Prof. Dr. Martina Zimmermann

Project Coordination



Digital Transformation in Factory Testing: Prerequisites for Companies to Cope with the Paradigm Shift


Initial situation

Digitalisation is finding its way into all fields of application in engineering, including the broad field of materials science and materials engineering. Reliably determining or predicting the properties of materials and components is one of the cornerstones of modern technological innovation. Almost three quarters of all new products are based on new materials.
The professional practice of materials characterisation and testing involves a wide range of equipment and methods used, the effective use of which is closely linked to the implicit knowledge of the materials tester. The same applies to the interpretation of experimental findings. Digitalisation increasingly makes it possible to make the results of intellectual activities accessible to others.
Central innovative solution elements are the introduction of an assistance system tailored to the needs of the addressed work environment and the development of an expert system for the targeted utilisation and further processing of the implicit knowledge of materials testers on the basis of data mining.

Aim of the research project

The planned project result is a hybrid product 'Materials Testing 4.0', which includes technical work assistance with solution concepts for work-integrated competence development and for a corporate culture conducive to learning. As a work assistance, a laboratory book management system is being created that extends a conventional electronic laboratory book with an infrastructure for cognitive search as well as modular applications and value-added services. Apps created on an open-source basis with already trained and pre-parameterised machine learning models, an interface to external material databases and for the integration of externally generated data are envisaged. In contrast to other research projects, the main focus here is on a) the integration of the actual work process of the materials tester and his implicit knowledge and b) the need for his continuous competence development.

Social added value

The applicants understand the results of the project as a hybrid product, consisting of the software solution (assistance and expert system), the transfer of experience with this solution as well as further training offers for the acquisition of competences and consulting services for the design of a corporate culture conducive to learning. On the one hand, the pilot companies have the chance to transfer their experiences to the entire company after they have entered the digitalisation field. On the other hand, it is expected to be widely used in companies with different numbers of employees. Based on the pilot companies, firstly, the expansion to numerous other companies with materials testing processes and to other materials testing processes is planned. Secondly, the results can be transferred to other test laboratories, e.g. in the chemical and life science sector, medical laboratories, etc. via the software provider labfolder.

All information on the project and the project partners can be found here!

*** Digitaler Wandel in der Werkstoffprüfung: Voraussetzungen für die Bewältigung des Paradigmenwechsels durch Unternehmen ***