The institute has excellent workshops with highly qualified personnel. These are divided into two areas, the precision engineering workshop and the electronic workshop. Due to the close cooperation and physical proximity to each other, they provide unique services for research. Each area is led by a department head who is supported by specialists.
The electronic workshop
The electronic workshop consists of an engineer, technicians, a foreman and several skilled workers. Currently, three apprentices are being trained as electronics technicians for devices and systems.
The design lab
The development laboratory is part of the electronic workshop. This group of dedicated technical personnel provides services in electronics design and development to support the research activities, especially the experimental groups. For this purpose, a wide range of hardware and software tools are used for the development work. The use of various computational models and circuit simulations significantly shortens the development period and allows faster integration into manufacturing.
The manufacturing division
The manufactoring division of the electronic workshop is designed for prototype and small series production. By using a circuit board plotter with tool exchanger in combination with a laser-controlled circuit board line, circuit boards up to a size of 200 x 300 millimeters can be produced in-house. The production of printed circuit boards for small series is also no major concern. Using an automatic placement machine including a camera system, components can be processed banded, in bars or as loose bulk material. This facilitates component procurement and commissioning. The process is complemented by the use of a programmable two-zone soldering oven. This optimizes the brazing process, and the various preheating processes ensure homogeneous and thus stress-free joining of the components.
The precision engineering workshop
The precision engineering workshop comprises a team of 11 employees in total. They include master precision engineers, technicians, skilled workers and trainees.
The range of activities covers complex technical planning and design of customer-specific individual solutions using CAD/CAM systems, operational manufacturing processes with conventional drilling, turning and milling machines, and 5-axis simultaneous milling. For additive manufacturing, the precision mechanics workshop has various 3D printers at its disposal. Small welding jobs can also be carried out using the TIG (tungsten inert gas welding), MAG (metal active gas welding) or electrode welding processes. A laser cutter for cutting and engraving various materials has also been in use since the end of 2022. Likewise, the workshop team assists scientists in creating a wide variety of setups by selecting the appropriate materials in terms of stability and functionality.
CNC production of precision components
A central component of the precision mechanics workshop is a 5-axis CNC milling machine as well as two 3-axis CNC milling machines, one of which can be equipped with an additional fourth rotary axis. The maximum component size can be up to 1000 millimeters per workpiece.Even high-quality precision parts with the smallest shape and position tolerances can be produced. Depending on the material requirements, the most commonly used materials in CNC manufacturing are thermoplastics, various aluminum alloys and high-performance plastics such as PEEK, as well as various copper alloys and stainless steels.
Additive manufacturing using 3D printers
Additive manufacturing is a process in which computer-aided design can be used to create three-dimensional workpieces using appropriate 3D printers. With the existing FDM and SLA printing processes, a broad spectrum can thus be developed. At the institute, this manufacturing technology is particularly suitable for the production of brackets, molds, disposable electrode drives, and coilformers used in on-site MRIs.
Likewise, the workshop team supports the scientists in creating the individual measurement setup on site, by choosing the appropriate installation site in terms of necessary infrastructure and existing interferences. On the basis of various tests, suggestions are made to the scientist as to how the setup can be jointly created with suitable shielding in a neutral room.
Work example: development and manufacture of a head coil
Head coils ensure excellent imaging capabilities for neurological studies. They can be used in standing, sitting and lying positions. For the development and manufacture of a head coil that is used for experiments with strong magnets on human subjects, most of the development and manufacturing processes are handled in-house. The coils are specially designed in terms of weight, shape and material properties for strong MRI magnets up to 14T.