Siemens joins partners to drive forward digitalization of industrial production

16 February 2017

Siemens is joining forces with three partners to take part in the research project "Road to Digital Production (R2D)" supported by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Media, Energy and Technology which is aimed at developing improved technologies, interfaces and infrastructures for the implementation of digital industrial production. Since September 2016, the interdisciplinary team of experts has been working to digitally map and integrate the process landscape of industrial mass production down to the workshop level.

On September 1, 2016, Siemens and its associates, the Fraunhofer IIS, Fraunhofer SCS, iTiZZiMO and KINEXON, launched the research project "Road to Digital Production (R2D)" sponsored by the Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs as part of its Digital Bavaria Initiative. The declared aim of the 26-month project is to advance the development of products and technologies enabling the implementation of digital industrial production. The research and development project will set out to demonstrate that digitalization will not only increase efficiency but also pave the way for optimum quality assurance. With this objective in view, it will be helping to develop new technologies for Cyber-Physical Production Systems (CPPS) and defining principles and methods for batch size 1 manufacture and assembly of a product. It aims to demonstrate how vertical digitalization can be successfully implemented using information from IT systems for order processing and engineering, allowing the realization of paperless, smart production with real-time capability.

In order to digitalize the value chain within production, a smart tag with communication and localization functionality will accompany a product along its entire production process as part of what is known as a "Cyber-Physical System (CPS)". Using the product data carried along by the system and the contextual information gained, the aim is for the smart tag to independently recognize, log and control process steps. The central research issue is how the planning of production and material provision previously carried out centrally can be decentralized and dynamized. With this pilot test, the partners will endeavor to verify not only the system's functionality but also its economy. Following completion of the project, it is hoped that the expertise gained will enable the concept to be transferred to other production lines, plants and companies – and used as a reference framework for individualized industrial production.

Within the scope of the joint project, Siemens will be working with its partners to define the requirements and process descriptions. The partners will also be setting up a test environment in the Test and Application Center L.I.N.K. run by the Fraunhofer IIS in Nuremberg. Following completion of the project, the partners intend to transfer an installation to the low-voltage motor assembly line at the Siemens factory in Nuremberg for testing.

The Fraunhofer IIS and the Fraunhofer SCS are working jointly with Siemens to develop the cyber-physical production system and the smart tags. Their partner KINEXON will be in charge of the high-precision real-time system for 3D-localization and motion sensing. iTiZZiMO's role will be implementation of software integration using smart devices.