Optical technologies have been a mainstay of German industry for over 150 years, especially to large, long-established companies of world renown as well as to a host of emerging companies, which have also established themselves worldwide in certain technologies. To help SMEs in particular to efficiently and rapidly advance new or further process developments, a research infrastructure for the production of complex optical systems which will map all necessary process components of an optics production chain, is being established at the Fraunhofer IPT.
The goal of the EverPro research project is to develop a cross-technology and transferable infrastructure concept for manufacturing companies with several different process chains for the production of complex products based on the example of optics manufacturing. The structuring of the individual process chains through digitalization and networking measures plays a decisive role. Particular challenges are presented by the integration of heterogeneous and semi- to unstructured data sources and the development of a robust, future-oriented data infrastructure.
The networking and adaptivity of optical production chains, which is the aim of the EverPro project, opens up opportunities to make production processes more efficient. The quality of the components can be influenced during the production process via adapted process parameters or tolerance matching, instead of merely discard scrap parts at the end of production. With the help of a digital twin, the production chain is mapped and production data are evaluated online for future process steps.
It is anticipated that the outcome of the EverPro research project will form the basis for the Aachen Center for Optics Production ACOP and will be used to set up and test the infrastructure required to operate the center. This will lead to improved and transparent communications with the customer and a realistic time and cost estimation for any upcoming expenditure and process developments.
The project "EverPro - Efficient Networking of Optical Production Systems" is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020.
Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT, Aachen