• Machines networked across locations
  • SmartFactoryKL demonstrator LIVE and digital

Networked production brings flexibility, but also complexity. New system architectures require new forms of communication, coordination, and control on the software side. AI technologies increasingly used for research on “translations” for human understanding. “There are some great ideas out there, but standards are still lacking for the widespread implementation of the new technologies,” said Prof. Martin Ruskowski, Chairman of the Executive Board at SmartFactory Kaiserslautern. “We must have agreement on key enabling technologies to make further advances in development.”

“Shared Production” is the future
Capabilities-based cooperation between autonomous modules, even those outside of the factory, has been a research aim at SmartFactoryKL (SF-KL) for years and it is at the core of the Production Level 4 concept. Working groups within the association membership are presently tackling the issue of coordination among the autonomous elements. “We develop concepts for multi-agent systems,” explained Ruskowski. “We are facing the challenge of enabling subscribers in the networks to agree and coordinate. To do this, they need data about the product being manufactured, its location, and the work steps that have already been performed and those that are still pending.” Until now, this information was stored in the product itself, for example, on the RFID chip. However, scientists want to move away from this practice because it subject to problems, for example, from thermal conversion and immersion baths. “Currently, we are working on a central registry, accessible to all capabilities,” said Ruskowski. These capabilities (skills) must function independent of technology as encapsulated units, while still working together thanks to defined standards. “Production Bots” or “software agents” play a key role in work scheduling. Prof. Ruskowski provides more detail in his keynote “Autonomous, resilient, agile – Production Level 4 defining the production of the future” at the Hannover Messe on April 13 at 2:45PM.

GAIA-X Simulation
Evaluating and understanding machine data is one of the research areas within the SmartFactoryKL network. A simulation developed by the partners provides an example of what the communication among the machines can look like. “That is just the first step. AI operations must be understandable for people at every level,” said Ruskowski, “because only then can we detect errors and intervene, if necessary.” The simulation is presented multiple times in the comprehensive LIVE Program of SmartFactoryKL.

See the Production Level 4 demonstrator online
In the absence of a physical trade fair, SmartFactoryKL is introducing the demonstrator in a regular LIVE-broadcast on the homepage of the Hannover Messe Digital Edition, as well as on YouTube. There is also an interactive online presentation. “We want others to see what we are currently working on with our 22 demonstrator partners,” said Ruskowski. “At the moment, our focus is on stabilizing that complex system, which involves mainly invisible software-based steps and common definitions.” In addition, ongoing research in the smartMA-X project covers topics like lifecycle files, resource optimization, multi-agent systems, and interface standards for GAIA-X.

22 Partners in Demonstrator 2021

  • B&R Industrie-Elektronik
  • BELDEN Electronics
  • Bosch Rexroth
  • Deutsche Telekom
  • DFKI 
  • Empolis Information Management
  • EPLAN Software & Service
  • German Edge Cloud
  • Huawei Technologies Düsseldorf
  • IBM Deutschland
  • KIST Europe Forschungsgesellschaft
  • MiniTec
  • Pfalzkom
  • Perinet
  • Pilz
  • proALPHA Business Solutions
  • Siemens
  • TU Kaiserslautern
  • TE Connectivity Germany
  • Weidmüller Interface

Download the latest photos here: https://www.smartfactory.de/bilder-2021/

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