Industry 4.0 for the energy sector
Advanced monitoring and instrumentation systems, using techniques based on electromagnetic signals, ultrasound, microwave and optical sensors
Design of ad hoc measurement principles and implementation of measurement instruments:
Non-destructive inspection and characterization techniques based on contact-based electromagnetic measurements that are sensitive to the microstructure and mechanical properties of components made of steel, which enables quality control for products or production processes. Examples of applications are: characterization of surface hardness and depth of the hardened layer in surface treatments of components such as spindles, gears, camshafts, crankshafts; analyzing residual stresses, characterizing and detecting grinding burns; analyzing the degradation of operating components such as steel cables and rails.
Measurement and characterization techniques that use ultrasound to measure physical parameters and alterations in materials (corrosion, etc.).
Non-destructive and remote inspection and characterization techniques (without contact with the material) using RF waves and microwaves (frequencies ranging from a few Hz to 110 GHz). These techniques make it possible to analyze properties of non-conductive materials, such as their dielectric constant, as well as characteristics and surface defects of conductive materials. It is also possible to detect the humidity level in materials such as earth or concrete.
Optical techniques (using cameras and/or lasers) to perform inspections with a high degree of precision (orders of a few microns) in both static and dynamic environments. These include inspections related to metrology (dimensional control) and defectology (surface quality). The objective is to improve the productivity of the process by ensuring "zero defects" in parts and reducing costs. Achieving these levels of precision in static environments is inherently complex, and achieving these same levels in dynamic environments, such as in the inspection of moving objects (e.g. on a conveyor belt), brings further differentiation.
Integration of measurement technologies into comprehensive local and remote monitoring solutions, ranging from hardware development for sensors and (wireless) communications to application software.
Cybersecure communications in harsh environments
Ceit has been many years' experience designing low-cost and ultra-low-consumption sensor nodes and building wireless networks that allow for the remote monitoring of infrastructures, machines and parts, thereby reducing costs as well as the time spent on maintenance and other operations.
An important activity is the design of robust and cybersecure wireless communications that allow the sensor network to be managed remotely in environments with many metal elements, a high degree of humidity, salinity and/or temperature. Ceit seeks to develop solutions applying the latest technologies such as ZigBee, LoRA, UWB, WirelessHART, including a combination of these technologies, in the design of ad hoc communication protocols to offer the best benefits in terms of scope, consumption and data rate while always taking into account the use case in which the system has to operate to get a robust and inexpensive wireless link.
Cognitive robotics: virtual and augmented reality and collaborative robotics
We develop the technologies needed to create a work unit where human and robot operators work collaboratively. Robots need advanced spatial reasoning and perception capabilities to be able to perform tasks that require greater flexibility and skill than the tasks they are to perform in industry (namely tasks for which all actions are pre-programmed and the robot has little ability to adapt its movements to new situations).
Greater flexibility in robots allows them to execute new tasks and be integrated into environments that were previously forbidden to them, such as in applications in which human and robotic operators share tasks at the same time, each applying their best capabilities. Technologies such as virtual reality (e.g. using digital twin to simulate different robot-human scenarios) and augmented reality (e.g. object tracking, 3D reconstruction from SLAM) are technologies that are making most of advanced robotics applications possible. In addition, augmented reality entails a natural communication interface between operator and robot.