Artificial Intelligence

Fraunhofer's new Edge AI solutions for intelligent sensors

6th June 2024
Harry Fowle

The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS has presented a new demonstrator for predictive maintenance of industrial equipment.

The demonstrator uses advanced sensor technology combined with artificial intelligence (AI)-based data processing to detect potential machine damage at an early stage and avoid costly downtime.

Based on the results of the iCampus project ForTune, Fraunhofer IPMS has developed a new demonstrator that combines sensor technology, data acquisition and AI-based data evaluation for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. This opens up new possibilities for the preventive maintenance of plants and machines. Fraunhofer IPMS uses its expertise in edge computing and real-time data transmission. Dr. Marcel Jongmanns, project leader at Fraunhofer IPMS, explains: "Our solution enables precise condition monitoring of machines through the use of sensors and intelligent data analysis. By integrating AI into the sensors, we can detect damage before it occurs, optimise maintenance intervals and minimise downtime.

The showcase displays a miniaturised conveyor belt and demonstrates the performance of a novel toolbox for industrial plant monitoring. The demonstrator uses multimodal sensors. The sensor function records accelerations in the spatial directions and the corresponding rotation rates. In addition, magnetic field sensors and acoustic or ultrasonic sensors are used to monitor the industrial equipment. The system provides two main functions: Belt tension detection and jam detection. The AI models are based on extensive data analysis and enable accurate prediction of damage. To increase the accuracy of the models, real-time calibrations can be performed to adapt the system to new environments.

The Fraunhofer IPMS system solution aims to combine the in-house sensors with its own edge computing unit based on RISCV architecture for efficient data processing directly at the point of use. This enables complex AI operations and real-time analysis. Changing environmental influences can be directly modeled or taken into account in the analysis. This enables the integration of a large number of sensors and significantly increases the accuracy of predictions about the condition of the industrial equipment. Existing limitations in computing power for real-time modeling in embedded systems are overcome. The expertise of Fraunhofer IPMS in the field of sensor technology and AI evaluation enables the continuous further development of the technology. Existing partnerships with companies such as Vetter Kleinförderbänder GmbH demonstrate the industry's interest in such solutions.

During the SENSOR+TEST trade fair from June 11 to 13, 2024 in Nuremberg, visitors will have the opportunity to view the demonstrator at the Fraunhofer IPMS booth 1-317. The scientists will be on site to answer questions and provide insights into the research work. Appointments for personal discussions can be arranged in advance on the Fraunhofer IPMS website.

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