Lightweight construction automation


Lightweight construction automation through an inline measuring system

Bild: Lightweight construction automation

The need for lightweight materials is rapidly increasing. However, production processes with adequate inline measurement technology suitable for mass production are still in their infancy. A research project initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research wants to change this situation.

A process for the automotive mass production will be drafted by spring of 2016, within the scope of the project “Process-oriented research on photonic tools for bonding of multi-material lightweight structures in motor vehicles”. On one hand, this process will define the optimal bonding technique for laser-treated material pairings consisting of metal and fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP), and on the other hand, it will integrate the appropriate inline measurement technology into the production process. AiMESS Services GmbH based in Burg (Germany), with their patented 3D infrared scanner R3Dscan that meets all the requirements for the automated use in the production line, is the project partner in the metrology area: The innovative fringe projection system detects lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber, glass fiber and fiber-reinforced plastics, without having to treat the surface of the object to be measured, enabling measurements in the production cycle. Therefore, the system differs fundamentally from the white light scanners normally used for 3D surface data acquisition.

Operating principle

Unlike conventional fringe projection systems, AiMESS’ 3D scanner does not analyze the reflection, but the energy absorbed by the object to be measured. This energy is converted into heat, which is captured by the system using an infrared detector. Since the surface finish is not relevant for the method patented by AiMESS, the infrared scanner can precisely scan transparent, dark or reflective surfaces. As a result, the R3Dscan is able to separate the transparent matrix of the laser-treated metal-FRP-pairing from its fiber in order to identify quality relevant surface parameters of the laser-treated lightweight material. Based on this data, the bonding success can be safely predicted.

Control 2014: Higher performance in a more compact housing

A prototype of the R3Dscan was presented for the first time at the Control 2013. At the Control 2014, AiMESS presents an optimized system that surpasses the prototype in a functional and cosmetic way: The housing volume was reduced by 40 percent. This reduction of material and volume leads to an optimized beam path during the measurement. At the same time, the compact design makes handling easier. In addition, the AiMESS development team introduced a new cooling concept so that the R3Dscan can also be operated at room temperatures above 30°C (86°F).

“With the R3Dscan, which is the result of more than 30,000 hours of development work, we can quickly respond to the changing technology in the automotive industry,” said Dr. Ernst Wiedenmann, Director of Research & Development at AiMESS. “The measurement technology of the future must be smart and provide an automated production process interconnected with other means of production. At the same time, the inline capability of metrological detection of lightweight materials must be ensured. It is important to provide already today highly accurate and efficient inspection methods that will meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Further information about the inline measurement of lightweight materials will be provided on the AiMESS booth at the Control show (stand 7203 in hall 7).

Please note: Sales partner for the R3Dscan is AiMESS Products GmbH,


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