• SmartFactoryKL: Focused on the key enabling technologies for future production
  • Topics like sustainability and Manufacturing-X were the crowd magnets

The number of visitors to the SmartFactoryKL (SF-KL) exhibit stand doubled on account of the asset administration shell (AAS) and the safety use case called “Operational Safety Intelligence.” The content of topics related to the production of the future held a notable appeal. “We wanted to achieve two communication goals at the Hannover Messe. First, we wanted to convey a vision of what production will look like in the next five to fifteen years. Then, we wanted to introduce the audience to the major key enabling technologies that will be required,” said Dr. Ingo Herbst, Head of Communications and press spokesperson at SF-KL. “What’s important is the context. The potential of technologies like administrative shells, data platforms, and artificial intelligence is best appreciated in an overall vision of future manufacturing,” added Prof. Martin Ruskowski, CEO of SF-KL. SmartFactoryKL calls this vision Production Level 4.

The asset administrative shell at the Hannover Messe
A touchscreen displayed the administrative shells of the plug connectors from two suppliers, as well as that of the model truck produced at the stand. The information starts at the top level with generally understandable data on material composition, carbon footprint, and energy consumption. Also, by drilling down to deeper branches, more technical data becomes available. “I could not begin to count how many people I introduced to the administrative shell,” said Ruskowski. “It was the first time many of them had ever ‘seen’ an administrative shell and, to those interested, it was quickly clear why this is a key technology.”

Operational Safety Intelligence
A revolutionary safety use case was also presented. The intelligent safety system reacts flexibly depending on the hazard situation. Production can be slowed down in stages or stopped completely. The AI system analyzes human behavior in the danger zone and adjusts the machine reactions. “The advantage of this system is that production is only interrupted in extreme cases. At first, the machines just work slower while the AI continues to analyze the risk,” said Ruskowski. If the risk disappears, production ramps back up again. Members of the association (B&R Automation, TÜV SÜD, and PILZ) developed this use-case in the “Safety & Control” working group at SF-KL.

fltr: Prof. Martin Ruskowski, Prof. Wolfgang Wahlster and Henning Kagermann, Dr. Ingo Herbst
Photo: Julian Hörndlein

Manufacturing-X is everywhere
“The spirit of optimism surrounding Manufacturing-X could be felt everywhere. This became very clear in my talks with Industrie-4.0 founders Wolfgang Wahlster und Henning Kagermann on Monday, as well as with Hartmut Rauen from VDMA, and Michael Finkler from proALPHA on Tuesday,” said Ruskowski. The initiative is seen as a development in the right direction. The Electronic.net headline read: “Manufacturing-X – the avalanche is now rolling“. “More and more companies understand that data platforms and shared production are the future of the shop floor. At the trade show, we demonstrated exactly how this can work at production station_KUBA. We also have the demonstrator ecosystem in Kaiserslautern that shows this as well, but is much more complex,” concluded Ruskowski. His Keynote delivered at the Industrie 4.0 Conference Stage also covered this topic.

fltr: Prof. Martin Ruskowski, Hartmut Rauen, Michael Finkler
Photo: Julian Hörndlein

Major milestones for the future at the Hannover Messe
Doubling the number of visitors in attendance is an important signal. “We interpret this as a new beginning,” said Ingo Herbst. “However, changes in business are currently happening everywhere and this will also be felt at trade fairs: How exactly, time will tell. But, we certainly plan to be back at Hannover in 2024!”

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