Data acquisition and model based process optimization

Dashboard view of in-situ process data from the cleaning line at Fraunhofer IST.
© Fraunhofer IST
Dashboard view of in-situ process data from the cleaning line at Fraunhofer IST.

From raw material to high-tech product with innovative process, process and production technology

At the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST, we keep an eye on the entire product life cycle and develop sustainable products and associated production systems. Digitization, networking and automation are the keys to a holistic design of process chains and their embedding in production systems. Central to our work is a profound understanding of the relationships between the process parameters, the resulting structure of thin films and surfaces, and the final properties of the product. Inline and laboratory analytics create the foundation for this and provide important data for simulation-based approaches, e.g. for a simulation of layer growth or new data-driven approaches based on machine learning.

Zukunftstag 2022 am Fraunhofer IST.
© Fraunhofer IST, Paul Kurze
Multi-chamber system for aqueous cleaning at the Fraunhofer IST, with high reproducibility and flexibility with regard to the materials to be cleaned.

The process chain for the production process starts with the pre-treatment. This can be dry cleaning with atmospheric pressure plasma or wet-chemical cleaning in a modular cleaning system with integrated water treatment. Our cleaning processes also have a digital twin, on the basis of which the processes are further optimized. After cleaning, the coating process takes place. Depending on the application, we have extensive system technology at our disposal in various scaling levels.

This includes, for example, industrial plasma coating systems and electroplating, such as those used for the production of wear protection layers, systems for atomic layer deposition and systems developed in-house such as the EOSS® coating platform for the production of precision-optical or highly conformal coatings, hot-wire CVD coating systems for the production of silicon and diamond layers as well as systems for atmospheric pressure plasma treatment for the production of adhesive and anti-adhesive layers.

Photolithographic structuring of the chromium layer, which has a thickness of only 200 nm, on the kingpin for the production of the complexly routed conductive paths.
© Fraunhofer IST, Falko Oldenburg
Photolithographic structuring of the chromium layer, which has a thickness of only 200 nm, on the kingpin for the production of the complexly routed conductive paths.

With digital twins, which we develop for various systems, it is possible to optimize the processes in advance. Our inline monitoring system MOCCA provides data for automated process control and monitoring. An accompanying analysis ensures product quality and provides additional data for process optimization.

We think of digitization holistically: From the material to the process chain to recycling, we plan sustainable factories. The goal is the sustainable production of high-tech end products such as a smart king pin, which forms the connection between the tractor and semitrailer on the truck. Thanks to our integrated thin-film sensors, it increases safety and reduces fuel consumption. Another example are process chains for energy storage and in particular batteries and components for hydrogen applications. Another example is the development of so-called green tools, which are sustainable high-performance tools adapted to the application. Here we work together with our partners at universities and in particular the institutes from the Fraunhofer Group for Production.

We offer solutions for your applications


In focus

Digitalization in surface technology


Industry solutions

Digital economy

Digitalization and data driven product and process optimization at Fraunhofer IST

At Fraunhofer IST numerous plants for coating and surface treatment are acquiring real time process data and store them in centralized databases. This also includes metadata. Based on this, various concepts for process data visualization and their model- or data driven evaluation are developed and implemented. This activity is an important building block in our strategy towards a systematic digitalization of all processes and process chains. Data driven models enable product and process optimization by various AI or model based approaches. Examples are deep learning based on neural networks, grey-box models or simplified physical models which are real-time capable. We would be glad to support you in your infrastructure implementation towards digitalization via data acquisition and development of tailored product and process models.


From research

Success factor surface cleaning – Cleaning 4.0


From research

Digitization in electroplating technology


From research

Process automation with MOCCA+®