Smart Production

Intelligente Produktion und Qualitätskontrolle von Kleinserien mittels additiver Fertigung (3D-Druck) und eines flexibel programmierbaren Tiefziehwerkzeugs.

The project develops and investigates processes, machines and materials for the production of goods in small batches (number of pieces: 1-1,000). These are particularly challenging in the production process, and especially with regard to economic considerations, since fixed costs (e.g., development and production of moulds, set-up costs) represent a considerable proportion of the production costs, thereby rendering the products either comparatively expensive or uneconomical.

In the face of the ever-increasing demand for individual solutions and products, as well as the increasing demand for prototypes due to ever shorter innovation cycles, there has been a strong trend for several years towards flexible production processes. The project “Smart Production” addresses this challenge with the development of
a) intelligent 3D printing techniques for materials that were previously unprintable,
b) a flexibly programmable deep-drawing tool, and
c) new non-destructive measuring systems for quality control
This will make the production of small batches cheaper and more flexible. In addition to employing industrially usable soft materials in additive processes, the project aims to carry out a scale-up that has not yet existed of up to approximately 2 m² for both 3D printing and for the flexible deep-drawing mould. New measuring methods will lead to savings on materials, avoid waste, and create a better quality of products, as well as producing new operational purposes.

In the area of additive manufacturing, it was shown that TPE can be printed in different hardnesses. The current area of application in the project are laboratory samples for door seals. At the moment a conveyor belt printer is being worked on, which could, for example, print door seals in one piece.
With the Fleximould it is possible to thermoform suitable materials on a size of 1600 mm x 600 mm and 300 mm height. The form is automatically adjusted in several hours with pins based on a file template. Currently, work is being done on smoothing the surface so that the pin imprints are compensated.
For the non-destructive coating thickness measurement system, the subsystems THz measurement technology and robotics were combined, so that it is possible to inspect larger areas. Currently, the subsystems and their communication are being improved in order to achieve an optimal overall system.


Planned project costs

6.259.906,00 €

Project Duration

1.1.2017 - 31.12.2020


Increase of cross-border innovation in the programme area

Lead Partner

Netzwerk Oberfläche NRW e.V.

Project partners

Hochschule Niederrhein, Demcon Advanced Mechatronics Enschede B.V. , Parthian Technology B.V., Saxion Hogeschool, DNL-mobiel GmbH, Systec Elektronik und Software GmbH , Urbanmaker UG, Bond High Performance 3D Technology b.v., ITA Industrie-Technik Ahlen GmbH, HS Düsseldorf, Grunewald GmbH & Co. KG, Aeolus Coatings B.V., Stichting Polymer Science Park, Cato Composite Innovations B.V.


Financer Amount
Hochschule Niederrhein 212.517,00 €
Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat 316.085,09 €
Stichting Polymer Science Park 57.046,00 €
Provincie Overijssel 173.398,69 €
HS Düsseldorf 198.649,00 €
Provincie Gelderland 23.480,50 €
ITA Industrie-Technik Ahlen GmbH 99.594,00 €
Cato Composite Innovations B.V. 112.576,00 €
Urbanmaker UG 122.942,00 €
MWIDE NRW 526.808,48 €
Provincie Fryslân 13.847,08 €
Grunewald GmbH & Co. KG 59.339,00 €
Systec Elektronik und Software GmbH 77.207,00 €
Saxion Hogeschool 40.328,00 €
Demcon Advanced Mechatronics Enschede B.V. 663.267,16 €
Parthian Technology B.V. 95.820,00 €
DNL-mobiel GmbH 37.068,00 €
EFRE / EFRO 3.129.952,00 €
Netzwerk Oberfläche NRW e.V. 63.601,00 €
Aeolus Coatings B.V. 64.700,00 €
Bond High Performance 3D Technology b.v. 171.680,00 €