Cluster of Excellence
Cluster of Excellence "Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage-Countries"
Within the scope of the Excellence Initiative which has been initiated by the Federal Government and the States in order to enhance German research and university institutions, actually several decisions have been made in favour of RWTH Aachen University. Thus, as from the year 2006, even two Clusters of Excellence with the emphasis on engineering and one engineering graduate school for the promotion of the doctoral training at RWTH Aachen University have been supported.
The Aachen Cluster of Excellence "Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage-Countries" has, throughout Germany, prevailed as the only initiative of production technology. The Federal Government, the Ministers for Research of the States and also the Science Council do, with this decision, take account of the special importance of production technology for a high-wage-country, such as Germany, and grant responsibility for the great challenges of the development of sustainable, ongoing production technology to the Aachen scientists in order to contribute to a solution of the location issue.
The Government’s decision about the allocation of subsidies for the second round of the Excellence Initiative in June 2012, has, again, been a success for the Cluster of Excellence "Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage-Countries". More than 20 research institutes of RWTH Aachen University are participating in the Cluster of Excellence which is headed by Professor Brecher, WZL. From the side of the production technology, the Cluster is dedicated to contribute towards the preservation of job-market relevant production in the high-wage countries. In this connection, the products which do not only concern niche markets but also volume markets are economically relevant. In order to solve the discussed questions, a fundamentally modified comprehension of product and production technological connections is, in some cases, required. The Cluster of Excellence is, therefore, aiming for the acquisition of a sustainable production-scientific strategy and theory and also for the required technological approaches where organisational and technological innovation is promoted.
The Welding and Joining Institute, ISF, is, within the scope of the Cluster of Excellence, participating in work for the sub-clusters C2 "Multi-Technology Production Systems", C3 - "Multi-Technology Products" and D2 - "Cognition Enhanced, Self-Optimising Manufacturing Processes". In the work for sub-cluster C2, heating and welding processes are integrated into a sheet metal forming machine with the aim of expanding process limits and production possibilities. The application of a production system with this combination is, particularly used for the production of sheet parts with different plate thickness or dissimilar materials which are produced by the production steps ‘forming’ and ‘welding’ with the advantage that this is carried out with increased efficiency by the universal production system. Within the scope of sub-project C3, joining technologies for material combinations which are difficult to join are being developed and advanced further. The aim is the shortening of the process chain, compared with the state-of-the-art. Here, particularly the multi-technology product and the question which effects the product design may have on economical, ecological and social aspects, are in the focus of our research work. Within the framework of sub-cluster D "Self-Optimising Production Systems" the term ‘self-optimisation’ is understood to be cross-process over the entire process chain. That means that - within the production chain - all information about the actual state of the product and also of the product history is stored in all process stations which would allow the adaptation of the actual production process. The objective is to guarantee for the ultimately required quality of the product by increasing the adaptation capability of the GMA welding process for the set-up process and also for the running welding process. Thus, reproducible, high-quality welds shall, independent from weld position, weld run position and welding position be guaranteed for complex 3-D component structures.