Why should a company intervene in well-functioning production processes? To what extent can existing processes be optimized or even redesigned using digital methods? IT solutions can usually be better assessed and evaluated on the basis of concrete applications than with the help of guided presentations and software or hardware demos at trade shows or on-site at the supplier's premises. To give companies a deeper insight into the digital toolbox of networked, adaptive production and to present concrete solutions, the Fraunhofer team of experts has developed the "Digital Service Portal" together with the industry partners of the International Center for Networked, Adaptive Production ICNAP. The portal makes numerous digital offers to users to familiarize themselves with the methods of Big Data analysis and other IT tools. For example, manufacturing companies can have individual production processes analyzed on the basis of NC data from different machines and systems. A new machine learning approach makes it easier for employees without special training to apply machine learning models by automatically processing the data and suggesting suitable algorithms by the system. For example, a so-called battery module configurator is available for electromobility applications: The configurator suggests suitable battery cells for the respective application and recommends parameters for laser beam welding to connect the individual modules. The Digital Service Portal is based on the Fraunhofer Edge Cloud, which was developed in collaboration with the company's partner German Edge Cloud. Following registration, users can test the various service offerings. For more in-depth interest or questions about further, also individual applications, the scientific contact persons of the Aachen Fraunhofer Institutes are available.
Working out solutions together
The three Aachen-based Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Technology IPT, for Laser Technology ILT and for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME are working together with other experts from industry and research in the ICNAP to identify the new solutions from information technology that can actually bring about the transformation to Industry 4.0 and the prerequisites that need to be met in the process. The ICNAP community currently comprises more than 20 partners who are working together to develop solutions for the intelligent digitization of their production processes and environments. Manufacturing companies cooperate here specifically with software and hardware providers who want to provide and further develop digital technologies.