Flexible production systems

Efficient automation in highly individual production environments

Conventional production systems often prove to be too inflexible due to a large variety of variants up to the complete individualization of products. Fluctuating quality parameters, but also the strongly pronounced individuality of products, demand a lot from process control. As a solution, Industry 4.0 promises flexible and adaptive control of automated processes and process sequences in complex and highly individual production environments.

With this goal in focus, the Fraunhofer IPT works together with partners from research and industry on new concepts for flexible networking and control of such production systems. By replacing rigid process chains with freely interlinked processes, versatile production systems are created. A high degree of networking of the individual facilities and devices, continuous data acquisition and seamless integration of measurement technology into process control make the newly created complexity in automated production individually and adaptively controllable. This creates a basis for systems that can adapt and optimize themselves independently, for example, regarding the changing conditions or target values.

The Fraunhofer IPT has developed a flexible process software for the efficient automation of highly individual production environments: A so-called "Integration Framework" makes it possible to extract parameterizable services from all systems and devices and make them available to the process software in a modular way. As required, individual services can be executed or combined to create arbitrarily complex sequences.

The process software developed controls all procedures and monitors facilities, devices and material usage. Resources are managed by a scheduling algorithm that can be adapted to the respective application. The software reacts flexibly to changes in the quality characteristics or states of the overall system and adapts process sequences and processes accordingly.

In addition, the software has various logging functions that ensure data consistency at process and device level. The data is systematically recorded, processed and stored. A user-friendly user interface displays all relevant functions and data to the user and supports evaluation.

Our services

  • Requirement analysis and conception of flexible production systems
  • Design of adaptive controls for processes and process chains
  • Programming and implementation of individual, flexible automation solutions
  • Software development for evaluation, presentation and documentation of production, measurement and test results
  • Feasibility studies and development of technology demonstrators
  • Project management and system integration


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.


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.


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.



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