Industry 4.0 is facing unprecedented challenges. On the one hand, small and medium-sized enterprises must continue to drive digitalisation in order to remain competitive. On the other, however, the growing complexity of industrial equipment often exceeds the knowledge of even experienced service technicians.
We are part of a consortium of 15 companies, professional associations, and universities working on the Service-Meister (Service Master) project to develop an AI-based service platform for German SMEs. The platform is intended to enable even inexperienced professionals to carry out more complex tasks with the help of AI-based service bots and data-driven services.
Intelligent measurement technology
In many industries, measuring points are still read manually – even if they are often difficult for technicians to access. This takes time, especially when extensive equipment networks are involved. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) enables companies to gain live insights into their equipment processes and to detect impending failures or behaviour that deviates from the norm at an early stage. Centralised management of the measuring points makes the technicians’ jobs easier.
In collaboration with KROHNE, the leading manufacturer of process measurement technology, we have developed a solution that links water management to the Internet of Things (IoT). This solution is designed to enable KROHNE’s customers to keep an eye on their supply, sewage, and service networks remotely.
Support in the service field
A variety of different methods are used to detect and analyse non-standard behaviour patterns, and the amount of data to be processed makes it impossible to evaluate by hand. Instead, statistical and machine learning methods are used.
The increasing technological advances in metrology also, however, create new challenges for service personnel. Even experienced technicians cannot possibly understand and manage every single system right down to the very last detail. In order to enable both experienced and less experienced workers to provide rapid, expert service, artificial intelligence (AI) is used.
As part of the Service Meister project, we have worked together with KROHNE to implement AI functions. These can, for example, use AI methods to analyse sensor data, predict faults, and optimise the deployment of specialist staff. As interfaces between systems and service personnel, chatbots facilitate simple, intuitive queries which provide all the relevant information. They support both experienced and inexperienced measurement technicians in complex tasks, such as determining the cause of a problem and initiating the optimal repair process.
Funding for the Service Meister project has been provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.