February, 2022

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Norberto López de Lacalle.

Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Centre for Aeronautics – CFAA (UPV)

Could you describe the role of WP3 in InterQ concept?

Quality is an extremely important objective in many high value-added applications. “Quality must be produced, not just controlled” is an old aphorism. In the manufacture of complex parts, quality can be related to process parameters on the one hand, and can be checked in the intermediate steps of the manufacturing process chain on the other.

In this WP3 we are defining new models and digital twins to reduce the risk of component defects, and to predict the quality of a produced item from data coming from both process and new inspection techniques applied “in-process”. We ensure that the information obtained throughout the production process allows us to reduce defects and inspection or metrology times.

Which are the main challenges faced by WP3?

Firstly, new inspection techniques such as optical scanning, in-process metrology, non-destructive techniques and machine vision have to be developed and/or adapted to measure and detect defects; allowing us to describe the limits and main parameters of each technology today. This information, together with process information collected from simple sensors or internal machine signals, are input data for digital twins that allow correlating the first information with the quality of the parts. The new digital twins will be developed using new artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches.

Lack of data is always a major difficulty for the creation of digital twins for manufacturing processes, fortunately, thanks to the participants of our consortium, we are finding ways to overcome these difficulties.

Finally, the integration of different sources of information, machine data, intelligent sensors, mechanistic models, machine vision devices, is always a major difficulty to overcome.

Which will be the outcomes of this WP3?

We are mainly looking for the optimisation of each of the techniques we use in our WP3, for this, the collaboration with our partners is vital and is giving us great and satisfactory results.

On the other hand, we will provide developed and tested models for predicting and obtaining the expected quality, based on quality monitoring or machine process data.

Additionally, the integration of mechanistic models with simulation models will allow us to obtain approximations much closer to reality, helping to improve the design processes of parts, production parameters, machine configuration, among others.

The techniques will be ready for demonstration uses, and the new models will be the basis for new services and applications.

How do you expect that InterQ will change current manufacturing processes?

The number of defects that can be detected early in the process and corrected in the final stages of production will be dramatically increased and improved, which will reduce the time and money wasted by current ways of performing only final metrology checks.

In high liability applications, such as turbine components, power gearboxes and automotive applications, this will lead to savings and a reduction in failures of manufactured components.

On the other hand, safety will increase as we will be able to reduce machine defects that can cause risks to operators and users in general.

INTERQ is supported by the European Union. Have you participated in more projects funded by the EU? How do you evaluate them?

European projects are oriented towards tangible results both for consortium partners and for the industrial and scientific communities. In this aspect, Europe is a driving force to foster R&D, and particularly InterQ is a large project with a clear line of research and collaboration, but always with the focus on showing new concepts and put them into practice in three final demonstrators.

Indeed, research involves challenges and new knowledge, but it is key to test them against the demonstrators, in this case, three key ones for Europe: aero engines, windmills and new automotive components. We are using data, algorithms and new ideas, but all with a useful and tangible application in mind.

The experience in past European projects has been more than gratifying, the number of friends and partners that you meet along the way have allowed us to learn, train, grow and continue participating in new proposals and to be able to transmit our knowledge to the member companies of our association, as well as to the scientific community in general, through different scientific publications in high impact journals and participation in leading conferences in the sector. We are sure that the results we obtain from this project will be in line with and better than the expectations we had from the beginning.