Dr.-Ing. Benjamin Küster

Manager production automation
+49 (0)511 279 76-220

Doctoral thesis

Increasing quality requirements combined with high cost pressure make efficient quality management indispensable, especially for manufacturing companies. As part of quality management, complaints management ensures that complaints are received and processed and that the causes of defects are identified and eliminated. The 8D method is a tool for the profitable documentation and processing of complaints. Parallel to the execution of the 8D method, all steps performed are recorded in an 8D report. There are no objective internal inspection or control bodies that ensure the integrity and correctness of an 8D report.

Therefore, this thesis aims to support the verification of 8D-reports by an automated evaluation system. Thereby, 8D-reports should be evaluated both formally and in terms of content.

8D-Report, computational linguistics, quality assessment, complaints


Factory planning is an important tool for
manufacturing companies to raise their efficiency and to
maintain their competitiveness by changing market or
customer requirements. A special challenge is the acquisition
of layout data and the processing of this data in suitable
planning tools. Current approaches still measure manually
or have to transfer acquired data from laser scanners by
hand into planning tools, which leads to a high effort and
error proneness.
This paper presents a holistic concept for automated
and systematic data acquisition and processing for factory
planning processes.

3D factory planning, automated drone flight, point cloud processing, 3D layout scan

Automated guided vehicles are a crucial component for more efficient production systems in intralogistics, but they have weaknesses in human-machine interaction. Scientists at IPH are developing a gesture-based control system to make the interaction intuitive and increase its acceptance.

Driverless transport vehicles, guidance control, gesture-based control

Upfront investment costs for the tooling of injection molds are the basis for deciding if a mold is tooled and hence if a part is viable for mass-production. If tooling costs are too high, a product may not viable for production. If tooling costs are estimated too low by the tool shop, contract implications may arise.
The goal of this research is to develop a method with humanlike quotation accuracy, achieve standardization, factor in historic quotation data and shorten quotation process times. The machine learning approach developed is based on geometry data of parts and additional meta-information.

injection molding, tooling, industry 4.0

Quality assurance methods are a central success factor for the further industrialization of additive manufacturing. This paper presents an approach for an optical inspection system that controls the quality of additive material extrusion layer by layer. The inspection task gets analyzed, hardware components for data acquisition are designed and a first step towards texture-analytical detection of defects is presented.

additive manufacturing, 3d printing, material extrusion, fused deposition modeling, image processing

Whether transporting salt, sugar or any other bulk material, belt conveyors are ideal for achieving a continuous mass flow. Important components of belt conveyors are idlers. These support the belt and the bulk material on it. The Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover (IPH) has developed a test rig for the examination of idlers.

idlers, rollers, bulk material handling

A product-dependent, individual process development represents a main cost driver in laser material processing. Therefore, the expert system SmQL is being developed in an FQS-funded project, in which process knowledge can be stored in a formalized form and represented in rule form. This is intended to minimize times for setup processes and secure knowledge in the company in the long term.

expert system, industry 4.0, laser materials processing

Quality assurance methods are a central success factor for the further industrialization of additive manufacturing. In the IGF research project "Optical quality inspection for extrusion 3D printing (Quali3D)", a testing system is therefore being developed which monitors the quality of the additive process layer by layer. This should enable a comprehensive evaluation.

3D printing, additive manufacturing, optical metrology, image processing

This article shows how the abilities known to humans to be flexible and adapt to changing environmental conditions, which are reflected in human cognitive characteristics, can be transferred to industrial trucks in intralogistics. As examples for the implementation of Industry 4.0 in intralogistics, technologies are presented that enable industrial trucks to recognize their environment, communicate information, draw conclusions, act autonomously, make decisions, learn or plan. These capabilities will be realized by an optical positioning system for position determination, camera-based storage/retrieval support and sensor technology integrated into tires, as well as novel forms of interaction for industrial trucks in the form of speech and gestures.

