In Fraunhofer IAO’s Digital Engineering Lab – DELab for short – it is possible to experience products and their production before they actually exist. The focus of the work carried out in this “living lab” is the process chain from the idea for a new product through to planning the product’s manufacturing and assembly. Focusing on selected examples, researchers investigate and highlight which innovative methods and tools in product and production development could help engineers to develop high-quality products and systems even more efficiently, on time and on budget, while also studying the interactions that exist between individual instruments along the process chain leading to product realization.
Concepts such as digital production, the digital factory, and collaborative engineering are also explored in the DELab as part of integrated virtual product and production development. Particular attention is paid here to the connection between the real and the digital world, i.e. between the product and production system and their representations in software tools. One approach being pursued in research work at the DELab is known as “serious gaming in engineering”, which involves the use of gaming elements not only for communication purposes, but also for developing the digital engineering content of products and production systems.