● Talento Transformación Digital S.L.
● plating electronic GmbH
Aluminium anodising is a surface treatment technique for producing oxide layers over the bare metal surface to protect it from corrosion. However, alumina acts as an insulating layer and its growth behaviour renders the control of the process and treatment conditions a challenge as process parameters must be adjusted during anodization to avoid high scrap ratios. Additionally, small changes in alloy composition and geometries require continuous experimental adjustments and reprocessing resulting in high extra-costs for anodising companies.
The AUTOTREAT project aims to develop an autonomous power supply able to adjust anodising conditions on real-time. For this sake, the consortium will develop a decision algorithm based on the measurement of electrochemical indicators in combination with computer-based models. The algorithm will be implemented in the control unit of the treatment process to correlate the measured electrochemical signals with the thickness, porosity and roughness of the resulting oxide layers and adjusts the process parameters, if necessary, to avoid defects and burning of the treated specimen. Thus, plant operation will become faster, easier and more sustainable by avoiding the currently used experimental adjustment (= trial and error) of anodising conditions and reduction of waste and scrap metal.
The Hereon team will develop the required computer models to estimate the progression and quality of the oxide layer growth. First, computationally expensive continuum models are developed to simulate different phases of the surface treatment carried out with different experimental processing parameters. The simulation results obtained will subsequently be used to train a data-driven model to include the time-intensive simulations in the decision-making process in close cooperation with the consortium. Moreover, the Hereon team will contribute to the development of a digital twin of the anodization process for aluminium.
AUTOTREAT is funded in the frame of EUROSTARS, the European Union Partnership on innovative Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). It is a joint program between more than 30 EUREKA member countries and the European Union.