automated guided vehicle, augmented reality, smart glasses

Driverless transport systems are a building block for more efficient production systems in intralogistics, but have weaknesses in human-machine interaction. In a complex research project, a voice-based assignment is being developed, among other things, which is intended to make human-machine interaction more intuitive and increase its acceptance.

automated guided vehicle, augmented reality, smart glasses, voice control

Belt conveyor systems are an excellent way of conveying bulk material. With increasing load and transport distance, these systems become larger and energy efficiency becomes an important factor. Rollers are an integral part of belt conveyor systems. The running behaviour of idlers during operation has an impact on the energy efficiency of the entire system. The development of driven idlers is seen as one way to reduce the energy consumption of belt conveyor systems. This contribution shows that the investigation of conventional and driven idlers under different conditions is necessary and that a test rig for the investigation of these idlers has been developed at the Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover.

idlers, rollers, driven idler, bulk material handling

Drones are often used in outdoor areas. Though drone are able to do more, e.g. to measure and digitalize the indoor layout structure of production environments. Further more it is possible to plan the production structure directly in the digital model with image processing algorithms. The combination of both step allows a faster and more efficient production planning process. 

drone, layoutscan, production planning, digitalization

Abstract: For factory planning projects the layout capturing and layout processing process need a huge amount of effort, because they are typically done by hand. These processes could be accelerated and optimized by using a drone and automated analysis algorithms. Furthermore, this article shows a way to raise the digitization level for industrial processes. The key aspect lies on the usage of a drone in indoor environment and the processing of three-dimensional point cloud models for factory planning processes.

drone, factory planning, 3D-factory layout, object recognition

Driverless transport systems (AGV-Systems) are an established and effective instrument for increasing the profitability of modern production plants and making intralogistical processes more efficient. In addition to a master control system and a communication system, driverless transport vehicles (AGVs) are among the main components of an AGV-System. In relation to manually controlled industrial trucks, automated AGVs are characterised by higher efficiency. The disadvantage of AGV-Systems is that they are not able to solve critical operating situations independently. In this case, extensive intervention by specialist personnel is required.
With the aim of overcoming these obstacles, the project "Mobile Human-Machine Interaction for commissioning and control of AGV-Systems (MobiMMI)" was developed. In this project, the human-machine interaction between an operator and an AGV is to be extended by the use of a speech and gesture-based system in order to make the intervention by the operator easier and more intuitive and thus significantly reduce the acquisition and operating costs of AGV-Systems.
Against the background of safety, ergonomics, user-friendliness and integrability, a mobile system will be developed for this purpose and equipped with various sensors for 3D detection of the environment, indoor positioning and multimodal communication. The recorded data is evaluated by means of computer vision and machine learning, enabling the operator to react quickly and easily to critical operating situations.

automated guided vehicle, human-machine-interface

Belt conveyor systems are an excellent way to handle bulk material. As loads and distances increase, those systems become bigger and energy efficiency becomes an important factor. The energy consumption of belt conveyor systems is primary determined by the drive power. The drive power is the sum of the main drive power and the power of all intermediate drives, if present. The implementation of driven support rollers allows to reduce the load on the conventional drive based at the head of a conveyor system, by splitting it to multiple driven rollers. The main drive can be build smaller, which leads to a lower energy consumption and therewith to cost savings during the production. Furthermore, driven rollers enable the concept of modular belt conveyor systems, what would be impossible with the conventional head drives. This gives planners more flexibility for engineering new or modifying existing conveyor systems.

Despite the great opportunities and promising characteristics of driven rollers, they yet have not been used in daily operation. Without having sufficient knowledge about the behavior of driven rollers under certain conditions, as heat or cold, and the economic efficiency of them, the benefit is questioned. To bridge the lack of knowledge, investigations and research need to be done. A test rig for driven rollers is indispensable to develop this technology into a marketable commodity. At the same time a test process needs to be implemented.

This paper gives an overview about driven rollers and an accurate insight in the development of a test rig for investigating driven rollers. With this test rig, the use of driven rollers can be simulated under certain climatic conditions. Moreover, different loads and speeds can also be simulated by using state-of-the-art technology.

