Smart Systems

Fraunhofer IPMS develops smart demonstrator for predictive plant maintenance

June 06, 2024: The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS presents a groundbreaking 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.

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Demonstrator for the predictive maintenance of industrial plants. © Fraunhofer IPMS

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Building 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 analysis for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. This opens up new possibilities for the preventive maintenance of systems and machines. Fraunhofer IPMS uses its expertise in edge computing and real-time data transmission. Dr. Marcel Jongmanns, head of the project at Fraunhofer IPMS, explains: “Our solution enables precise condition monitoring of machines through the use of sensors and intelligent data analysis. The integration of AI into the sensors enables us to detect damage before it occurs, thereby optimizing maintenance intervals and minimizing downtime.”

The ShowCase displays a miniaturized conveyor belt and demonstrates the performance of a new type of toolbox for monitoring industrial plants. Multimodal sensors are used in the demonstrator. 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 system. The system offers two main functions: The detection of belt tension and the detection of blockages. The AI models are based on extensive data analyses and enable the precise 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 the RISCV architecture for efficient data processing directly at the point of use. This enables complex AI operations and real-time analyses. Changing environmental influences can thus be modeled directly 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 plant. 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, show 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 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 made in advance on the Fraunhofer IPMS website.

About Fraunhofer IPMS

The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS stands for applied research and development in the fields of intelligent industrial solutions, medical technology and mobility. Research focuses on miniaturized sensors and actuators, integrated circuits, wireless and wired data communication as well as customer-specific MEMS systems. Research and development takes place on 200 and 300 mm wafers in the two clean rooms. The services offered range from consulting and process development to pilot series production.

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