Nowadays strain, force, torque, pressure, temperature and vibration measurements for machines or components rely on electrical surface-mounted sensors that require stringent and extensive cabling procedures while the sensors themselves can experience interference, cross-talk, as well as signal and sensitivity drift over their limited lifetime. Fibre optic sensing (FOS) technology allows making the same measurements with a single sensor technology and suffers much less from these drawbacks. FOS has so far only gained acceptance within a limited range of industries (essentially energy and civil infrastructure). But as the cost of the peripheral interrogation and signal processing hardware is decreasing rapidly, FOS now becomes accessible for manufacturing industries, allowing for its integration in production lines and even within individual machines.
The benefits of FOS-based monitoring techniques are the following:
- They only require minimally intrusive installation inside or on the outer surface of existing components in challenging locations (e.g. inside gearbox).
- They feature a long lifetime and high fatigue resistance.
- They are self-referencing, drift-free and potentially auto-calibrated.
- They can deliver high-resolution measurement data of multiple physical measurands with a one single sensor technology.
However, the existing installation techniques on one hand and the processing software of FOS for the interpretation of the measurement data on the other hand cannot be directly transferred from its conventional application domains to those of manufacturing and machine monitoring.
In this project, we will work on the development of a robust, self-referencing, drift-free and potentially auto-calibrated sensor technology that can measure multiple measurands and could allow dependable implementations of Industry 4.0 monitoring strategies with the aim of preventive maintenance and/or machine control.
The industrial target group includes
- Monitoring companies
- Machine manufacturers
- Drive train manufacturers
Companies that are active in the value chain of optical fibre sensors
FOS4I4 is an ICON-project (Interdisciplinair Coöperatief Onderzoek – Interdisciplinary Cooperative Research). We are looking for companies to join the consortium and work with us on the valorisation of the project.