Competence Centre WIRKsam: Work Design with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
PRESS RELEASE - Pioneering work processes with AI: Interdisciplinary research team accompanies nine companies into the future
Hürth, Germany, 07.09.2023 - Under the project coordination of Dr Tim Jeske, Head of Department at the Institute for Applied Work Science e.V. (ifaa), the Competence Centre Wirksam is currently supporting nine companies in the development and introduction of AI to support work. The competence centre is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the funding measure "Regional Competence Centres for Labour Research" and is supervised by the Karlsruhe Project Management Agency (PTKA). In the recently published publication "Leistung & Entgelt", these nine companies are presented in detail. One of these companies is Airconcept GmbH in Zülpich near Cologne, Germany.
Airconcept wings for high-performance sports cars are to be created with AI.
For Heinrich Viethen, Managing Director of Airconcept GmbH, www.airconcept-enterprises.com, "the project is an experiment," he says. Like so many things in the company. He finds the funding from the Federal Ministry very good. "We couldn't do it without this support," he explains.
Viethen is the managing director of a 6-man business and thus belongs to the small companies. Viethen and his employees develop all aerodynamic parts in-house. (www.airconcept-parts.com).
The Airconcept wing improves driving safety and enables faster cornering speeds. The development and nature of the wing, which is made of a fibre composite plastic, requires a complex grinding process. This process is time-consuming and requires a lot of experience and skill from the employees. Small mistakes can lead to poor results and render the component unusable. In addition, the manual grinding process is mentally and physically demanding.
"Until now, employees have spent hours manually grinding products made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), releasing dust and carbon fibres that are harmful to health," explains Dr Andrea Altepost, sub-project leader of the Institut für Textiltechnik RWTH Aachen University (ITA). "If we can reduce this proportion of time, employees live healthier lives and can devote themselves to developing more products," says the occupational scientist.
Robot takes over the rough pre-sanding. AI checks the quality.
To overcome these challenges, the grinding process is optimised with the help of human-robot collaboration and artificial intelligence (AI). A robot takes over the rough pre-sanding based on the CAD model of the component. The AI checks the quality of the sanding result and gives advice for manual sanding work. The MASKOR Institute of the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences is contributing its extensive wealth of experience in the field of intelligent robotics and AI here.
"We greatly appreciate the good and intensive cooperation with Heinrich Viethen and his staff," says Institute Director Prof. Dr. Alexander Ferrein. Heinrich Viethen is enthusiastic "We enjoy working with the WIRKsam team. They are good people. They can do something." And Dr Tim Jeske is also pleased. "Heinrich Viethen's courage impresses me. Business and science come together really well here," says the labour scientist.
Authors of „Leistung & Entgelt“ (Performance & Remuneration):
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About the Competence Centre „WIRKsam“
The Competence Centre Effective was founded in November 2021 and has a real laboratory on the Euronova Campus in Hürth-Kalscheuren. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the Regional Competence Centre for Labour Research under the funding code 02L19C600ff. WIRKsam is made up of three research institutes, three AI enablers, 15 application companies and 12 value partners. The participating research institutes include the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University (ITA) and the Institute for Mobile Autonomous Systems and Cognitive Robotics (MASKOR) at Aachen University of Applied Sciences, as well as the Institute for Applied Work Science e. V. (ifaa) as project coordinator. The WIRKsam real lab in Studio 6 on the Euronova Campus provides insights into current research work. Demonstrators using AI can be tested live in the future. Nine small and large companies from the broad industry have participated in the research project so far and are accompanied by the interdisciplinary science team.
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What does the WIRKsam Competence Centre stand for? Let Dr. Andrea Altepost from ITA and Dr. Markus Harlacher from ifaa explain it briefly with an application example. Have fun watching!The video is in German. Thank you in advance for your kind understanding.
10 months of WIRKsam, 9 companies and 60 participants: WIRKsam Competence Centre presents initial resultsCopyright: © ITA
This information is only in German available. Thank you in advance for your kind understanding.
The WIRKsam project kick-off event took place on 29 March 2022. After welcoming addresses by Prof. Dr. Sascha Stowasser, Prof. Dr. Ina Schieferdecker and Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, a roundtable discussion was held on shaping the working world in the Rhenish textile and lignite region with the help of artificial intelligence. The moderator and futurologist Kai Gondlach and his guests, Prof. Dr. Sascha Stowasser, Prof. Dr. Thomas Gries, Prof. Dr. Alexander Ferrein, Dr. Peter Janßen and Ingo Kufferath, addressed the hopes and fears associated with artificial intelligence.
Please allow us to point out that the event was held in German. Thank you in advance for your kind understanding.
Work and AI - a future perspective that holds both enormous potentials and fears and uncertainties for the textile industry, for companies as well as for their employees. AI will change human work. It will also create considerable opportunities in the working world of the future, for relief, further training and innovation. Because working with AI is not a technology-driven fate; rather, there is considerable potential for shaping it. This is where WIRKsam comes in. We develop innovative work and process flows with artificial intelligence in three fields of action that regional companies see as significant:
- Knowledge: secure & transfer
- Processes: plan & make flexible
- Quality: secure & increase.
In a participatory approach, we develop customised work systems and strengthen the competitiveness and innovative capacity of regional companies
Our research partners
The WIRKsam competence centre is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the funding measure "Regional Competence Centres for Labour Research" and is supervised by the Karlsruhe Project Management Agency (PTKA) (funding reference: 02L19C601).