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Detecting and Anticipating Potential Hazards - with Fraunhofer's Monitoring Solutions

In industrial working areas when working with robots, higher attention and caution are required. Robots lift massive weights, carry out dangerous welding works or handle chemicals. Working areas difficult to oversee and potentially hazardous processes bear high hazards and accident risks for the employees. "Sim4Save" and "Link4Save" are two new intelligent technology elements for increased safety in high-risk working areas. The Thuringian Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT is going to present these elements on this year's Hannover Messe.

Both "4Save" technologies offer higher safety on assembly or robot lines and help to optimize security monitoring in the whole working process. Accidents are often caused by only a minor carelessness like a little stumble. These situations can be detected beforehand, preventing most of the accidents and the resulting unnecessary production stops.

The software platform Link4Save - presented at the Hannover Messe for the very first time - controls the communication between monitoring equipment and the robot. Link4Save is integrated into complex monitoring systems to collect and analyze sensor data of cameras and microphones immediately and in real-time. If man and machine come dangerously close to each other, Link4Save recognizes this critical situation and automatically sends a command to the robot.

"Link4Save can predict hazardous situations. The platform knows and detects repeated movements of the robot as well as the action the machine is going to perform next. If Link4Save rates the safety distance between man and machine as too small, the ongoing process is stopped immediately to avoid an accident. Depending on the power and speed of the working machine, there are different reactions possible like acoustic signals or slowing down ongoing processes", explains Peter Pharow, Head of Data Representation and Interfaces at Fraunhofer IDMT. He also developed the 4Save technologies in a joint project with Thuringian companies.

Link4Save is complemented by the simulation tool Sim4Save, which helps to make potential hazards in industrial workplaces detectable. "Sim4Save simulates the factory workshop in 3D and interactively calculates the optimal number of cameras required to properly monitor the total working area. In addition, Sim4Save can help to easily analyze and adjust the camera position and direction. Moreover, we have extended Sim4Save with new features: In certain situations, some areas of the factory floor can hardly be tracked by the cameras due to covering objects or large distances. This is now also taken into account for the simulation. This way, blind spots belong to the past", adds Pharow.

The 4Save technologies will be presented during the Hannover Messe from April 23 to 27, 2012. Visit us in Hall 7 at the joint booth B10 of the Fraunhofer Alliance for Numerical Simulations of Products and Processes.

Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau conducts applied research in the field of digital media and works on leading projects and topics in the field of audio-visual applications. Besides sound solutions for home and professional users (e.g. IOSONO® Wave Field Synthesis technology) software technologies for analysis and characterization of multimedia content as well as audio-visual applications for medical engineering are being developed. Furthermore interactive AV applications for entertainment and knowledge management and the design of architectures for digital online-distribution are in the institute's research focus. The Fraunhofer IDMT realizes innovative scientific results through prototypes and applicable solutions which come up to customer and market requirements in close cooperation with partners in economy, culture and science. Since 2008, Fraunhofer IDMT has two branch labs. The department Children's Media, based in Erfurt, works on the development of innovative computer based program and edutainment formats for children and adolescents. The new project group Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology, based in Oldenburg, researches topics of audio system technology concerning the fields of health, transportation, multimedia and telecommunication.

Contact Person: Stefanie Theiß Press and Public Relations Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT Ehrenbergstraße 31 98693 Ilmenau, Germany Phone: +49 (0) 36 77/4 67-3 11 Fax: +49 (0) 36 77/4 67-4 67 stefanie.theiss@idmt.fraunhofer.de

idw :: 16.04.2012