Smart Production

Machines that work independently, preventatively, adaptively and with self-learning processes make optimization of production processes possible. Smart Systems test the raw materials being received and the semi-finished products and derive the appropriate settings of the machines. Manufacturing parameters are optimized on the basis of the targeted performance data for the final product.

Intelligent workpiece carriers

Even today, members of the leading cluster are working on the first solutions for intelligent factories of the future. Within the cluster network, Carl Zeiss 3D Automation GmbH, along with a consortium of R&D partners, component manufacturers and system providers, has developed an intelligent workpiece carrier system equipped with its own intelligence and interfaces to the outside world.

Intelligent service robots

In nearly all implementations of service robotics, the reliable orientation and positioning of the actuators during interaction with humans is a huge challenge to technological development. Member Festo AG & Co. KG, working along with other partners in the cluster group, has developed miniaturized 3D optics for a modular robot system.

In the future, intelligent products and workpiece carriers will communicate with the machines in their vicinity as cyberphysical production systems (CPPS) and will partially control the manufacturing system autonomously. The ability of intelligent systems to communicate independently with a user, with other intelligent systems or even between functional groups within a single system will be a major contribution to realizing the vision of “Industry 4.0”.

Cyber-physical production systems

Microsystem technology will play a central role in the development of cyber-physical production systems – for miniaturized sensors and actuators, for example, which can be used as intelligent, networked and autonomous sub- or overall systems in manufacturing or in logistics. Leading cluster microTEC Südwest is working intensively on the construction of an internationally leading system platform. For this purpose, cooperative efforts are being made with leading ICT actors and networks.

“Rapid worldwide technological change is leading to evershortening product life cycles. Add to that the individual customizing wishes of the customers. New production will have to fulfill these demands – with intelligent systems from the cluster microTEC Südwest.”

Dr. Eberhard Veit, CEO of FESTO AG & Co.KG, Esslingen


Success stories

Intelligent workpiece carriersmoreclose

Set-up station for intelligent workpiece carriers

Carl Zeiss 3D Automation GmbH produces sensor parts, socalled styli, for coordinate measuring machines which are used in measuring industrial workpieces. In the cluster an intelligent and process-supporting workpiece carrier system has been developed to increase the quality and traceability in microtechnical production processes. Depending on the individual case of usage, the workpiece carrier system is loaded modularly with sensors and actuators and can be used as a carrier for various workpieces. It operates independently through contact-free energy transfer and contains an energy storage device as well as an energy and data management system. In addition, it has a short range wireless network to sensors and actuators and a long range wireless network to the cell control system.

Through the unbroken traceability of all production steps, the production processes are supported and the quality of the final product is increased. The workpiece carrier system can function as a cyber-physical production system. This is a further step in the field of automation technology heading in the direction of “Industry 4.0”.

Three dimensional imaging for service robotsmoreclose

Intelligent service robots

In nearly all implementations of service robotics, the reliable orientation and positioning of the actuators during interaction with humans is of great interest. Working out technological solutions for optimal positioning of service robots in a space or in relation to an interaction object remains a huge challenge to technological development. Cluster member Festo AG & Co. KG is working with other partners from MicroTEC Südwest on developing an imaging sensor technology suitable for this, based on the three dimensional optical recognition of objects in a space. The high degree of miniaturization, the modularity as well as the plug and play capability of the system show the important role of microsystem technology in the intelligent cooperation of humans and technology.

The development is based on the results of a previous cluster project in which a configurable 2D camera for microsystems was successfully developed. Building on that a new generation of service robotics allows the safe interaction of humans and robots in industrial fields, for example in assembly or when dealing with substances that are hazardous or harmful to health. Further areas of use include implementation as assistant robots in health care or in agriculture as harvesters of high-priced crops.