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Radar for Manufacturing

The objective to gain information within technical processes and manufacturing procedures or during the operation of machines is an everyday issue for optimization activities in the industry. Regulatory interventions across various industrial processes can be conducted based on the acquired information. Quality assurance, product analysis, waste minimization, throughput improvement and costs reduction become feasible in a more efficient way.

However, harsh environmental conditions predominantly ask for sensor technologies aside classical sensing methods [1] [2] [3]. Infrared, ultrasound and optics typically fail, or at least are highly restricted, in scenarios with extreme temperature and pressure gradients. Restricted visual line of sight due to high airborne concentrations with particles, aerosols, dust or dense smoke is also hardly resolvable by classical sensors. Even more, for most subsurface investigations, i.e. the penetration of optically opaque dielectric materials, classical sensors are simply useless. X-ray would be a possible alternative, but due to its harmful radiation and strict regulatory restrictions and requirements it is mostly declined.

Under these harsh conditions the exploitation of electromagnetic radiation, as the carrier of the Radarinformation, is without any practical alternative. Ultra wideband Radar (UWB) sensors  are most appropriate for short range super-resolution operations up to several meters [4]. Since more than one decade, research groups have shown the potential of UWB Radar at gaining information about the scenario, a technical progress, the environment or a substance – by remote, non-destructive, continuous, very precisely (in sub mm range) and with a harmless non-ionizing radiation power. The results are no longer just limited to a laboratory, but especially the demands of practical systems and real world requirements were met and algorithms have been experimentally evaluated highly successful.

UWB Radar has matured and is not only a vision anymore!

For getting more concrete, interaction of UWB pulses  with materials and targets provide vast information about the target’s shape, position, motion dynamics, structural time variance, material composition, contour consistency and so forth [5].

For instance, the processes of a 24/7 machine are monitored online in a preventive manner. The UWB Radar system recognizes the smallest deviations of the process regardless of temperature (up to hundreds of °C), non-existing visibility, harsh climatic conditions and significant motion dynamics. An alarm can be activated before a serious failure occurs. If thereby the standstill periods are minimized over the time by only some little percentage and machine maintenance work can be reduced, the machine operator will remain a considerable overall profit.