Driven roller, belt conveyor system, energy efficiency, test rig, cost savings

In this paper, the validation of an inductive sensor for an energy self-sufficient sensor for condition monitoring of wet-running steel disc clutches in marine gearboxes is presented. For a reliable operation of these a permanent monitoring of their state is advisable. As part of condition-based maintenance, more and more sensors are being installed in machines. Reliability becomes even more important when people are endangered by possible failure of the machines. In shipping, it is essential that, for example, the powertrain and thus the transmission are in perfect condition. In case of long distance traveling, wear or even damage of important components has to be known so that maintenance can be carried out proactively. To address this need an energy self-sufficient and wireless sensor network is developed. Miniaturized sensor nodes monitor torque, rotational speeds, temperatures as well as the wear condition of the torque transmitting components. The energy needed to operate these sensors is obtained from the surrounding environment. Thus, the system operates wirelessly and without an external energy supply, whereby the installation and maintenance costs decrease significantly. In addition to the concept of sensor integration in the transmission, the energy harvesting concept is also described in more detail. Finally, measurements are taken in a gear-like environment and the behavior of a magnetoinductive sensor in a not constantly supplied situation has been examined.

ship, gearbox, wear, sensor, torque

This paper describes the development and prototypical implementation of an energy self-sufficient sensor for condition monitoring of wet-running steel disc clutches in marine gearboxes. For the precise control of an automated system and the monitoring of its performance, the knowledge about the possible wear is an essential prerequisite. In addition, the storage of sensor data over the life of the system offers the possibility of long-term condition monitoring. The combination with various other technological components creates a solution that enables cost-effective condition monitoring of marine gearboxes. Compared to existing systems, for example, the costs for installation and maintenance are significantly reduced. Both the methodology from the morphological box to the fine concept as well as the first measurements of the sensors are presented.

automated system, condition monitoring, metrology, clutch, gearbox

Structured factory planning is a key to ensure the competitiveness concerning to the increasing pressure from globalization and the high market dynamic. Companies though avoid to do factory planning projects, because of the high effort. For this reason, the processes of factory layout capture and factory layout assessment are in need of improvement in order to increase the efficiency, which will be achieved through new technologies and a semi automation of the processes.

factory planning, drone, photgrammetry, laserscan, image data processing

Energy requirements of belt conveyor systems are essentially determined by the necessary drive power, which is composed of the main drive and intermediate drives. The use of driven support rollers reduces the load on the conventional drive at the head of conveyor systems. Thus, the drive can be build smaller, which can lead to energy and cost savings. In contrast to conventional head drives, driven rollers enable the implementation of modular conveyor systems. The theoretical possibilities and consequences of driven rollers are promising. Due to a lack of knowledge regarding the economic efficiency and behavior under certain conditions, driven rollers have not yet been integrated into real operation. In order to investigate the behavior of driven rollers and to ensure the introduction into practice, test stands are indispensable. This paper presents the concept of driven rollers and, on this basis, the development of a test stand for investigating these rollers.

driven roller, test rig, belt conveyor, energy efficiency

An essential component of belt conveyor systems are the support idlers. Particularly in bulk material handling systems, which are used in demanding terrain with numerous gradients as well as under extreme environmental conditions in tropical and arctic regions, they are exposed to considerable stress. The steadily growing flow rates mean higher loads and speeds for the support idlers. This trend is countered by new drive concepts. For example, belt-driven conveyor systems with internally installed motors are used.

Within a research project, the IPH is developing a dual measuring system that can be used to test both conventional bearing rollers and driven bearing rollers.

driven idlers, test rig, efficiency of conveying systems

In complaint management, 8D reports are used to document the analysis and elimination of errors. However, the quality of these reports is often insufficient and leads to longer processing times and the repetition of errors. The newly developed evaluation system QuSys enables an automated check of 8D reports.

complaints, quality, evaluation system, errors, 8D reports

Research projects