Artificial Intelligence for Industrial Production of the FutureThe SmartPro-Partnership meeting at Aalen with great encouragement

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Andreas Jansche and Dr. Timo Bernthaler applying methods of machine learning to the microscopic analysis of the battery quality at Aalen University: a relevant topic during our meeting.

Th, 16. July 2020

In the middle of July, Aalen University hosted the 4th annual meeting of the SmartPro-Partnership with over 100 participants from the regional economic and scientific fields. The focus of the event, which met virtually for the first time, was artificial intelligence in industrial production and quality assurance. The highlights were two speeches from renowned scientists from the Fraunhofer IPA Institute of Stuttgart and the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence in California.

The SmartPro-Project, which has been running at Aalen University since 2017, was recently positively surveyed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and will be funded with federal support of around 5 million Euros starting in 2021 and for four further years. Additionally, around 1 million Euros will be allocated for industry partners for collaborative research activities. For this reason, the annual meeting of the project partners was a welcome occasion to look to the future. The President of the University Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider emphasized the important meaning of current innovations in these economically challenging times with his introduction. “SmartPro stands for a stable network that continuously develops itself further, and now looks to the future with regard to the topic of artificial intelligence / machine learning. We need innovative strength to stand up to crisis situations, and for that, we’re certainly prepared!”

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The focus of the event was the motto: „How does artificial intelligence / machine learning affect production and quality assurance of the future?” Prof. Dr. Marco Huber, director of the Centre for Cyber Cognitive Intelligence at Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart among other things, answered this question with a general overview of several concrete examples of application from the research of the Fraunhofer Institute for companies. In one company, the use of machine learning methods reduced the number of product inspections by 96.3%, significantly reducing the error rate in inspection. The speech from Rahul Kapoor, Vice President of the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence, was also striking. He demonstrated how the methods and procedures at the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence are to be established and will be used globally by hundreds of Bosch production locations. For that reason, Bosch has access to one of the largest data sets worldwide for production environments. “The essential part of having a solid and successful AI strategy is having a good idea of which places in your company will make the best use of these technologies”, said Kapoor to the small and middle-sized companies.

SmartPro: A Partnership for the Future 

The speaker for the SmartPro-Partnership Prof. Dr. Dagmar Goll thanked the partners for their continued support and the strong cooperation. “We will continue to have an eye on concrete application measures and the regional needs through the collaborative research activities with our partners”, emphasized the speaker for SmartPro. In the future, machine learning as an interdisciplinary topic will combine the various research activites of SmartPro. Short speechs from Dr. Timo Bernthaler of the  Institute for Material Research at Aalen University (IMFAA) and from Prof. Dr. Manfred Rössle from the degree programme Business Information Systems made it clear that Aalen University has already successfully implemented these methods in the fields of magnet, battery and lightweight construction materials and technologies.

Photo Credits: © Aalen University | Thomas Klink