Acoustic monitoring for plug connections in industrial production

© Fraunhofer IDMT/Anika Bödecker
Smart technologies allow constant quality control (concept image).
© Fraunhofer IDMT/Anika Bödecker
The hearable enables contact-free process documentation.
© Fraunhofer IDMT/Anika Bödecker
For their work on the hearable, the researchers at Fraunhofer IDMT are using the »Transparent Earpiece«, which was developed within the Cluster of Excellence »Hearing4all« together with the company InEar (concept image).

Today, cars are primarily glued and plugged together. This makes it increasingly important in Industry 4.0 that the clicking into place of plug connections is reliable and automatically documented. Why? Because the error warning in a car or on a washing machine is »pre-programmed« if the plug does not sit correctly when it leaves the factory, that is, does not close the connection with the typical »click« of the locking lug. This often leads to high logistics costs and time-consuming rectification. The remedy is a »click detector« in the shape of an acoustic sensor system for in-line monitoring during assembly, which can be integrated as both a mobile device, for example at the end of work, as well as a stationary application, depending on customer requirements. In this way, we at Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg are making a concrete contribution to AI support for shopfloor management on the basis of automated data processing.

Intelligent ears for automated and contact-free production control

The sensors are sensitive to airborne noise and can recognise deviations from the sound. When the plug connection engages, this triggers a »click«, which the microphone or sensor picks up. If there is no click or the sound deviates, the acoustic monitoring system signals an error, which is accurately documented. At the same time, the worker is informed. In fully automated manufacturing, the system can also be used for process documentation and quality assurance. What is special about this solution is that the maintenance system can distinguish between many different types of »clicks« and mechanical impacts, while also filtering out noise interference in loud production environments. After all, not all clicks are the same. A ballpoint pen sounds different to a plug connection – and in addition there are many different kinds of clicking sounds. These innovative automatic detection technologies are uncomplicated and flexible in their handling. Other detection tasks, e.g. recognition of distress calls or accidents, can be easily integrated. For human-machine interaction, speech recognition and voice control are also available.

Contact-free acoustic monitoring of plug connections

In the production process, companies must react quickly to malfunctions in technical equipment. Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg is developing a system that makes it possible to reliably monitor the clicking into place of plug connections.

When it clicks

Insights into the research and development around »click recognition« at Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg

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Danilo Hollosi, Head of Acoustic Event Detection, talks about how the inspection system detects whether parts are correctly connected based on the »click«.

Further Information


Universal AI Sensor Interface for Industry 4.0

This project is dedicated to the next generation of intelligent, increasingly autonomous manufacturing systems.


Project IMPASA

Ears for the machine hall

Intelligent acoustic monitoring platforms and sensor networks for use in industrial applications.


An insight into our research / 9.12.2019

Understanding pumps

In the interview, Danilo Hollosi reports on how critical noises in industrial plants can be detected by condition monitoring systems


The hearable for the smart industrial workplace

A small, in-ear hearable for better human-machine interaction – a big task for a little earbud.


Speech Recognition for Products and Processes

Speech detection systems allow operation of technical systems without visual or physical contact. The speech recognition technology of the Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg functions robustly - with and without an internet connection.


All solutions at a glance

Here you can find further information about our solutions of the Oldenburg Branch for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology HSA.


Machine listening for smart decisions

With us, you use the acoustic fingerprint of events to make intelligent decisions automatically - for your processes and products.