Hochschule Karlsruhe Hochschule Karlsruhe - University of Applied Sciences
Hochschule Karlsruhe Hochschule Karlsruhe - University of Applied Sciences

Strahlen 4.0


The beam process industry as a whole represents a relatively sluggish industry where change is slow to be adopted. Although the process is one of the core elements in the value creation of many companies, it is sometimes perceived rather as an unwanted compulsory task, which is why many companies are not yet intensively addressing the digitization of the shot blasting process.

The objective of the SME project is to develop a new approach to the digitalization of the shot blasting process.

Against this background, the KMU-innovativ research project Blasting 4.0 sets out, whose overarching goal is to develop a data- and service-based business model for the blasting industry in order to contribute to the digitization of production and consequently to the realization of Industry 4.0 in Germany. To this end, a comprehensive product service system (PSS) is to be developed together with the medium-sized application partner Eisenwerk Würth GmbH. This so-called APCon system (Abrasive Process Control) is to be continuously developed and optimized during the project in close cooperation with ten reference companies from various industries.


Central results and main findings

  • In a total of 20 workshops with Eisenwerk Würth, robust metrics and usable data have been determined at the ten reference companies for the profitability analysis of the blasting process, as well as the concrete customer benefits of a service-oriented blasting process have been identified.
  • In 101 computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) as well as in-depth expert interviews, the identified requirements and services with added value for process users have been evaluated.
  • A well-founded concept for the holistic, data-based calculation of achievable benefits and profitability effects (total cost of ownership) for beam processes has been developed.
  • A conjoint analysis has been conducted with 167 companies in the field er blasting technology in order to be able to design hybrid service bundles for the blasting industry in a well-founded modular way. The findings have also been used prototypically as the basis for an AI-based small data forecasting tool to support Eisenwerk Würth in pricing as part of its market entry with the new type of PSS.
  • On the basis of all the knowledge gained in the project, the APCon system and the underlying digital data platform have been continuously developed and oriented to the challenges from the user's point of view in order to solve their real problems.
  • Further key project findings from the aforementioned quantitative methods lie in the fact that, at the time of project implementation, blasting process users primarily consider those problems to be critical which have a direct relationship to the blasting system and whose occurrence leads to clearly apparent problems, such as production downtimes. As a result, the most frequent request in the surveys conducted was for services for preventive maintenance and comprehensive digital condition monitoring of the blasting process. There is little interest overall in various forms of operator models (e.g. guaranteed process availability) with a high level of transfer of process responsibility from the blasting process users to specialized service providers.

Project downtime

  • October 2016 to June 2020

Project consortium

  • Eisenwerk Würth GmbH
  • Karlsruhe University
  • Ten reference companies

Promotion by

  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


  • Prof. Dr. Steffen Kinkel
  • Dennis Richter
  • Enrica Cherubini


Prof. Dr. Steffen Kinkel

Phone: +49 (0)721 925-2915
Fax: +49 (0)721 925-2965
steffen.kinkelspam prevention@h-ka.de

Geb. E, Raum 105
Moltkestraße 30
76133 Karlsruhe


Dennis Richter, M.Sc.

Phone: +49 (0)721 925-2929
dennis.richterspam prevention@h-ka.de

Raum TPF-3F09
Wilhelm-Schickard-Straße 9
76131 Karlsruhe