Digitalization and automation are changing our working environments: Computers control production processes, robots handle all kinds of tasks, humans and machines must work together closely. The 2016 Hannover Trade Fair, the leading industrial trade fair worldwide, will showcase prominent research projects of scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Among the highlights is an assembly workstation equipped with the latest communication technologies.
Ever faster, ever more efficient, ever more customized: Production continues breaking records, one after the other. Industry 4.0 makes it possible: Algorithms control material flows, warehousing, production and delivery – and enable the continuous exchange of information between robots and electronic control units. This allows entire factories to adapt extremely quickly to changes in order books and to accommodate special customer requirements on short notice. But, what about the human factor in in the midst of all these advances?
At the Hannover Fair 2016 engineers from the Institute of Tool Machines and Industrial Management at the TU Munich show that assembly workers, too, profit from the new technologies: At the workstations developed by the researchers, assemblers can access databases and communicate with colleagues via tablet PCs, smart phones and smart watches.
Work orders and supplemental information on components being assembled are easily referenced. When problems arise the software offers step by step instructions. And in case of an emergency workers can call for help via an app, after all, they are permanently connected with their colleagues. The assembly workstation of the future is on display at the exhibition stand of the TU9 German Institutes of Technology in Hall 2, Stand C40. http://www.iwb.tum.de
But, not only workplaces are changing. Demographic transformations and technology developments call for new organizational structures. Experts at the Department of Product Development at the TUM are working on an “Open Organization” model in their RAKOON project. The model considers the changing needs of workers, as well as technological development processes and corporate requirements. The TUM researchers present new possibilities for collaboration at the exhibition stand of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in Hall 2, Stand B22. http://www.pe.mw.tum.de
20 Million for robotics
To expedite the transfer of European cutting-edge research in the field of robotics to practical applications, the EU called to life ECHORD++, the European Coordination Hub for Open Robotics Development. The goal of the project, which will run until September 2018, is to develop marketable automation technology at competitive prices. The TUM Chair for Robotics and Embedded Systems is responsible for coordination and presents the project in the European Commission Pavilion in Hall 7, Stand E04. They present the concept of robot swarms for planting corn, a robot for cheese factories and an automated guidance system (AGV) for flexible material transport www.echord.eu
TUM researchers at Bayern Innovativ
Scientists of the TUM also present numerous examples of leading research at the Bayern Innovativ exhibition stand in Hall 2, Stand A52:
- Experts from the Department of Product Development demonstrate the possibilities for simulating product characteristics in their FORPRO2 project: www.pe.mw.tum.de
- Scientists from the Chair for Robotics and Embedded Systems offer a virtual walk through a robotics laboratory and show an exoskeleton for the upper arm, which helps its wearer to lift heavy loads: www.echord.eu
- Researchers in the field of energy conversion technology present the eCARus 2.0 electric car developed and built by students: www.ecarus.ei.tum.de
Various TUM spin-offs are also present at the Bayern Innovativ stand:
- Soley develops analysis software tools for engineers: www.soley-technology.com
- INVENOX produces lithium-ion batteries for mobile applications: www.invenox.de
- Evomecs provides software for the automation of single-part production: www.evomecs.com
- Aerolas presents air bearings and precision drive units: www.aerolas.de/de
Software: the key to production of the future
Whether automotive components, televisions or food items – IT is becoming increasingly important in all production domains. Here, manufacturing execution systems (MES) will play a decisive roll. On April 28th experts will discuss the latest developments at the eighth MES Conference in the Hannover Convention Center. Prof. Birgit Vogel-Heuser, chair of the Department of Automation and Information Systems at TUM, will hold a talk on the fundamental significance of MES engineering for Industry 4.0.