The research focus of the Process Chains and Forming Units department concentrates on the technical and economic analysis of forming processes, the development of new units and processes as well as the optimization of production processes through the digitization of the process chain using artificial intelligence methods within the framework of industry 4.0. The main focus is on the machines, tools, and processes of forming technology.

In view of the increasing complexity of sales markets, flexible production systems are becoming the focus of attention due to increasing ecological and economic uncertainty. Current approaches aim at developing forming units and processes that are capable of producing various products without significant set-up costs and are able to control specific product properties in the forming process. At the Institute for Production Engineering and Forming Machines (PtU), trend-setting innovations were achieved through the development of innovative roller and plain bearings and the introduction of a multi-technology machine with three-dimensional ram movement.

The development of new process chains focuses on optimizing their economic efficiency and identifying potential opportunities for additional technologies. A holistic view of the value-added chain and the associated coupling between the production processes and the final material and product properties require new approaches in the design and development of process chains. The aim is therefore to design process chains in such a way that they are better than conventional manufacturing processes in terms of resource efficiency, scalability and technological properties. In various research groups at the PtU, the development, optimization and investigation of new and existing process chains for use in industrial environments is therefore carried out.

Products manufactured by forming processes are usually the result of a value chain consisting of a number of individual processes. For this reason, the aim is to understand the interactions through an analysis of the process chain, to derive optimization requirements and to develop new, improved process chains on this basis. This goal can be achieved by digitizing the process chains and developing AI-supported analysis methods. In several research projects at the PtU the sensoric monitoring of forming processes, the development of AI applications as well as the support of forming companies in the digitization of their processes is carried out.