Interview with Johannes Riege on the creation of an analysis tool for structure-borne sound

Interview series:
Who is wearTell?

In our new series "Who is wearTell?" we introduce ourselves and explain the advantages of structure-borne sound measurement for determining the wear condition of tools. Starting off with Johannes Riege, managing director of wearTell Deutschland GmbH and head of product development in hardware and software.

Johannes, you are the managing director of wearTell Deutschland GmbH and head of product development in the area of hardware and software, can you tell us something about yourself and your path to wearTell?

J: I graduated in mathematics in the classical way in Freiburg. After graduating, I worked as a mathematician in market and media research. As a project manager I was mainly responsible for the statistical modeling of various market research studies. In 2018, I came to the point of escaping the media world and focusing on other areas where complex modeling applied to large datasets plays a central role. Around the same time, wearTell was founded and I recognized the potential to apply my knowledge and previous experience here. Together with Burkhard Walder, managing director of wearTell Vertriebs GmbH and Martin Kolpatzik, responsible for sales as well as marketing and controlling, we developed the product and defined the framework for our analysis tool. In my position as managing director, I see myself as the connecting link between product development and sales.

With wearTell, you have succeeded in developing an analysis tool for predictive maintenance. Why was it important and necessary to measure the wear condition on molds in injection molding and die casting processes?

J: First of all, every customer is interested in understanding their production processes better so that they can then optimize them. By looking at the sound emissions propagating in the mold in the ultrasonic range, wearTell provides a way to perceive the smallest process changes and thus incipient problems. This added value is not usually provided by other forms of sensor technology. With wearTell, the customer is able to prevent costly production stops and extend maintenance intervals through process optimization.

You are constantly developing your analysis tool in machine learning/AI. What advantages does this provide for the customer?

J: One of our central goals in product development is to make the operation of our system as intuitive as possible. This also includes relieving the customer of as much work as possible when analyzing the data and keeping the training effort to a minimum. In order to search and analyze the large amount of data we generate for patterns efficiently and as meaningfully as possible, it makes sense to develop machine learning models that relieve one of these tasks. Among other things, these models can be extended dynamically, so that in the future it will also be possible to include additional structure-borne sound channels or other sensor systems in the analysis or modeling.

The industrial customer wants to use the measured data for individual evaluations. How can the data be transferred to the customer's respective PDA system?

J: Right from the start of product development, we focused on meeting the different needs of the various customers with the greatest possible flexibility of the product. On the one hand, medium-sized companies in particular usually do not have the resources or the demand to deal with the large amount of data generated by us themselves. In this case, our system has to perform the analysis and the resulting conclusion. On the other hand, larger customers in particular frequently express the wish to integrate the raw data we generate into their existing predictive maintenance system. This data can be easily retrieved in real time using a REST API implemented by us.

Do you think the analysis technique can be transferred to other production processes or are there future projects planned in other industries?

J: The wearTell team has specialized in the analysis process in the area of injection molding or die casting. We also see great potential in the areas of extrusion and foaming. Further application areas are currently in the research and development phase. A new feature of the software is the web application. As part of the next update or new deliveries, the customer can easily operate the wearTell system via a browser within the same network.

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