Automated industrial trucks master difficult driving situations worse than humans – for now. New approaches based on artificial intelligence (AI) are intended to replicate human driving behavior and give automated systems more flexibility.

artificial intelligence, intralogistics, industrial trucks

Twelve interviews were conducted with IT system users and providers in order to investigate the adaptability of IT systems in manufacturing companies. A methodical evaluation of the interviews made it possible to identify factors that influence the service life of IT systems. The evaluation shows that, in addition to the technical characteristics, human and organizational aspects in particular are decisive for the long-term use of IT systems.

Information management, people and technology, software

Tools for implementing a systematic quality management are necessary for the use of material extrusion as an additive manufacturing process for products with high quality requirements. Well-defined quality classes are crucial for ensuring that the requirements for a product can be communicated transparently and that the existing properties can be evaluated. Furthermore, there is a lack of capable measurement equipment for the acquisition of process data during the production process. To address these challenges, the present paper introduces an image processing system that determines quality indicators for individual layers in terms of imperfect surface percentages and the number of imperfections. The central element of the hardware is an adaptive darkfield illumination, which leads to high-contrast images. In addition, five types of layer subareas are identified in a segmentation step. Unsupervised machine learning methods are then used to detect imperfections in each layer subarea. In the segmentation, the current layer can be distinguished from irrelevant image background regions with an F-measure of 0.981. For the layer-wise measurement of the quality indicators, relative measurement errors with standard deviations of 25 to 76.1% are found. After evaluating the capabilities of the image processing system, a proposal for limits of quality classes is derived by monitoring several material extrusion processes. For this purpose, three quality classes for each of the five layer subareas are deduced from the process scatter measured by the image processing system. The results are an important contribution to the industrialization of material extrusion in safety–critical areas such as medical technology or the aerospace industry.

additive manufacturing, material extrusion, quality classes, image processing, Process monitoring

Bees are an important part of local ecosystems. Many companies have beehives set up on their company premises and looked after by beekeepers as an ecological measure. Remote digital monitoring can be a useful way of reducing the workload while ensuring the health and continued existence of the bee colony. The developed prototype and AI-based object recognition offers beekeepers the opportunity to monitor activity levels in the hive, detect intruders such as wasps or recognize a drone brood at an early stage, which occurs when the queen bee dies.

AI, image-recognition, Bees

Hybrid components, made of multiple materials, can meet the increasing demands for lightweight construction and functional integration in the automotive and aircraft industry. Hybrid semi-finished components are produced by applying a high-alloy cladding to a low-alloy base material before hot-forming and machining the workpiece. Throughout this process chain, workpiece deviations in the form of material distribution and material properties can occur that influence the component’s lifetime. This paper investigates whether such workpiece deviations can be detected within the process chain by analyzing process signals obtained from subsequent process steps. For this purpose, artificial workpiece deviations were introduced to hybrid semi-finished workpieces made of C22.8/X45CrSi9-3. Then, process signals during forming and machining were analyzed to determine their sensitivity to the artificial deviations. The results revealed that deviations in cladding size can be effectively monitored using signals from both forming and machining. Cladding position deviations can only be detected during machining, while forming signals are more responsive to detecting the introduced hardness deviations of approx. 100 HV0.1.

Laser hot-wire cladding, Cross-wedge rolling, Machining, Monitoring, Workpiece deviations

In an increasingly digitalized world, IT systems such as ERP or MES are the backbone of efficient processes. But many companies find that their IT systems neither meet changing requirements nor effectively support new processes. This leads to either the development of shadow IT, provisional adjustments to the IT system, or the selection of a new IT system. The VIPER research project was launched to counteract such developments and to improve the selection process for a new IT system. FIR at RWTH Aachen University and the IPH – Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH have set themselves the goal of helping companies to extend the service life of their IT systems and make better decisions when selecting new IT systems by analysing the entire socio-technical information system.

IT systems, ability to change

Development of a prototype for automated data quality control at Trivium Packaging GmbH, a manufacturer of metal packaging. The project aimed to ensure the reliability of production data for KPI calculations by implementing plausibility checks for machine and line status to identify faults at an early stage. The use of AI and algorithms to monitor and evaluate data quality in real time led to improved efficiency and performance of the production lines. A guide to ensuring data quality for reliable KPI calculations was also created to help small and medium-sized enterprises increase their competitiveness.

Data quality, production, manufacturing, KPI, metrics

In the research project “AutoPress”, the IPH – Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH and Jobotec GmbH are jointly striving to develop an automated process control of screw presses. By retrofitting and applying an optimization algorithm, the energy demand is to be reduced and the component quality increased.

digitalization, forming technology, production technology

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are floor-bound systems,
consisting of several components that can organise the logistical transport of materials in an automated and driverless manner.
The advantages associated with the introduction of AGVs can be particularly interesting for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
can be particularly interesting. By specifically increasing the degree of automation in the organisation of internal processes with the help of AGVs, an increased volume of material transport can be handled reliably and with high availability.
can be handled reliably and with high availability without
without having to tie up more personnel at the same time. This means that personnel resources can be utilised more efficiently and relieved by using AGVs.

Digital route network planning, digital factory planning, AGV introduction

IPH is developing an autonomously flying indoor drone in the AIMS 5.0 research project as one of 20 application examples for the industry of the future. The project is funded by the EU and involves 53 research and industry partners from twelve countries.

Drone, copter, data acquisition, digital twin, industry 5.0

An ageing society and the emergence of new diseases are generating rapid growth in the healthcare industry in many industrialized countries. The use of AI can lead to an increase in performance while at the same time reducing costs. This is why the use of AI in the medical technology is continuously increasing, driven by the numerous benefits it brings, including

  • Diagnosis can be significantly optimized by incorporating extensive experiential knowledge into and retrieving it from AI systems. In this respect, AI enables us to analyze images, laboratory results and patient files can be analyzed and evaluated.
  • Individualized treatment plans can be developed through the use of AI can be developed. These plans holistically take into account all aspects of the patient and thus help to significantly increase the effectiveness significantly increase the effectiveness of the therapy.
  • Predictive analyses are made possible through the use of AI. AI can identify risk factors and predict complications.

AI, Unsupervised Learning, Diagnostics

The use of a digital tool for workplace evaluation makes it possible to document and evaluate production workplaces in terms of their ergonomics with little effort. As part of the digitization project, a concept for optimizing workplace ergonomics was developed with the help of a digital tool and converted into a catalog of measures. The Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover (IPH), as a partner of the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Hannover, has supported WISTRO Elektro-Mechanik GmbH from Langenhagen in a project to carry out a systematic workplace assessment within a digital tool. In addition, ergonomic optimization measures for an assembly workplace were identified and evaluated using an individual utility value analysis.
By carrying out the project, it was possible to create awareness and concrete measures for the topic of ergonomics and thus to increase the possibilities for an increase in the number of employees and thus the possibilities for increasing employee motivation.

ergonomics, digitalization, employee satisfaction

An elementary factor for influencing the process quality and the energy requirement of an energy-bound forming machine is the stored work capacity. At present, the forming energy is calculated via the work energy introduced into the system. Here, factors such as spindle torsion or frictional resistance are only taken into account roughly.
Within the framework of the research project "Development of a retrofit system for friction screw presses for automation and minimization of the set-up time and development of a sensor array for the first-time recording of elementary process variables such as the forming force" (AutoPress), which is funded by the Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung (IGF), the IPH - Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH and JOBOTEC GmbH are striving for an automated process control of screw presses and are providing initial findings in this regard.

retrofit, forging technology, digitization

The Collaborative Research Center 1153 is investigating a novel process chain for manufacturing high-performance hybrid components. The combination of aluminum and steel can reduce the weight of components and lead to lower fuel consumption. During welding of aluminum and steel a brittle intermetallic phase is formed that reduces the service life of the component. After welding the workpiece is heated inhomogeneously and hot formed in a cross-wedge rolling process. Since the intermetallic phase grows depending on the temperature during hot forming, temperature control is of great importance. In this paper, the possibility of process-integrated contact temperature measurement with thin film sensors is investigated. For this purpose, the initial temperature distribution after induction heating of the workpiece is determined. Subsequently, cross-wedge rolling is carried out and the data of the thin film sensors are compared to the the temperature measurements after heating. It is shown that thin film sensors inserted into the tool are capable of measuring surface temperatures even at a contact time of 0.041 s. The new process monitoring of the temperature makes it possible to develop a better understanding of the process as well as to further optimize the temperature distribution. In the long term, knowledge of the temperatures in the different materials also makes it possible to derive quality characteristics as well as insights into the causes of possible process errors (e.g. fracture of the joining zone).

cross-wedge rolling, thin-film sensors, hybrid components, aluminum, temperature monitoring

The Collaborative Research Center 1153 is investigating an innovative process chain for the production of hybrid components. The hybrid workpieces are first joined and then formed by cross-wedge rolling. Pinion shafts were manufactured to investigate the behavior of the joining zone under increased complexity of the forming process. For this purpose, six types of workpieces produced by three types of joining processes were formed into pinion shafts. The reference process provides a shaft with a smooth bearing seat. It was found that the increased complexity did not present any challenges compared to the reference processes. A near-net shape geometry was achieved for the pinions made of steel.

hybrid components, cross-wedge rolling, hot forming, laser beam welding, LHWD welding

Globalization enables even small and medium-sized companies to sell their products worldwide. This is also accompanied by an increase in the number of direct competitors. As a result of the steadily increasing competition smaller companies in particular are expanding their direct sales and e-commerce activities. This requires resources for packaging, warehousing and order picking. The high competitive pressure to which The high competitive pressure to which companies are exposed can mean that attention to the requirements of the human resource is pushed into the background of entrepreneurial activity. If this resource is not used sustainably, these companies are often at a competitive disadvantage in the short and long term in that they have to find replacements for employees who are absent at short notice. for employees who are absent at short notice and loses important empirical knowledge through affected employees. This represents a competitive disadvantage for small and medium-sized enterprises in particular. The economic damage must also be damage must also be considered: Expenses for recovery and retraining must be incurred for employees who are ill. Furthermore, jobs are more difficult to fill due to an increasing awareness of health issues if the health of each employee is not taken into account. The research project entitled "Automated camera-based ergonomic evaluation of workplaces" (AkEvAp for short) addresses precisely this point in order to use people as a resource for picking in a sustainable manner.

picking, AkEvAp, ergonomics

Energy transition yes, but a wind turbine nearby? No! The expansion of wind energy is urgently needed, but resistance in the neighborhood and from nature conservation associations delays or stops many construction projects. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the interdisciplinary WindGISKI joint project aims to accelerate the expansion of wind energy. Eight companies, associations and research institutions are developing a geo-information system that will predict the prospects of success for wind energy construction projects.

artificial intelligence, AI, energy transition, wind energy, land evaluation, geoinformation system

Supply chain resilience is massively gaining importance for manufacturing companies in times of severe disruption due to crises. Supplier selection is a key aspect of building a resilient supply chain. Currently, however, there is no holistic method for supplier selection that takes resilience into account. This paper therefore presents a research project that aims to develop an assessment measure for resilience in the context of supplier selection. The aim is to consider the existing resilience from the supplier company’s perspective and the required resilience from the selecting company's perspective.

Logistics, Supplier Selection, Resilience, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management

Volatile markets and increasing product variance lead to more complex internal material flows. In order to cope with this, a significant increase in the flexibility and adaptability of prevailing intralogistics systems is necessary. (Small-scale) modular conveyor systems can be used to make intralogistics more flexible. Obstacles for the practical use are the low distribution as well as the high investment costs. In order to reduce reservations as well as risks, an evaluation and optimization method as well as an applicationoriented planning tool for modular conveyor system layouts were developed in a research project. It enables both planning service providers and users to evaluate modular conveyor systems and to exploit their potential.

Conveyor Technology, Layout Planning, Optimization, Genetic Algorithm, Software

Work-related illnesses and the resulting employee absences can have a major impact on productivity and competitiveness, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises. Particularly in the forging industry, the manual handling of forged parts leads to high physical stress and thus to frequent illnesses of the musculoskeletal system, especially of the hand-arm system. One possibility to counteract this circumstance is the use of ergonomic forging tongs. In the study presented here, the influence of ergonomic forging tongs on the physical stress of forging employees was investigated by simulation and experiment and compared to conventional forging tongs. Within the simulation and the experimental investigation, forging parts and forging tongs were varied. In the simulation, an ergonomics assessment of the forging situation could be evaluated using the Ergonomic Assessment Worksheet. In the experimental study, gripping force measurements and calorie measurements were used to determine the impact of handling the forging tongs on the forging employees. The results show that the use of the new ergonomically optimized forging tongs can lead to a significant physical relief for the forging employees. The knowledge gained from the ergonomically developed concepts can also be transferred in other industries.

forming technology, ergonomics

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