Manufacturing Application Experiment

Increase of flexibility and real reduction in cost in process design

Industry 4.0 requires full consolidation of manufacturing processes towards service oriented tasks, which are then implemented in corresponding services. This allows the increase of flexibility and real reduction in cost, specifically in process design.

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) can facilitate this consolidation, offering new applications in automation and production technology, including data collection and integration, data management, realization and processing, data analysis, visualization, control, regulation, marketing and sales. Moreover, CPSs can communicate in real time, ultimately enabling dynamic scalability.

The Technology

Virtual Fort Knox

Operated by Fraunhofer IPA, Virtual Fort Knox is the only “open”, federal IT cloud platform, specifically designed to support companies in the real of manufacturing with needs-based manufacturing IT solutions. To keep pace with the rising demand for networked and flexible production, companies must improve their organizational agility. With this in mind, Virtual Fort Knox offers:

  • Everything from one source. Virtual Fort Knox is a one-stop shop, offering a selection of services for manufacturing companies.
  • Research and commercial development. The platform is available for both research and commercial purposes.
  • Function- and needs-based billing solution. No need for major hardware investment!
  • Smooth, fast implementation and integration with new or existing technologies. Virtual Fort Knox completely relies on cloud technologies and open standards thus making the integration of new solutions easier.
  • Safe operation and compliance. With servers located in Germany, the platform fully complies with national data protection laws.
  • Network optimization. Virtual Fort Knox optimizes networking beyond geographical and company boundaries.

CPPS Manufacturing Application Experiment

The CCPPS Manufacturing Application Experiment revolves around industrial automation, more precisely 3D printing activities. The experiment targets emerging industries, especially new, creative and eco-industries.

Automated 3D-Printer equipment will be deployed in a cyber-physical production system, consisting of:

– The CPPS framework that ensures a fluent production process from start to end. The framework automatically delivers the finished products to the surrounding for further processing through a conveyer belt. The service personnel are granted easy accessibility for restocking and maintenance.

– The automation unit that enables the handling of materials and tools inside the CPPS framework through corresponding software services. The unit is used to maneuver smart workpiece holders from their storage facility in the first shelf into the 3D printer in the second shelf; and thereafter to conveyor belt for ejection.

– Two 3D printers using plastic material to create 3D products through a process that involves fused deposition modelling. Incoming orders and commands are passed down through a web-based software interface.

The setup will allow for personalized product requirements to be fed into the platform. The platform will then run searches for adequate machinery to conduct the 3D printing task. Customers can then receive a cost-effective, personalized product in record time – leading to endless possibilities for production.

The components are closely tied to physical housing, and can be self-governed from software through the Virtual Fort Knox platform. This ensures high flexibility, allowing SMEs to actively alter, and optimize the machine by developing other CPSs.

Industry 4.0: where is the next opportunity for microelectronics?

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