Flexible production systems

Efficient automation in highly individual production environments

Conventional production systems often prove to be too inflexible for a large number of variants or even the complete individualization of products. Changing quality requirements, but also highly individualized products, demand a lot from process control. As a solution, Industry 4.0 promises flexible and adaptable control of automated processes and process sequences in complex and highly individualized production environments.

Together with partners from industry and research, the Fraunhofer IPT is developing new concepts and software solutions for the flexible networking and control of such production systems: Rigid process chains are being replaced by freely interlinked processes, resulting in transformation-capable production systems from the store floor to the enterprise level. The Fraunhofer IPT translates scientific approaches from the fields of Industry 4.0 and IIoT into marketable software products. This ranges from service-oriented machine connectivity through communication standards (e.g. I4.0 management shell, OPC-UA and MQTT) for control and data integration to the integration of artificial intelligence for efficient production control (e.g. scheduling, process parameter optimization or decision support). The high degree of networking of the individual plants and devices, the end-to-end data acquisition, and the seamless integration of measurement technology into process control make the newly created complexity in automated production individually and adaptively manageable. This creates a basis for systems that can adapt and optimize themselves independently. Sustainability and IT security also play an important role in concept and software development.

So that you too can flexibly design your production processes, we offer you "COPE", an adaptive control software for the efficient automation of your production environment: COPE controls all processes and monitors plant, equipment, and material usage. Resources are managed by a customizable scheduling algorithm. The software reacts flexibly to changes in quality parameters and immediately adapts process sequences to the new conditions. In addition, the software has various logging functions that ensure data consistency at process and device level. A user-friendly interface shows the user all relevant functions and data and supports evaluation.

Our services

  • Requirement analyses and concepts for flexible production systems
  • Configuration of your individual COPE system
  • Design of adaptive controls for processes and process chains
  • Development of software for the evaluation, presentation and documentation of production, measurement, and test results
  • Feasibility studies and technology demonstrators

Applications

Measuring cells and
test systems

By using flexible solutions for networking and control, a wide range of test sequences can be cost-effectively automated.

Production systems and facilities

Customer-specific production in fully automated production facilities provides an example of how even highly individual production processes can be designed flexibly and efficiently with networked, adaptive systems.

Projects

BMBF-Project freeMoVe

Development of a new organizational form for the versatile, highly variable production of small quantities up to batch size 1. The basis is the replacement of rigid processes by freely interlinked processes including dynamic control and provision of information.

StemCellFactory

As a flexible production system, the fully automated facility for the cultivation of stem cells enables the processing of individual donor material. The process software of the IPT controls all required devices and reacts adaptively to changing system states.

Plant measuring cell

The measurement cell performs automated geometry measurements of plants. Sensors are used, which are guided by the kinematics of the measuring cell. The flexible process control and networking enable the creation of individual treatment sequences and a continuous data management.

Flexible assembly systems

New methods of planning and control of agile, freely linked assembly systems are investigated in the research project "AIMFREE".

Publications

Digital Twin

(Göppert et al., 2021): Pipeline for ontology-based modeling and automated deployment of digital twins for planning and control of manufacturing systems, Fraunhofer IPT, 2021.

Control

(Rachner et al., 2020): Digitale Lösungen zur Steuerung frei verketteter Montagesysteme. Realisierung von flexiblen Routen im Kontext Industrie 4.0, 2020.

Smart control

(Hort et al., 2020): Smarte Steuerung flexibler Produktionssysteme. Ein service-orientierter Ansatz zur Automatisierung adaptiver, individueller Prozesse, 2020.

Production control systems

(Jung et al., 2019): Herausforderungen und Potenziale der Industrie 4.0 für flexible Produktionsleitsysteme, Fraunhofer IPT, 2019.

Collaborative assembly

(Schmitt et al., 2019): Projektatlas Kompetenz Montage kollaborativ und wandlungsfähig, Fraunhofer IPT, 2019.

Assembly

(Jung et al., 2018): Highly modular and generic control software for adaptive cell processing on automated production platforms, Fraunhofer IPT, 2018.