Intelligent monitoring system improves safety in manufacturing

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Specialists at Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau, Germany, along with several partners from the Thuringia region, have developed an intelligent monitoring system for industrial workplaces that makes it possible to predict dangerous situations between man and machine.

Part of the system, Sim4Save, an in-house development of the IDMT, simulates a 3D model of a production hall displaying the various working areas of interest. The program tells the user how many cameras are required to be able to monitor all safety-relevant areas of the production hall, eliminating blind spots or dark corners.

'The number of cameras may vary depending on the safety requirements of the company,' said Peter Pharow, head of the Data Representation and Interfaces Group at the IDMT. 'Not only does our system help set up the cameras optimally and eliminate long trials, but it also aids in targeting their viewing angle.'

In addition to the Sim4Save configuration tool, other newly developed components of the intelligent monitoring system include a communication platform, the connected hardware – robots in particular – and various pre-processing systems. During routine operation, data from all cameras, ideally also fastened to the gripping arms of the robots, are recorded in real time, analysed and evaluated.

'Our specialty is predicting dangerous situations. In an ideal situation the employees can be warned early enough so that there are no accidents,' explained Pharow.

The intelligent monitoring system has been in development for three years, in the BildRobo project.