Anton Fink Science Award for Artificial Intelligence goes to the Institute Digital Engineering of the FHWS

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Flexible, cost-effective measuring equipment for quality assurance in smart production - this idea has been realised by Prof. Dr. Jan Schmitt. He has been awarded the Anton Fink Science Prize for his innovation. In response to the first call for entries for the Anton Fink Science Prize for Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is endowed with 10,000 €, 16 applications were received from Germany and Austria. Professors Dr. Patrick Glauner and Dr. Dr. Heribert Popp of the Deggendorf University of Applied Sciences were the jury's scientific evaluators. The submission by Prof. Dr. Jan Schmitt from the Institute of Digital Engineering (IDEE) at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt convinced the jury after extensive debates. Prof. Schmitt is a member of the Faculty of Business and Engineering and has been researching, among other things, the production-related use of freely programmable, and thus flexible, robots for several years. In his submission, he presented his results on AI-based robot coordinate measuring technology.

"A nice success for the research at IDEE, we seem to be working on the right topics, making production on the shop floor, i.e. the place of value creation, a bit more digital and flexible is an important aspect, also of sustainability in manufacturing," sums up Prof. Dr. Schmitt.

Why measuring robots and how can accuracy be increased through AI?

The research of Prof. Dr. Schmitt, who heads the Institute of Digital Engineering at the FHWS, addresses, among other things, the question of how the production of tomorrow can be made smarter and more flexible. In addition to the manufactured products, which are subject to ever shorter life cycles, and the high diversity of variants, the measuring equipment for quality assurance should also be flexible. So why not equip a small, high-precision 6-axis robot with a measuring probe? The main problem here is the accuracy of the robot in relation to the high demands of an industrial measurement. The calibration of the measuring system plays a decisive role here; although various methods are available, they are usually very cost-intensive due to the external sensors used.

The AI-based calibration method presented by Prof. Schmitt initially uses a simple technique to quantify the measurement deviation. However, this can only be done for individual points in the robot's measuring space. And now AI comes into play: a trained model predicts the most probable inaccuracies for any points in the space, and an algorithm then compensates for them. In this way, measurement accuracy can be increased for use in industry-relevant areas such as plastic injection moulding.


Deggendorf University of Applied Sciences will award the "Anton Fink Science Prize for Artificial Intelligence" for the first time in 2022. This is intended to contribute to strengthening teaching, research and development explicitly in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The first focus of the call was on AI applications related to Industry 4.0.

The test bed required for the research was funded by the Hans Wilhelm Renkhoff Foundation in 2021. The first results were already published in scientific publications at the end of 2021 after the construction, commissioning and realisation of the AI building blocks.

About the Institute Digital Engineering

Since the beginning of 2019, the Institute Digital Engineering has been working on topics related to digital production in five centres with four research professors. It is currently home to more than 20 scientific staff in mainly publicly funded third-party projects.

Link to the idw press release

Contact person for the IDEE Institute

Prof. Dr. Jan Schmitt
Ignaz-Schön-Straße 11
97421 Schweinfurt
09721 940-8594