HMI 2013: Factory and city come together

Foto: Bernd Müller, © Fraunhofer IAO


Fraunhofer IAO to showcase Morgenstadt (city of the future) and Industry 4.0 exhibits

At the Hannover Messe from April 8-12, 2013, Fraunhofer IAO will be offering an insight into some current research activities addressing trending themes in production, with a focus on concepts for sustainably shaping the cities of the future, ideas for production in the city, as well as the “KapaflexCy” tool for flexibly assigning personnel within the production process.

The Hannover Messe’s decision to go with the lead theme of “Integrated Industry” this year puts the spotlight on a trend that is also known by the buzzword “Industry 4.0”. This is about networking products or production processes, allowing them to exchange information autonomously over the internet. A number of Fraunhofer institutes have teamed up to showcase their research projects on the future of manufacturing activities, which can be viewed at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s main booth under the title of “The factory of the future” (Hall 2, Booth D18).

Fraunhofer IAO is one of those taking part and will be showcasing its “KapaflexCy” personnel planning tool. The future of work demands a great deal of flexibility. Turbulent markets require dynamic adjustments to production capacity. That is why, in the “KapaflexCy” research project, Fraunhofer IAO is developing solutions targeted at managing production capacity within companies together with employees in a highly flexible and responsive way. Horizontal decisions made in teams will replace the “top down” vertical cascading of instructions common today. Smartphones and social media tools will make things even simpler and quicker.

Hall 1 focuses on the progressive urbanization we are seeing across the world. Today, over half of the world’s population lives in cities, a figure expected to rise to 60% by 2030. Meanwhile, cities are under increasing pressure to find ways to deal with global megatrends such as climate change, a scarcity of natural resources, demographic shifts, and even rising living standards – all the while faced with the expectation that the cities of the future will be developed sustainably. Fraunhofer’s city of the future initiative coordinates research activities to address these forthcoming challenges. The interactive Fraunhofer IAO and Fraunhofer IBP exhibit at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s “Metropolitan Solutions” booth (Hall 1, Booth E16) invites visitors to find out more about Fraunhofer’s activities within the city of the future initiative.

How does production change when it is transferred to the city? The “Urban Production” showcase provides a foretaste of what might be to come, demonstrating the potential of immersive, interactive planning in visualizing production systems and factories in the cities of the future. Products and processes that do not (yet) exist in real life are given form, while complex correlations can be understood intuitively. Virtual reality turns simulation results or the evaluation of data and models into a spatial experience, opening up new approaches for integration and communication during the planning process.