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COMbination of non-contact, high speed monitoring and non-destructive techniques applicable to LASER Based Manufacturing through a self-learning system

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - COMBILASER (COMbination of non-contact, high speed monitoring and non-destructive techniques applicable to LASER Based Manufacturing through a self-learning system)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-12-31

COMbination of non-contact, high speed monitoring and non-destructive techniques applicable to LASER Based Manufacturing through a self-learning system (COMBILASER) an European research project coordinated by HIDRIA AET that has been chosen for co-financing from the European Commission by the Horizon 2020 Factories of the Future call.

The vision of COMBILASER presents a great development leap forward in terms of a pioneering approach that combines all aspects of defect avoidance in welding and cladding processes into an integral or holistic concept.

The vision of the partners of the COMBILASER project is to create a solution that will with its use-cases serve as a model for different branches of European industry (automotive, aeronautic /aerospace, railway, electronics, capital goods etc.) on how to address the ever more demanding standards in the industry when manufacturing products using laser welding / laser melting or cladding processes.

By integrating the industrial laser process with a seamless set up and a Self-Learning module, the COMBILASER project aims to minimize human expert interveNtion and in doing so reduce process optimization loop for new applications. When taking into account the ever changing market rules and increased manufacturing flexibility demands from customers, the COMBILASER project aims to create a solutions that can act as an industrial driver from many European industries in the future.

In its three industrial use-cases ranging from automotive (welding of a pressure-sensor glow plug for diesel motors), capital goods (laser welding of flame sensor device) and oil&gas industry (valve cladding process) divide the main objective of COMBILASER into following sub-objectives:

• Productivity increase of about 35 % in gas valves repairing process due to required re-works reduction (cladding layer and base material cracking avoidance).
• Allow to take to the market new generation of pressure sensor glow plug 45 % faster thanks to the avoidance of cracking appearance using the developed SLS.
• Reduce time-to-market of new flame device sensors by at least 45 % thanks to acquired knowledge in previous products manufacturing thanks to SLS.
• Reduction of scrap parts and wastes in new pressure sensors (for glow plugs) manufacturing processes of up to a 50 % through laser welding monitoring and process parameters control.
• Decrease the number of flame sensor defective parts up to 75 % thanks to the continuous increase in LBW process knowledge.
• Zero failure parts delivered to the customers in all of the use cases making use of in-line advanced NDTs to 100% of manufactured parts.

COMBILASER consortium brings together a consortium of 12 partners from 7 different European states. It is comprised of LEs, SMEs, R&D institutes and a university.
Milestones achieved:

The project consortium achieved the following milestones the M24-M36 period:
MS12: System prototype fully developed and validated at laboratory level
MS13: Validation of prototype at relevant environment (achieved on target on 31.12.2017. The report was published later in beginning of January)
MS14: Validation at industrial level
MS15: Final reporting period
MS16: Final PDER created

Deliverables submitted:

D5.2 – Compact solution fabricated
D6.1 – Prototype validation at pre-industrial level
D6.2 – System validation report in the end users production lines
D7.4 – Final PDER
D8.3 – 36 monthly progress report
D8.4 – Publishable final report

Developed solutions were studied in the 3 different use cases and facilities:

1. Hidria AET (HAET) in Tolmin, Slovenia
2. Orklic (ORK) use case in Ordizia, Spain
3. TMComas (TMC) use case in Blanes, Spain

The COMBILASER proejct employed a two-stage testing and validation process. Prior to the final validation, which as stated ended in December 2017, proposed systems were previously tested in the laboratory scale for each use case. The performed tests were carried out at the laboratory facilities of COMBILASER development partners in form of a detailed simulation. Tests for Hidria case were carried out at Laser Zentrum Hannover facilities, whereas both ORKLI and Talleres Mecánicos COMAS cases were performed at IK4-LORTEK facilities. Later, the developed setups were transferred to the industrial partners' premises and tested in their second stage in real industrial environment (see the enclosed pictures for each UC).

Now, at the end of the COMBILASER project, it can be stated that we succeeded despite some deviations from the initial proposal. For each use case concrete conclusions were reached on practical usability of the proposed monitoring and NDT solutions and their interlinking with the developed Self-Learning System (SLS).

Final validated solutions for each UC are as follows:

Self-Learning System (SLS) integrated with:
Spectral signal monitoring
Melt-pool diameter measuring system
SLS feature: as prediction tool via leak test to ‘guide’ model - the learning function of the SLS

Self-Learning System (SLS) integrated with:
Post-welding inspection system
SLS feature: post-weld inspection system information input at pre-industrial level

Self-Learning System (SLS) integrated with:
Laser Power control system.
SLS feature: optimization tool for variable process conditions

1 NAME: Development of two different non-contact NDTs (Thermography and Laser Ultrasonics), TYPE: new product OWNER: LOR, REC(shared ownership) COMMERCIALIZATION & PATENT APPLICATION: possibilities and timeframe not clear yet
2 NAME: Compact laser monitoring solution ready to integrate in industrial environment, incorporating self-learning algorithms. TYPE: new product OWNER: LZH, 4D, CAV, HAET (shared ownership) COMMERCIALIZATION & PATENT APPLICATION: min. 3-5- years after the project
3 Underpinning computational algorithms for the creation of a self-learning-system (SLS) towards ‘zero-defects manufacturing, TYPE: new product & new process OWNER: USFD COMMERCIALIZATION & PATENT APPLICATION: planning discussions with possible investors & actively investigating options for patent protection
4 New technological process that enables conversion of welding process signals TYPE: New process OWNER: Not specified yet COMMERCIALIZATION & PATENT APPLICATION: contemplating discussions with possible investors

POSSIBLE PATENT APPLICATION TALKS: In the last part of the project another idea was put forward by the USFD: The TMC UC could use the SLS as an optimization tool. SLS would be applied to multi-objective optimization for cladding. This has potentially great outcomes for breakthrough in this technological field; Namely, the SLS could be fed into the LSL developed controller. Thus, the SLS could be used to connect to controller and predict what is the effect on hardness – this would give us a cladding process hardness map. After research by the USFD it was concluded that no scientific papers for such optimization of cladding process based on prediction parameters. This means that such a setup has potential for a patent application.