Intelligent planning – optimum utilization of machinery

Innovation project: Virtual machine tools for production planning

Production in Germany can only remain competitive if production units are run efficiently. Production planning is already supported by software systems from the “digital factory” and “virtual production” fields. As yet, however, simulation programs do not take into account all aspects of production planning and control. Considerable research is still needed in this area to allow companies to optimize the utilization of machinery, tools, materials, energy and manpower in their facilities. Only in this way can user-friendliness, reliability and resource efficiency be improved.

The aim of the research project is to develop a service platform that uses virtual machine tools to optimize production planning, with a focus on virtual machine setup, order distribution and refining expert knowledge.

To that end, innovative methods, technologies and IT tools are developed for virtual production planning. These particularly include new approaches to knowledge management, optimization processes that can be carried out in parallel, and web-based processes for distributed computer systems (i.e. the effective combination of computer services at different locations) that house sensitive data. In the process, project partners draw on the results of cross-sectional projects e.g. self-optimization and systems engineering. Pilot projects are conducted with end-user companies to validate various aspects such as machine tool simulations in a cloud environment or automated performance improvements that learn from simulation processes. Prototypes are developed on the basis of the project results and converted into a service platform.

The project results provide fast, automated optimization services for predefined machining processes, and so allow production planning to make optimum use of resources. This could, for example, save up to 80% on machine setup times. Overall time, resource and cost savings of over 30% are expected. In this way, the project makes an important contribution to safeguarding the international competitiveness of companies with production sites in Germany.

Project duration
01 July 2012 - 30 June 2016