Artificial Intelligence: Wilo Enters into a Strategic Partnership with TU Dortmund University

10.02.2022
In order to further establish and expand the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) at Wilo, the long-established company and the TU Dortmund University have entered into a strategic partnership.
Artificial Intelligence: Wilo Enters into a Strategic Partnership with TU Dortmund University

Wilo employees David Graurock and Dr. Martin Oettmeier, both Technology Monitoring & Evaluation, with Dr. Stefan Michaelis, Managing Director of the "Competence Centre Machine Learning Rhine-Ruhr (ML2R)" and Dr. Thorsten Kettner, R&D Strategy & Innovation at Wilo Group (from left to right). (Image source: WILO SE)

"Networked products, processes and production methods are crucial to success for us as the digital pioneer in our industry," says Oliver Hermes, President and CEO of the Wilo Group. "Digital transformation as a key factor is firmly anchored in our corporate strategy and is driven forward in a very concrete and practical way in projects and collaborations such as this one with TU Dortmund University."

As part of the project led by David Graurock, employees of Wilo and the chair of artificial intelligence at the faculty of computer science are identifying business-relevant applications for machine learning at Wilo. The TU Dortmund University is contributing its experience from comparable projects. Employee interviews are conducted and concrete tasks are worked on together. Through the project-based collaboration, new customer benefits, optimised business processes and new product functions are to be prototypically realised. The cooperation between Wilo and TU Dortmund University takes place within the framework of the "Competence Centre Machine Learning Rhine-Ruhr (ML2R)", which is funded by the "Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung" (BMBF).

"Wilo's smart factory in Dortmund offers innovative uses of AI that also challenge machine learning. A long-term collaboration makes it possible to go beyond the quality control of individual products or production stations by examining the overall process and the various pump applications in terms of resource conservation," explains Prof. Dr. Katharina Morik, Professor of artificial intelligence at TU Dortmund University and spokesperson for the competence centre ML2R .

"Through this collaboration, we gain insights into current cutting-edge research and promote the long-term and sustainable transfer of knowledge," Georg Weber adds about the goals of the partnership. "Machine learning is a key to smart products, new business models and international competitiveness. That's why we want to ensure at an early stage that Wilo is well positioned here," says the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Wilo Group.

Already two years ago, the Group Research & Development division launched the AI initiative. Within this framework, employees have demonstrated the potential of this new technology through interdisciplinary cooperation, identified numerous use cases and implemented selected projects. For example, in cooperation with German sales and Group Information Management, an AI was developed that automatically reads, interprets and pre-processes the approximately 80,000 customer enquiries per year. In use since the beginning of the year, the AI allows for a considerable increase in efficiency and already provides enormous added value for Wilo.

The "Competence Centre Machine Learning Rhine-Ruhr (ML2R)" is one of six nationwide hubs for bringing the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning in Germany to a world-leading level. To this end, the centre of excellence establishes cutting-edge research, promotes young scientists and strengthens technology transfer to companies. The team members of the ML2R come from the four partner institutions: the TU Dortmund University, the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML and the University of Bonn.

Source: WILO SE

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