Innovation Projects

Innovation Projects

We would like to briefly introduce some of our innovation projects and project highlights to you:

Topic 5G

What it’s all about

In collaboration with our partners, we explore the potential of mobile communications (4G and 5G) for industrial applications through constant testing for various use cases along the entire value chain.

Our objective

To test mobile communications for its potential to increase the productive benefit for industrial applications.

Our approach

Following a holistic approach, we consider interesting use cases in production as well as logistics and along the entire value chain. We focus on connecting existing solutions to mobile network and test them afterwards. At the same time, we intend to develop new solutions that generate added value by combining different applications or additional, interoperable use of data already collected. For the upcoming 5G mobile communications standard, network slicing and edge computing are particularly important to consider in addition to the already established, current 4G standard. Both the “5G Application Lab” test bed in the Aachen demo factory, which we operate jointly with Ericsson, and the upcoming Telekom campus network provide us with the optimal infrastructure for this on site.

Application examples

  • Comparing WiFi and LTE by linking live video signals of an autonomous, driverless transport vehicle via WiFi and LTE
  • Retrofit of older assets and production plants with sensors connected via LTE or 5G
  • Data feedback via mobile communications given by a production line which is fully connected to the operational applications
  • Creating added value through further use of data streams that are generated for the operation of autonomous, driverless transport vehicles with variable data analysis in the cloud or on Edge
  • Future Logistics test bed

Members involved

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Future Logistics

What it’s all about

In close collaboration with our partners, we test and develop the adaptive value chain of an automotive supplier using and combining various technological solutions.

Our objective

Through this transparent as well as adaptive value network – from the supplier, various production and transport stations to the customer – is seen as a technology test bed in which various solutions for data acquisition, evaluation and feedback are linked in real time.
In the long-term, we attempt to establish an interoperable value chain that includes standardized interfaces. This way, individual adaptation can be matched with individual application and we are able to roll out live systems at the push of a button.

First application examples

  • Transparency as basis for decision-making, (self-) optimization and process planning
  • Systemic and technological building blocks are connected through a generic and scalable IT infrastructure
  • Heterogeneous technology modules are linked to record data from the shop floor via internal and external transport routes and various stakeholders up to the arrival of goods
  • Real-time information is provided to support users in the decision-making process
  • This technology test field is reassembled in the Demonstration Factory Aachen

Members involved

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Blockchain

What it’s all about

Demonstrating of applicability and utility of blockchain in production logistics

What we achieved so far

Events of individual logistics participants along an illustrated value chain were stored in a blockchain and transmitted to various actors in a manipulation-proof manner.
As such, the resulting cross-company database is not dependent on intermediaries, contains all events and provides verifiable traceability across the supply chain.

Application examples

  • Trustworthy data for decentralized network systems beginning at the sensor level
  • Simple and secure exchange of information along the value chain
  • Tamper-proof documentation and verification of business events
  • Clear traceability of production and transport processes
  • Highly scalable IT infrastructure suitable for industrial use

Members involved

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Information on Demand

What it’s all about

Providing targeted asset information, improving process reliability and traceability of operating processes

What we achieved 

Together with the project consortium we have developed an operative industry pilot which demonstrates exactly how relevant information can be provided in line meeting industrial application requirements. Using data matrix codes assets and required resources can be clearly identified and relevant information such as technical data, contact information and instructions can be displayed on a mobile device. Apart from this, the identification technology is used to verify the equipment required for a process in order to prevent confusion with serious consequences. On the basis of a specified role concept, the application ensures that the employee is authorized to carry out the respective maintenance process. By documenting these processes on an internet platform, all interventions can be traced back and analyzed.

Application examples

  • Improved process reliability through clear verification of operating resources
  • Reduced training efforts for employees due to easy-to-understand instructions
  • Increased traceability and transparency in maintenance and tooling processes

Members involved

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Smart Carrier

What it’s all about

Process transparency and sequence optimization of internal and cross-location transport of goods and services in field trials.

What we achieved

Technology and system solutions were combined and interconnected for automated data collection. This way, process transparency could be increased and the sequence of the company-internal transport of goods could be optimized.

As a final step, we were able to prove these results – and thus their applicability for processes across locations and in real time – with a prototype in the field test.

Application examples

  • Conceptual design of an interoperable IT architecture for cross-plant logistics with Industrial IoT technologies for Track & Trace
  • Modular construction of a technology infrastructure and implementation of data consistency across all participating systems
  • Direct technical implementation of a digital shadow in the field test together with sensor manufacturer SICK for carrier systems in plant logistics
  • Fine-tuning and prioritization of orders with Qualicision
  • Visualization of all relevant information via a dashboard with SAP Fiori on a SAP cloud platform

Members involved

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Digital Assistance Systems

What it’s all about

Demonstrating virtual support for the assembly line.

What we achieved

  • Work instructions for the assembly process become intuitively visible and the optimal sequence is specified by means of a virtual, animated, three-dimensional image of the assembled device.
  • Moreover, detailed information about components and parameter values used in the assembly process are added tot he image.
  • Various options for interaction with the image provide the necessary flexibility.

Application examples

  • Education of new employees
  • Interactive „dictionary“ for employees
  • Special features/adjustments for small quantities are easily visible
  • Assembly documentation

Companies involved

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