Psychology meets production

How does networked manufacturing deal with malfunctions? That’s the subject of the three-year project “Spaicer”, which has won the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy’s ideas competition. It is to be put into practice from January 2020.


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In psychology, resilience describes the ability of a human being to deal with critical situations or to quickly return to a state before these critical situations. Resilience therefore exists when people use or develop processes, methods and behaviours that protect them from possible negative and lasting effects of stressors. On the basis of hybrid AI platforms and economic and legal concepts of use, one wants to create the basis for a “Smart Resilience Service Ecosystem” for different actors in production networks, Wolfgang Maass describes the tasks of the project. He is scientific director of the DFKI in Saarbrucken. “Spaicer should clarify how far we can transfer the concept of resilience from psychology to production by means of AI,” says Daniel Trauth, chief engineer at the Machine Tool Laboratory WZL of RWTH Aachen University and head of the Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Processes division. In addition, it is to be investigated how many disturbances a network of machines, people and markets can endure before quality, costs or production times get out of control.

Contact with industry crucial

Contact with industry and business Industrial companies is essential for the success of the project. This is the only way to correctly identify and evaluate requirements. “Companies often fail due to the core task of reacting quickly enough to a changing environment, such as new market participants, other customer needs, technological change or the like, with a suitable transformation of their own operational but also strategic orientation,” reports Christian Guelpen, Head of Digitalisation at the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management at RWTH Aachen University. This is one of the reasons why many established companies have difficulties in dealing with start-ups. The reasons for this organisational inertia are manifold. Spaicer is intended to support German companies with a combination of AI and platform economy to transform these challenges into competitive advantages. The project started on 15 April. Over the next four months, the researchers will work out the concept in such a way that it can be put into practice in a three-year implementation phase starting in January 2020. The concept will be evaluated by an independent jury on August 1, 2019. Interested companies are invited to advise the researchers from WZL, DFKI and RWTH TIM. A non-binding questionnaire, a letter of intent and contact details are available on the project’s website.

RWTH Aachen University

 Laboratory for Machine Tools (WZL)

 Campus Boulevard 30

 52074 Aachen/Germany

 Contact person is Mr. Daniel Trauth

 Tel.: +49 241 80-27999



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