Fraunhofer ILT contributes to project for AI-integrated AM railway parts

November 4, 2021

At Formnext 2021, Fraunhofer ILT will showcase sensor integration using an additively manufactured demonstrator (Courtesy Fraunhofer ILT)

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT), Aachen, Germany, have recently been working with ME-Messsysteme GmbH, vedisys AG, and DATAbility GmbH to develop maintenance and repair solutions at DB Systemtechnik GmbH, Europe’s largest competence centre for railway technology. As part of the SenseTrAIn project, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi, researchers aim to develop a simple, cost-effective AI-supported sensor system capable of efficiently monitoring safety functions for rail transport by 2024.

The SenseTrAIn project utilises Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) to integrate electronic components (e.g., sensors and actuators) into metallic components. By pausing the build process at the right time, sensors can be integrated into the additively manufactured component before its completion. Networked and controlled by AI, the finished system is intended to signal whether, when and where a replacement or repair is necessary – as such, there is the necessity for wireless data transmission. This is expected to be implemented with the help of 5G technology.

The project partners also identified possible applications using technology scouting; promising fields include door mechanisms, primary & yaw dampers and, above all, wheelset bearing caps, which seal off wheel bearing housings. The latter is a critical component from a maintenance perspective: here, under increased load, the temperature rises and there is a great risk of wear. Temperature and acceleration sensors integrated into the cover could detect hot runners themselves as well as the causes at an early stage. The use of AI in combination with the sensors makes detection and further processing possible in the first place.

But no AI works well without a database. While, ideally, it should be generated directly on the systems controlled, researchers at Fraunhofer ILT have stated the impossibility of this. Instead, extensive testing under realistic conditions is being carried out in the TrainLab of the Deutsche Bahn Technik. The data obtained through this lab testing phase will be used to train the AI before the system is tested in everyday operation.

Fraunhofer ILT intends to showcase a practical demonstrator of this sensor-integrated AM technology at Formnext 2021.

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap