Predict expensive system failures and save costs through process optimization. The objectives of the developments of the Fraunhofer IGD are clear: predictive maintenance for global monitoring, avoidance of system failures, and optimized digital system control.
(Darmstadt/Chicago) How can unplanned and, therefore, extremely expensive system failures not only be detected early, but avoided altogether? How can all available digital information be used to optimize process control? These are decisive questions of Industry 4.0 – and the augmented reality technologies of the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD are contributing significantly to the answers. From September 10-15, 2018, researchers will be presenting their latest technological developments at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, the largest manufacturing technology trade show in North America.
Dr. Ulrich Bockholt and his team from the Virtual and Augmented Reality Department research technologies for object recognition and tracking. Tracking the position and orientation of objects by recording with a camera is the core technology of industrial AR applications. The software helps identify differences between the actual and target states and is routinely used in industrial applications.
Industrial equipment as the next level of complexity for Industry 4.0 applications
Researchers are currently working on adapting their technologies to the next level of complexity – entire industrial plants. Maintaining large systems is extremely costly and time-consuming – especially when failures occur not as part of defined maintenance, but because of unforeseen repairs. This is where the researchers start: “Predictive maintenance” is the vision, in other words, a system for global digital monitoring and proactive maintenance for large industrial plants, which identifies defects and also initiates automatic repair processes outside planned maintenance cycles before system failures can occur.
To demonstrate to visitors of the IMTS trade show the new dimensions of AR applications, Fraunhofer IGD has adapted and expanded its own tracking technology. Using the example of a MeltCube from the company JHT – a hot glue device with its own control – guests can experience live at the Fraunhofer joint booth how a laser projector projects AR data onto the object. High-contrast and even recognizable through a pair of welding glasses, but without further aids such as augmented reality glasses. Using a projection system developed by the company Extend3D, representatives from Darmstadt will demonstrate in Chicago how their applications can be used.
AR technologies in customers’ applications – goal: predictive maintenance from lot size one
Alexander Krause, Project Manager at JHT, confirms the potential the new developments have for the industry: “Our customers consider whether it is economically worthwhile before investing in a new technology. Unplanned plant outages outside planned maintenance cycles are a nightmare for any operator – plant efficiency is a decisive factor in the competitive battle on the market.” JHT GmbH develops coating and laminating systems as well as complete systems. In the course of next year, the possibility of presenting Fraunhofer technologies to customers will also be created at JHT as part of a new test facility. The aim of the joint developments in the next few years is to bring the technology into use for lot sizes of just one, even in special machine and plant construction.
Fully exploit the potential of digitization with the digital twin
The potential of AR applications, however, goes far beyond maintenance. Especially at the complexity level of large industrial plants with the need for optimized process control, the digital twin is becoming increasingly important. This digital replica for every real existing object contains, in addition to the 3D CAD data, various other information, for example, the nature of individual components or materials used. Due to their complexity, access to the data of this digital twin is often reserved for a few specialists and often requires complex software and hardware. The technology webVis/instant3Dhub from Fraunhofer IGD enables for the first time the visualization of complete 3D models in real time as well as fully automatic access and comparison with the data of the digital twin using special data processing and web technologies. Employees from purchasing, planning, or quality assurance can access the digital data via the web and PC or tablet anytime and anywhere and use it for decision-making. This saves time on information gathering, improves the quality of decisions, and eliminates errors from accessing obsolete or incomplete data.
Dr. Johannes Behr and his team from the Visual Computing System Technologies Department will present at the trade show booth a case study on Siemens Motors to illustrate how the webVis/instant3Dhub platform can be used to create a wide range of additional information from digital twin datasets using augmented reality. Christian Mundo, Head of Digital Office at Siemens AG in the Process Industries and Drives Division, confirms the important role of the digital twin in the visualization of customer-specific CAD data for its own products: “Our customers can optimally use product data during development, commissioning, operation, and service and retrofitting. Components are easily recognized by automatically comparing the real object with the CAD model – so service can order the right spare part, for example. The technology behind this ‘markerless tracking’ is one of the core competences of the Fraunhofer IGD.” Visitors to the trade show booth will be able to use HoloLens augmented reality glasses to view additional information about the Siemens motor, such as exact dimensions of individual components, and discuss application possibilities and scenarios with experts on-site, for example, the possibility of starting the ordering process for individual parts directly from the application.
Fraunhofer IGD at IMTS:
International Manufacturing Technology Show
September 10-15, 2018 • McCormick Place • Chicago, IL East Building, Level 2, Booth No. 121815