The laser group at Ceit-IK4 is leading a consortium made up of five institutions with the goal of developing an optical encoder that is compatible with Industry 4.0
A multidisciplinary team of Spanish technicians and scientists are collaborating on the European project known as Ecograb (Industrial system for the recording of diffraction/polarization gratings for use in femtosecond laser encoders) for the purpose of bringing cleaner and more efficient manufacturing techniques to Industry 4.0.
The objective is to “replace current manufacturing systems that require intensive use of chemical products with new production methods that are more sustainable and versatile”, noted electronic engineer Dr. Yago Olaizola after the kick-off meeting was held with the other project partners at the Ceit-IK4 Technology Center.
The project will center on five tasks, equally divided among the partners, that together will add to the value chain in manufacturing optical encoders. The Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) will be responsible for designing, scaling and characterizing the encoder, while the Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya (UPC) and SnellOptics, a manufacturer of optomechanical systems, will collaborate on designing the optical processing for femtosecond lasers and building the prototype. The laser group at the Ceit-IK4 technology center will finalize the femtosecond laser manufacturing processes and the mechanical design, and it will also be in charge of finalizing the mechanical design and integration in partnership with Fagor Automotion, the company that will be in charge of validating the new prototype.
The project’s work will make it possible for large companies that use photolithographic processes that require chemicals, some of which are contaminants, to switch to the Ecograb project’s femtosecond laser technology, which does not require the use of chemicals and therefore is more environmentally-friendly.