care must be taken in a production hall where robots and men work
together, where even minor carelessness could result in serious
accidents or stop production. At the Hannover Messe trade fair that is
taking place from April 4-8, Fraunhofer researchers are introducing a
new prototype for intelligent safety monitoring in industrial
intelligent monitoring system illuminates the entire production hall in
an optimum manner. This is how dangerous situations between man and
machine can be prevented.
forward, pick up the component, immerse it in the galvanizing bath,
move backwards, and deposit the component – the immersion robot is
working continuously to coat metal plates. If an employee is not
watchful, collisions can occur. If the person suffers an injury, the
process stops. In case the duration of the stop is too long, parts of
the robot and components must be completely replaced. Peter Pharow, head
of the Data Representation and Interfaces Group at the Fraunhofer
Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau, Germany, is
familiar with this problem. Working with several partners from the
Thuringia region, the IDMT specialists have developed an intelligent
monitoring system for industrial workplaces that makes it possible to
predict dangerous situations between man and machine. The roster of
partners includes an image processing center, several manufacturers and
companies that work with image processing and the use of robots.
configuration tool “Sim4Save” is part of the monitoring system.
Sim4Save is an in-house development of the IDMT and helps furnish the
production hall with an optimum number of cameras. To achieve this, they
simulate a 3-D model of the production hall displaying the various
working areas of interest. The system tells the user how many cameras
are required to be able to monitor all safety-relevant areas of the
production hall. There are no more blind spots or dark corners.
number of cameras may vary depending on the safety requirements of the
company,” says Peter Pharow. “Not only does our system help set up the
cameras optimally and eliminate long trials, but it also aids in
targeting their viewing angle”.
addition to the Sim4Save configuration tool, other newly developed
components of the intelligent monitoring system include a communication
platform, the connected hardware – robots in particular – and various
pre-processing systems. During routine operation, data from all cameras,
ideally also fastened to the gripping arms of the robots, are recorded
in real time, analyzed and evaluated.
specialty is predicting dangerous situations. In an ideal situation the
employees can be warned early enough so that there are no accidents,”
scientists use the communication platform they developed, to which
configurator data have been transmitted ahead of time. If a collision is
imminent during the work process, an alarm will sound, and the system
will automatically be slowed down or even stopped. The response time and
the reaction itself depend, just like the number of cameras, on the
safety requirements of the respective company and the working behavior
of the robot. Such an appropriate reaction could range from a simple
sound to an immediate total shutdown of the affected machine.
intelligent monitoring system has been in development for three years,
in the “BildRobo” project. The term is composed from the two areas
involved: image processing and robotics.
a prototype and not a series-ready product was the goal from the
beginning. Our next step is to prepare for mass production,” explains
the IDMT project manager. IDMT researchers will show the Sim4Save
configuration tool at Hannover Messe in Hall 17, Booth E58.
addition to the configuration tool, more projects from the numeric
simulation will be introduced at the joint Fraunhofer booth. For
example, the “Factory DNA” from the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics,
System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Karlsruhe: Can an old
production facility be used to produce a new product? How many parts
will have to be replaced?
Factory DNA answers these questions – a virtual planning system. Just
as with human DNA, the simulation helps interrelate the life cycles of
factory objects – products, production facilities and IT systems. A
universal synchronization guarantees consistent data management and
continuous data exchange within the IT systems. These data permit
evaluation of the extent to which production facilities and IT systems
can be used to manufacture new products.