• High level of interest in the work at SmartFactoryKL
  • Plans for jointly shaping the production of tomorrow

Germany’s Plattform Industrie 4.0 presents a groundbreaking document with the Manufacturing-X Whitepaper. Since 2019, the ecosystem being built by SmartFactoryKL has been based on the vision of Production Level 4 (PL4) (only in german) and the core concepts are already partially implemented: resilience, sustainability, flexibility, digital twins, interoperability, skills-based production architecture, and shared production.

Manufacturing-X arrives at the right time
Manufacturing-X (M-X) is taking the initiative in addressing what the production of the future should look like in Germany. One concrete result of Industrie 4.0 was the administrative shell, which is now being further developed into the “Digital Product Pass” at SmartFactoryKL (SF-KL). The complete digital mapping of the products makes possible what M-X calls: resilient manufacturing – conceived for a closed loop economy, sustainable and energy efficient, while able to withstand external influences and reduce CO2 emissions. Artificial intelligence can control and coordinate secure trade via digital platforms, with the goal of strengthening competition. SF-KL is also working on another key enabling technology called functional safety, without which modular manufacturing would fail. “If we don’t plan safety concepts from the beginning, their absence becomes a showstopper,” said Prof. Prof. Martin Ruskowski, chairman of the management board of SmartFactoryKL. “One of our main areas of study is operational safety inteligence where we are finding ways to combine AI methods with classic safety requirements. Such intelligent safety concepts (only in german) work with knowledge graphs and digital twins.” The aim is to protect people and machines from harm. This does not always demand stopping the entire production process. Flexible response patterns that can adequately adapt to the situation are much more practical. 

It’s all about the production of the future
Since 2021, as an example of skill-based manufacturing, the shared production network in Kaiserslautern has used the demonstrator to build model trucks. “We have already integrated key technologies that will become widely accepted in the next 10 to 15 years: multiagent systems, operational safety intelligence, digital twins, 5G, and many others,” said Ruskowski adding, “They must be developed and tested today in order for it all to work in the factories of tomorrow. This is why the Manufacturing-X initiative is particularly welcome.” Since 2021, the smartMA-X research project has been working on secure machine and company networks via Gaia-X (only in german) and testing practical implementation in the Production Level 4 demonstrator ecosystem. In the funded development project TWIN4TRUCKS, a consortium under the technical leadership of SF-KL and DFKI is working on developing a “digital foundation layer,” which is about data permeability between different systems at truck manufacturer Daimler Truck. “Now, we no longer work with small model trucks, but with giants weighing several tons,” said Ruskowski. 

Manufacturing-X airs on SmartFactoryKL LIVE on Feb. 16, 2023
Live-Talk topic: “Manufacturing-X, a data ecosystem for Industrie 4.0.” Three experts disuss the strategic importance of Manufacturing-X starting at 1:00 pm, February 16, 2023: Hartmut Rauen, deputy executive director at VDMA, Michael Finkler, CEO of proALPHA, and Prof. Martin Ruskowski, chairman of the management board of SmartFactoryKL

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDOKNSznef8 (only in german)

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