DIgital and Intelligent MOdular FACtories - DIMOFAC for short - is a research project launched by the European Industry 4.0. The aim of the project is to support factories in the introduction of an intelligent factory architecture so that they can respond better to personalized demand and changing market dynamics.

DIMOFAC was launched in October 2019. Since then, a consortium of more than 30 European partners - including research and technology organizations, industrial software and technology companies, industrial pilot plants and industry associations - have been working on individual automated solutions that enable factories to reconfigure their assembly lines more quickly and thus respond better to changes in demand. An outstanding feature is the adaptability with which a flexible manufacturing system can be integrated into different production environments. The solutions developed were tested on pilot lines at Albéa Services, Philips Consumer Lifestyle, VDL Industrial Modules, Schaltag and ÉireComposites. Fill was involved in the pilot line of the Irish component manufacturer ÉireComposites.

ÉireComposites pilot line
Small batches of between 10 and 50 units characterize the production of components for the aerospace industry. The basic building blocks of these components are sheets made of PEEK (polyether ether ketone), a tough, wear-resistant plastic with excellent resistance to high temperatures and energy radiation. PEEK is very dimensionally stable and can withstand high mechanical loads. As the development and production phases are not currently integrated into ÉireComposites' production chain, the production of a new component requires a great deal of manual effort.

ACCUBOT high-precision robot
Various applications in the composites industry require precise and rigid kinematics. As standard industrial robots are not designed to meet this requirement, FILL developed the ACCUBOT high-precision robot. Based on powerful path planning capabilities, the mechanics were extended to include direct measuring systems at the robot joints to eliminate backlash and other negative influences from the gearbox.
The use of secondary encoders is the key to generating deterministic behavior of the serial kinematics, minimizing the repeatability error and thus improving the quality of the subsequent absolute calibration. The combination of these secondary encoders with advanced compensation based on a high-order kinematic model calculated in real time in the controller's interpolation cycle results in industry-leading absolute positioning accuracy of less than 0.15 mm. The ACCUBOT is therefore the perfect basis for any type of path- or surface-based CAD/CAM process in the aerospace industry.

Integration of production modules
Fill's task in the DIMOFAC project was to develop corresponding production modules for induction, laser welding and scanning technology in cooperation with other project partners in order to cover various manufacturing processes. The collaboration with both the external partners and our colleagues at Fill worked extremely well, enabling the modules to be integrated into our ACCUBOT high-precision robot and facilitating automated production at the highest level.

Mount for satellites
The pilot plant at Fill produced an aerospace bracket that is used to mount components on a satellite. The DIMOFAC solution offers the possibility to replace heavy metal brackets with more sustainable, lightweight brackets made of multiple materials (e.g. reinforced thermoplastic composite and aluminum inserts).

Positive evaluation
On February 28 and 29, 2024, the project partners met at Fill for the final event, the so-called "Project General Assembly". The expert commissioned by the EU, Dr. Wilfried Lerch, carried out the technical evaluation. The demonstration line set up was convincing across the board and received a positive assessment.

Future Lab highlight
During the closing event, the Fill project team took the opportunity to present our company to the visitors. In addition to the great location, the guests were particularly impressed by our talent lab: "The Future Lab concept is exactly what is being sought at EU level to introduce children and young people to technology in a playful way," said Kunal Suri, R&D Project Manager at CEA. This statement once again confirms Fill's pioneering role in the education and training of future generations.

Great team effort
The fact that this EU project could be evaluated so positively and successfully completed after more than four years is thanks to each and every one of Fill's various departments. Thank you very much for your great commitment - We are one!

DIMOFAC in figures
Estimated project costs:              19,133,232.49 euros
EU contribution applied for:        14,163,497.63 euros
Project start:                                 1.10.2019
Project end:                                   31.3.2024

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 870092.

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