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HM 2019: Human-Centric Support: Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing

| Press release | Industry 4.0 | Human-Machine Interaction | Virtual & Augmented Reality | Innovative Factory Systems | Kaiserslautern

People employed in future production jobs will have an important partner in artificial intelligence (AI). The technology is able to quickly and reliably evaluate large volumes of data and provide filtered, context-related results to the operators. Augmented reality (AR) has proven to be an efficient tool for visualizing this information – in an easy-to-understand way. The partner

consortium at SmartFactory-KL demonstrates how this technology is implemented using its Industrie 4.0 production plant at the Hannover Messe on April 1-5, 2019. Several scenarios are used to illustrate how quality assurance, condition monitoring, and anomaly detection can be improved through AI. The joint exhibit stand of SmartFactory-KL and German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) is located in Hall 8, Stand D18.

Die Produktionsanlage in ihrem Aufbau 2019© SmartFactory-KL / A.Sell
Human-centric AI is an important partner in the manufacturing sector. It performs fast and reliable evaluations of large amounts of data and provides the relevant filtered information. Support is provided by AR systems such as smart data glasses.
  • SmartFactory-KL at Hannover Messe with various use cases of AI in manufacturing
  • AR applications visualize the results of data evaluations

The evaluation of collected data is an important task performed by AI in the production environment. Machine data like pressure, temperature, or flow supply information about the system status and enable condition monitoring. The amount of data generated is far more than a person can quickly evaluate and interpret without technical support. But plant operators can benefit from this data and  predict possible system malfunctions once the collected data has been processed by the appropriate mathematical data analytics. The impending failure can be remedied in advance by predictive maintenance, in turn, minimizing plant downtime and repair time.

Use Case: Anomaly detection algorithms support the operator

The SmartFactory-KL partner consortium demonstrates Condition Monitoring and Anomaly Detection using the Industrie 4.0 production plant at the Hannover Messe. A new use case was developed for this purpose: The early signals of friction-generated wear and abrasion on a production module can often be heard, for example, in the form of a grinding noise. For demonstration purposes, a malfunction is introduced to the module during operation such that a scraping noise can be heard. The noise environment within the module can be monitored and acoustically recorded to enable evaluation by an AI algorithm. The AI algorithm identifies the noise and assists with the anomaly detection. The ERP system can then create a maintenance order that indicates the type and location of the fault. A service technician receives the information via tablet, smartphone, or even in the display of smart glasses. The need for annoying troubleshooting on the part of the employee is eliminated and the system repair can be quickly implemented before waste is produced or serious technical defects occur. 

Augmented reality guides the operator through the servicing procedures at the location, perhaps assisted by data glasses: In this case, the worker sees information and instructions projected in the glasses, leaving both hands free to perform and complete the work steps. The result is a more intuitive and improved issue resolution. AR facilitates realization of the potentials of remote maintenance, for example, allowing an engineer back at the office to support a technician on site.

“Predictive maintenance is a good example of how AI supports factory workers. The employee has to interpret the decision support information made possible by AI and initiate the correct work steps,“ said Prof. Dr. Martin Ruskowski, Department Head of Innovative Factory Systems research at DFKI and expert in the use of AI for manufacturing.

AI apps of interest to SMEs (Mittelstand)

In another use case, SmartFactory-KL shows how an operator can use visualized data on a unit dashboard. "This is an important use case for us. Data visualization represents a simple step in the direction of AI applications which has not yet been pursued by SMEs. Our aim is to supply small and medium-sized companies with practical ideas. Data collection alone is not sufficient. To create added value, we must first derive and visualize useful information and then generate a display screen, for example, when a limit has been exceeded," said Prof. Dr. Detlef Zühlke, Chairman of SmartFactory-KL. 

Another exciting option is the “speech-to-text” application. This AI application can translate a voice command of the operator into text and then search a data base for the required information. In this way, the operator can display the required pages of an assembly or operating instruction from the technical documentation in the data glasses. Say goodbye to the tedious searches through a file binder or text files in a computer folder. The SmartFactory-KL partner consortium is also presenting this use case at the Hannover Messe.

The Industrie 4.0 demonstrator partners at SmartFactory-KL are: B&R Automation, Bosch Rexroth, EPLAN Software & Service, Festo, HARTING, Huawei, IBM, KIST Europe, METTLER TOLEDO, MiniTec, PHOENIX CONTACT, Pilz, proALPHA, TÜV SÜD, and Weidmüller.


About the Technologie-Initiative SmartFactory KL e.V.
The SmartFactory KL technology initiative was established as a non-profit organization in 2005, bringing industry and research partners together in a network to jointly implement Industrie 4.0 projects for the factories of the future. SmartFactory KL is a unique, manufacturer-independent demonstrator and research vehicle located at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern. Promising innovative Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are evaluated and further developed in a realistic, industrial production environment. The technology initiative has already developed products and solutions as well as universal standards in the areas of Industrie 4.0 with the active participation of its members. Together with other regional competence suppliers, SmartFactory-KL was recognized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and designated as Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center (SME) Kaiserslautern.


Press contact:
Fabienne Bosle  
PR Manager

Technologie-Initiative SmartFactory KL e.V.
Trippstadter Straße 122
67663 Kaiserslautern
Phone: +49 631 20575 4410

employee with data glasses© SmartFactory-KL / A. Sell
Using AR in data glasses, for example, lets an employee receive information about the status of the machine.