- Companies recognize the need for Shared Production
- SmartFactoryKL shows the way to resilient production systems
Both German Chancellor Scholz and Economics Minister Habeck were clear in their speeches at the Hannover Messe 2022 that they expect manufacturers in the future to have a more flexible response to external disruptions. “It seems the time has come for everyone to better understand that to achieve sustainability goals something has to change,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Ruskowski, Chairman of the Executive Board of SmartFactoryKL. “We offer practical answers to many urgent questions concerning Shared Production.”
Hands-on display of shared production
The modularly designed production cell at the SmartFactory-KL exhibit booth produces a custom designed model truck. The visitors to the booth determine the final design. Subsequently, they can follow the components live as they are produced at various locations: in Kaiserslautern, a robot mills the trailer, a laser cuts another component in The Netherlands, and quality control takes place in a Cloud working with artificial intelligence from a Spanish company (AI as a Service). “Our Shared Production exhibit showed the advances we have made in Industrie 4.0 to many company representatives and members of trade associations,” said Ruskowski. “For the first time, they got a tangible experience of how people, machines and software will work together in the future.” Equally impressed were the pioneers of Industrie 4.0, Professors Wolfgang Wahlster and Detlef Zühlke.
Automobile branch and shared production
Prof. Ruskowski gave a well received presentation at the Automotive Production Summit: “Forward-looking, Resilient, and Sustainable – Production Level 4 stands for manufacturing of the future.” He told the audience that because of supply chain disruptions and the reordering of the world, a rethinking of manufacturing is inevitable. According to Ruskowski, “Industrie 4.0 was the beginning of a path that must be consistently followed in order to meet future challenges in manufacturing. Automotive production, in particular, is facing radical change with the various drive concepts and flexibility takes on a whole new importance. We are very proud to be able to provide approaches to handle this change.” SmartFactoryKL has been working for years with automotive manufacturers on individual research projects. To date, these projects have focused on multi-agent systems. “Several company representatives approached me after my presentation. I am very interested to see whether the industry will succeed in implementing the 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Ruskowski.
Hannover Messe – A place of comparisons
Eric Brabänder has been a member of the SmartFactoryKL executive board since May 2022. In speaking of the Hannover Messe, he brings up another aspect: “In a way, it’s a showcase event for us. It is important for us to know where we stand relative to other companies, research institutes, and associations. It is fair to compare SmartFactory Kaiserslautern to a speedboat. We are already moving fast with initial versions of shared production up and running, while we still have to explain the concept to others.”
Nothing can replace face-to-face meetings and networking: that is the take away from Hannover Messe 2022. Despite the expected lower visitor count compared to 2019, a new trend was noted. “The quality of the discussions was of a much higher level,” said Ruskowski. SmartFactoryKL broadcast all presentations live via the Internet. “This was an exciting experiment for us. The online viewers were nearly as numerous as the on-site visitors,” said Ruskowski. The overall conclusion: We will be back in 2023!