A backdrop can hardly be more contradictory: on the 6th and 7th of December 2018, 30 participants from industry and science met before a medieval backdrop at Schloss Reisensburg in Günzburg to develop digital solutions in the area of Industry 4.0.
The event was hosted by the Institute for Databases and Information Systems (DBIS), Uhlmann Pac-Systeme GmbH & Co. KG (Laupheim), and ATR Software GmbH (Neu-Ulm) in cooperation with the institutes for Media Informatics, Neuroinformatics, Management of Information Systems and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW).
The hackathon was divided into the four topics human-machine interaction, data analysis, IoT device management and digital business models. The students, scientists and industry experts exchanged ideas and developed concepts and software prototypes based on real applications.
Burkhard Hoppenstedt, a DBIS employee, presented an exciting new topic in the field of human-machine interaction: working with augmented reality glasses. Driven by recent technological advances, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, realistic holograms of a fuel cell for the representation of electron flow were developed. The participants were able to draw from the real data and scientific expertise of Michael Schmid (ZSW Baden-Württemberg) who specializes in the optimization of fuel cells.
The field of data analysis benefits from developments in "big data", i.e. the IT discipline concerned with processing large amounts of data. As part of the hackathon, pattern recognition algorithms were applied to sensor data from an Uhlmann pharmaceutical packaging machine. This was overseen by Steffen Stökler, data analyst at Uhlmann and Viktor Kessler (Institute of Neuroinformatics).
With the developed prototype it was shown that with detected deviations on such sensor data, foresight knowledge about machines can be derived. This enables new fields of applications, such as predictive maintenance, which ATR and Uhlmann are also researching.
In the field of IoT Device Connectivity topics and concepts for the connection of industrial machines, e.g. Uhlmann pharmaceutical packaging machines, different cloud infrastructures were examined. As part of the hackathon, Klaus Kammerer (DBIS), raised questions concerning communication protocols, data models and software architectures that could be employed on the basis of the Fischertechnik simulation factory "DBISFactory". Here, Christopher Hauser (OMI institute) provided interesting insights into cloud architectures and technologies.
Digitalisation is also opening up new digital business models. For example, in the near future, machines of a machine builder might no longer be sold, but instead lent; the user then would pay only the actual use (pay-per-use). As part of the hackathon, Melanie Ruf, a specialist in digital business models at Uhlmann, introduced various digital business models. Birgit Stelzer, head of the department for university didactics of the University of Ulm, offered supported with her extensive experience in developing such methods. The participants were given a basic understanding of the modeling of digital business models, which they subsequently used to implement an example in a business game.
The hackathon was framed by social events. The interest and commitment of the participants exceeded all expectations; they fiddled with and discussed their solutions until late at night.
Alexander Treß, Managing Director of ATR, took part in the hackathon himself and was delighted with the diverse topics: "The developments in the field of Industry 4.0 offer many exciting opportunities to make manufacturing companies easier to work with and create value. Together with the University and Uhlmann, we are happy to develop new ideas and test existing approaches as part of the Hackathon. "
"The hackathon is an excellent opportunity for us to work with students on very practical topics and tasks from an industrial company and to create new solutions," says Kathrin Günther, Head of Digital Labs at Uhlmann. "We are very pleased that such an event was possible in cooperation with Ulm University and ATR."
There are already considerations to continue this format.