In our research projects, we work in close collaboration with organizations of the manufacturing industry, solution providers, and other research institutes on highly relevant topics in the field of quality-oriented organizational development. Our objective is to solve scientific and practical problems with the purpose of transferring our findings into practice.

List of Publications

Competence Center for SMEs
The overall aim of "Digital in NRW - the Competence Centre for SMEs" is to prepare small and medium-sized enterprises in NRW for the industrial transformations associated with Industrie 4.0. More precisely, various experts from different research institutes support SMEs in innovating their products, digitalizing their production and entire value creation processes, and starting new business areas. However, besides approaching the technical challenges, succeeding the industrial transformation requires new employee competencies. The work of employees in all areas like development, production, and sales changes dramatically. Therefore, it is important to identify which specific competencies are required for the future world of work and how these can be trained. For this purpose, the Competence Centre offers, among others, a variety of services regarding employee qualification to all regional SMEs (e.g., in-house trainings, blended learning courses, train the trainer activities).
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) funds the project within the funding initiative "SME 4.0 - Digital production and work processes".

SmartFM: Integration of Failure Management in Smart Factories
The approaches of industry 4.0, in particular the smart factory, enable organizations to digitalize and connect their productions. The overall aim of the research project SmartFM is to increase the responsiveness of production systems in relation to failures and to detect, analyze and solve problems earlier. The project SmartFM intends to integrate a failure management approach in an existing IT-infrastructure to contribute to the recent developments of smart factories. The outcome of this 3-year project is a software prototype to support the internal failure management, which meets the requirements of industry 4.0. The prototype is in particular characterized by a high degree of cross-linking with other systems (e.g., ERP, MES, CAQ) and extensive automation.

Complaint 2: Development of an Empirically based Design Model for the Effective and Efficient Analysis, Processing and Usage of Complaint Information
The aim of this research project is to develop a decision model for the use and transfer of information that arises during the processing of complaints (complaint information) with the aim of sustainable complaint management. For this purpose, the procedure builds on the design model, which was developed in a previous project (Complaint 1). In particular, the phase of the knowledge transfer is considered in more detail. It will be examined explicitly how the long-term effect of complaint handling can be improved by the use of knowledge-based methods. The long-term effect is described by the construct of "corporate quality", which has been used in the first project period. However, it only relates to the following product generations this time. Hence, the focus will be on the interface of complaint management for product and process development. The developed model supports the decision making process for the use of knowledge-based methods in technical complaint management based on essential organizational descriptors.

VariSafe: Risk Assessment for Machine Safety across Variants
The directive 2006/42/EC sets out essential safety requirements that a machine manufacturer has to meet before its products may be sold on the European market. The core procedure to meet the provisions of the directive is the so-called risk assessment. At present, the risk assessment in the industrial environment is often carried out unsystematically and rather isolated from the entire product development process. The research project VariSafe, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, aims at improving this process concerning efficiency and quality. Ideally, risk assessment should begin during the configuration of machines by customers. Thus, a better process integration and software support are required. Main requirements address a closer integration of ERP systems with the risk assessment process. This is realized by a software prototype, which links risk assessment software to SAP. ERP data facilitate risk assessment across variants and provide information to reduce the workload for each risk assessment.

DFG Research Training Group Ramp-up Management - Development of Decision Models for Production Ramp-up
The DFG Research Training Group “Ramp-up Management” is characterized by its interdisciplinary approach to ramp-up management research. The production ramp-up takes on a key role in the life cycle of products: in this phase, the prototype of the design stage is further developed and prepared for serial production. The overall objective of this interdisciplinary Research Training Group is the development of a decision model for complex decision-making situations during production ramp-up. The decision model will allow managers to anticipate problems in the ramp-up process and enable them proactively to develop solution strategies. Special emphasis is placed on finding a suitable research methodology, which - as a standardized frame of reference - must be considered a prerequisite for scientific progress.

Step2Go: Development of a Technical University according to German Standards in the Sultanate of Oman
The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) was founded in 2007 in cooperation with the RWTH Aachen University in Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman. Due to the continuous increase in student numbers and demands regarding the professional and personal education of those, the accompanying development of new, innovative structures in the context of university teaching and research is essential. The advancement of teaching concepts requires a parallel stabilization and adaptation of established structures and processes. Therefore, three strategic key objectives of this project are the further development of study programs and advanced training offerings, the implementation of innovative structures and components in teaching and research as well as strengthening the connection to Germany.

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