Digital tools for the factory of the future

Digital Engineering Lab
Foto: Bernd Müller, © Fraunhofer IAO


Fraunhofer IAO and Dassault Systèmes collaborate in product and production development

Fraunhofer IAO and software company Dassault Systèmes will now be pooling their digital factory know-how. By combining a knowledge of scientific techniques with software expertise, they aim to communicate and build on the potential offered when integrating product and production development.

Digital tools are now a standard part of product development and production planning. Companies use information technology in the hope that it will enhance the speed, quality and cost-efficiency of their processes. If the potential of digital tools and techniques is to be exploited fully, there needs to be an awareness of what they can do, how they can best be used, and which are the key factors in implementing them successfully from an organizational and employee point of view.

Fraunhofer IAO and Dassault Systèmes intend to make use of their partnership to put together a comprehensive package addressing the implementation and use of digital tools in the factory of the future. Fraunhofer IAO’s contribution is its years of experience working on research and application projects. The institute’s knowledge of processes and techniques is grounded in theory, proven in practice, and encompasses all aspects of digital production. With its comprehensive portfolio of software aimed at “the digital factory and virtual product development” – as well as an in-depth knowledge of processes and the sector – Dassault Systèmes is the ideal partner for bridging the gap between theory and practice.

Digital tools for the factory of the future
© Storymaker GmbH

Digital tools for the factory of the future

Director Prof. Dieter Spath explains the background to the partnership: “Manufacturing companies need to keep on presenting new products to the market in quick succession, producing them across scattered sites using virtual partner networks and employing existing machines and facilities where possible.” The collaboration partners intend to come up with process chains that are incorporated into software to examine how this can be done successfully, showcasing the results in Fraunhofer IAO’s Digital Engineering Lab (DELab). Here, a multi-touch table allows users to work through scenarios – for instance, how changing a component impacts the production process and workflow. The Immersive Engineering Lab uses 3D projection to call up a life-size model of a factory. This can be viewed from any angle and allows users to make changes and examine their effects in real time. “The industrial sector must use modern tools and techniques if it is to maintain its position in a fiercely competitive global market. This partnership will give companies access to forward-looking work environments,” said Andreas Barth, Managing Director EuroCentral of Dassault Systèmes at the signing of the cooperation agreement.

The two partners are linked not just by several projects but also by Dassault Systèmes’ “DELMIA” brand. DELMIA has its origins in the company DELTA Industrie Informatik GmbH, a Fraunhofer IAO spin-off established in 1992 – meaning that the partners enjoy close connections in terms of workforce as well as activities.