-effective battery cells.
Therefore, the research activities of the Department Battery Production focus on the production of innovative battery cells. The core of the work is process development and the optimization of all processes within battery production. From mixing the electrode materials to the first charging and discharging cycles of the cells as well as assembling the battery modules, all steps are carried out in-house at the iwb's research production line. Occupational safety is always in the foreground here. The iwb's industry-related research also ensures that the highest safety standards are maintained along the entire process chain. The cell portfolio comprises various cell types (button cells, pouch cells and hard case cells) with capacities ranging from a few mAh to over 20 Ah. For this purpose, iwb offers industry-oriented plant technology that can be flexibly adapted to the most diverse requirements.
In addition to the various materials of conventional lithium-ion batteries, the group also researches on solid-state batteries and the use of metallic lithium, as well as silicon composite anodes for the next-generation of lithium based battery technology.
Head of the Department: Florian Günter
The main research topics of the department are:
- Electrode design and fabrication
The performance of battery cells depends not only on the materials used, but also on the composition and the structure of the electrodes. Each electrode material requires a new design of the manufacturing processes, which is why a deeper understanding of these is necessary. The processes considered within the research group range from powdered active material to the finished electrode and include mixing and dispersing, coating and drying as well as calendering and laser structuring of the electrodes.
In the research field of electrode design and fabrication, employees are working intensively on new electrode designs (from slurry formulations to electrode structures) and the processing of new electrode materials. On the cathode side, the focus of research is primarily on low-cobalt materials based on NMC and NCA as well as prelithiated manganese-rich high-voltage spinel. For anode materials, research focuses on silicon composites and the prelithiation of anodes.
In addition to materials research and research on electrode slurries, the iwb also deals with the design of electrode and cell designs. The focus here is on artificially generated electrode structures using mechanical structuring processes and laser structuring, as well as naturally generated structures using different porosities within the electrode layers.
Research Field Leader: David Schreiner
- Cell production and quality
In cell assembly, functioning cells with high capacity and energy density are produced from individual electrodes. The later errors occur along the process chain, the greater the impact of rejects on costs, which is why quality assurance and process stability are of utmost importance for efficient production at high material costs.
The research field cell production and quality is intensively concerned with cell assembly and the characterization of large-format battery cells. At iwb, research is carried out in the following process steps: electrode cutting (laser cutting and punching), automated stack formation, contacting, packaging, electrolyte filling, sealing and forming. The various influences of the individual process parameters on the finished battery cell are investigated in detail and the parameters are adapted specifically to the materials used and the requirements of the cell. In order to guarantee high productivity, good quality and low costs along the process chain, wb relies on innovative quality assurance methods and data-based process monitoring. Within the individual processes, various inline quality assurance measures ensure compliance with the required specifications. After each process step, the intermediate product also undergoes various quality controls before it is transferred to the next processing process. This ensures a constant, very high quality of the produced cells.
Research Field Leader: Fabian Konwitschny
Joining and separating processes enable the cost-effective manufacture of complex products and implement innovations for lightweight construction, the production of mixed joints and functional integration. The Department Laser Technology is responsible for the investigation and further research of a representative range of joining and separation processes. The theoretical and experimental design of the processes, the integration of system technology as well as the implementation and realization of plant concepts form the center of these investigations. The work is accompanied by numerical simulation of the processes. In addition, modern concepts for process monitoring and data evaluation are developed and used to support process optimization.
Head of the Department: Christian Stadter
The research competencies of the Department Laser Technology:
- Laser manufacturing technology
The laser production technology at iwb deals with basic research on laser beam welding and uses modern system technology for process monitoring. With the help of new approaches to data processing, the sensor signals of process monitoring are used to systematically achieve process improvements.
Research Field Leader: Maximilian Schmöller
- Intelligent joining system technology
The intelligent joining system technology represents an interface between the individual research foci in the Thematic Group Joining and Separation Technology. Here, methods for data acquisition and evaluation are adapted and further developed for use in production technology. Modern methods of data processing from statistics to machine learning are used to provide practical recommendations for industrial implementation.
Research Field Leader: Michael Kick
The Assembly Technology and Robotics Department addresses the final stage of value creation in production - assembly. Here, the costs and quality of products are significantly influenced. Efficient assembly processes, innovative plant technology and assembly systems as well as the targeted use of industrial robots are the key to economical production. The researchers in the Assembly Technology and Robotics Department are therefore working on new solutions to concrete problems to these topics. The current trends in production are also decisive.
Head of the Department: Daria Leiber
The research competencies of the Assembly Technology and Department:
- Cyberphysical assembly lines
The focus is on the digital modelling of products, processes and resources in assembly plants. The aim is to automate the design, selection and configuration of assembly systems based on the requirements of the product or user.
Research Field Leader: Lisa Heuß
- Industrial robotics
The focus is on enabling robots for new areas of application by simplifying programming, increasing accuracy and integrating imaging sensors.
Research Field Leader: Alejandro Magana
The Department Production Management and Logistics aims to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of production. One research focus is the development of methods of change and technology management as well as factory planning and analysis. In addition, the area is also researching competence-oriented work and production systems against the backdrop of demographic change and the increasing digitisation of the production environment. Another area of research is optimization in industrial practice, where production engineering issues (e. g. layout and route planning) are solved by the use of mathematical optimization methods.
Head of the Department: Harald Bauer
The research competencies of the Department Production Management and Logistics:
- Innovation management in production
The aim of the research field Innovation Management in Production is to explore and further develop the fundamentals of innovative production. This includes in particular concepts, models, methods and processes of technology and change management as well as factory planning and analysis.
Research Field Leader: Felix Brandl
- Human being in the factory
The aim of the research field of human beings in the factory is to investigate the interactions between production employees and the production system and to provide production management solutions for efficient and competent staff deployment in the increasingly digitized production environment.
Research Field Leader: Barbara Tropschuh
- Data analytics in production management
The aim of the research field data analytics in production management is to improve the quality of solutions for industrial problems in the context of production management by using data analytics and methods of artificial intelligence.
Research Field Leader: Simon Zhai
The main task of the Department is the interdisciplinary development, construction and optimization of machine tools as well as the implementation of a suitable methodical approach. One focus is on the investigation and optimization of the dynamic behavior of machine structures. For this purpose, methods for simulation and experimental analysis of the structural behaviour, control and machining processes of machine tools are used. Furthermore, tools and procedures for the development of control software are developed. The control design of complex systems forms an important basis for the development and implementation of integrated adaptive structures and control methods to improve the dynamic machine properties.
Head of the Department: Thomas Semm
The research competencies of the Machine Tools Department:
- Structural behaviour
The aim of this research field is to develop methods for the analysis and optimization of the static, dynamic and thermal behaviour of machine tools taking into account the machining processes.
Research Field Leader: Maximilian Busch
- Intelligent machine tools
Its focus is on signal processing and condition monitoring of machine tools to achieve an optimal system performance and avoid unexpected failures.
Research Field Leader: Julia Schulz
- Friction welding
The focus in this field of research is on the investigation of equipment technology for friction stir welding as well as the weldability of new materials and their mixed joints. Furthermore, approaches for temperature control of the process are investigated and the production and economic use of metal matrix composites are investigated.
Research Field Leader: Roman Hartl
- Process Behaviour
Integration of different manufacturing technologies as well as cooperation of different machines allows to increase the productivity and product quality.
Research Field Leader: Christina Fuchs