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Connected test bed – crucial in the coronavirus pandemic

Thanks to RISE’s new connected test bed for advanced materials, crucial projects for the future production of lightweight products can progress, despite restrictions on travel and meetings.
“We are seeing great improvement in quality and an increased level of innovation due to the fact that our customers can continue to participate in our tests, albeit online,” says Boel Wadman at RISE.

The requirements being placed on current and future products are increasing. Lighter weights, longer service lives, and better utilisation of materials are prerequisites for sustainable development and enhanced competitiveness. LIGHTest, RISE’s test bed for advanced materials, primarily forms lightweight products made of composites and metals at two test bed nodes in Olofström and Piteå, both of which now have access to online testing.

– “We started streaming tests for customers and students as early as spring 2019. But the already wide need increased owing to the restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We are pleased that we had already started and that the work involved with testing did not need to be slowed down,” says Boel Wadman, Project Manager for LIGHTest at RISE.

Part of the government’s strategic collaboration programme

The test bed and the test bed’s connectivity constitute two separate projects being run by RISE and funded by Vinnova. The projects are part of the government’s strategic collaboration programme Connected Industry and New Materials, and fall under the Metallic Materials innovation programme. The test bed enables companies, researchers and other stakeholders to develop and test future materials and products.

– “We have rigged up numerous cameras and computers in front of the press, along with sensors inside the press to measure temperatures and forces, which can be presented visually in different views selected by the customer,” says Boel. “Customers and students can follow the entire process remotely and can offer input and ask questions during the work. This type of collaboration is extremely important.”

Discussions can be held in real time and quick decisions can be made

GKN Aerospace is one of the customers who has carried out tests remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

– “It’s interesting for the future. It allows for participation during live testing with good quality. Discussions can be held in real time and quick decisions can be made,” says Fredrik Niklasson, Process Engineer, Sheet Metal Forming, Powder Bed Fusion of Titanium, from GKN Aerospace.

Connectivity facilitates skills development

Boel Wadman teaches sheet metal forming at Chalmers University of Technology, and the test bed gives students the opportunity to digitally participate in tests that are difficult to access physically. This year, when all classes were held remotely, researcher Eva-Lis Odenberger was also able to lecture from Olofström.

–“Thanks to the test bed’s connectivity, the students could see the work in the Olofström press and even influence the process,” says Eva-Lis. “This is also important for skills development.”

Confidentiality requires a high level of cybersecurity

The materials and products tested in the test bed have typically not yet been released on the market. For this reason, confidentiality is paramount.

– “Our work involves creating tomorrow’s materials and products, and we therefore place a great deal of focus on cybersecurity when we stream and film the tests,” says Boel. “We are very grateful for the cybersecurity expertise we possess in RISE.”

Published: 2020-04-30
Boel Wadman

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Boel Wadman

Forsknings- och affärsutvecklare

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