Intelligent diagnostic interfaces for networked IoT systems

Whether in automobiles - especially in terms of autonomous driving - or in the production of tomorrow: connectors and electrical connection technologies play a crucial role in digital networking: they are the main interface between machines, controllers and data processing systems and thus form the basis for functionality, ease of use and reliability in automation technology. Researchers at Fraunhofer EMFT are working on so-called Cyber Physical Connectors, a new generation of active, "intelligent" connectors, in a project of the same name. 

Electrical Connection Technology as Diagnostic Interface
© Fraunhofer EMFT/ Bernd Müller
Wireless intelligent PCB connector for continuous measurement of contact temperature and current load of the individual contact as basic data for preventive maintenance

The aim is to integrate miniaturized sensor systems into the connectors in order to monitor the connection quality, among other things. In the long term, the integrated sensors could be used for a kind of condition monitoring for the connected devices and monitor energy consumption, for example. 

In the "foil sensor technology" subproject, the team developed a generally applicable process for applying (thinned) silicon-based sensor technology to flexible or rigid-flex printed circuit boards. Thanks to the high degree of miniaturization, these systems can be integrated into almost all connector housings or data and power networking components. The results of the reliability experiments are above the requirements for industrial electronics. The method can be transferred to any connector system with little effort and is available to partners from industry and research. 

© Fraunhofer EMFT/ Bernd Müller
Cyber Physical Connector
© Fraunhofer EMFT/ Bernd Müller
Crimping machine for automotive applications

In the " concept study on friction corrosion" sub-project, it was possible to gain essential insights into the modeling of damage mechanisms of commercial connector systems. For example, experiments using the Fraunhofer EMFT friction corrosion test rig show that the resistance of connectors increases intermittently as the friction path progresses. This behavior can be observed in both the fast (1Hz to 10Hz friction frequency) and the extremely slow experiment (0.075Hz friction frequency). A detailed investigation of the contact resistances and comparison with a simultaneous measurement of the contact normal force as a function of the relative position of the two connector halves can explain this behavior. Thus, the obtained results make an elementary contribution to a future diagnostic model for autonomous vehicles.

The project is funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy under reference AZ 43-6622/532/4.



You might also be interested in:

Service Offering: Electrical Interconnection Technologies

Project: Failsafe electronics for autonomous driving