Cognitive Engineering and Production

Make manufacturing more efficient and creative | Use digital technology to speed up the development process | Use virtual and participatory methods to plan work processes

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Tomorrow’s flexible production processes

Our research teams have a rich fund of experience in product development and production engineering. We combine this with innovative methods in order to explore and examine the entire process of product creation – from the initial idea and development to production. In order to create competitive solutions, we first test new products and processes in virtual environments such as our Immersive Engineering Lab. We then further develop them in more-realistic environments such as our Future Work Lab. This ensures that we can rapidly transform a new solution into a concrete application.

We use digital tools such as virtual and augmented reality for designing and evaluating concepts, products or even entire buildings. We also explore ways in which digital engineering can accelerate and enhance organizational processes and make them more cost-effective in technical areas of the manufacturing and construction industries. We help our customers from manufacturing industry to develop efficient and ergonomic work processes and work systems. In this respect, our teams see their work as a socio-technical task, in which knowledge of management and change management is just as important as experience in the technical, process and efficiency aspects of a project.

Our key areas of research:

  • Process optimization by means of digital engineering and modern production management – from the idea to the product
  • Identification of future products and markets with regard to frugal innovation
  • Management of product development and strategy development, Engineering 4.0 and IT integration
  • Comprehensive organization of a flexible deployment of human resources, of attractive forms of employment and of lean production systems
  • Design of Workstation 4.0 in development and production
  • Human-robot collaboration
  • Design of collaborative and participatory processes on the basis of advanced visualization technology (virtual and augmented reality)
  • Application and use of virtual and enhanced reality in industry and construction (BIM)

Projects

 

Future Work Lab

Where is work headed? On the factory floor, but also with regard to processes and services, digitalization is raising many new questions. Headed by Fraunhofer IAO, the newly opened “Future Work Lab – an innovation laboratory for work, people and technology” offers innovative approaches and answers.

 

MyCPS

The MyCPS research project aims to develop and carry out initial testing of systematic methods for the practical migration of human-centered digitalized production processes towards becoming cyber-physical systems (CPS).

 

PreVilog: Healthy intralogistics jobs

The PreVilog project kicks off with development of a novel monitoring system that visualizes non-ergonomic stresses in specific contexts that pose short-term and long-term hazards to an employee’s health. On the basis of the monitoring data collected, project partners can then define approaches, models, and methods that promote phases of stress and relaxation in accordance with proper ergonomics and preventive health care.

 

Managing requirements virtually with a customer-integrated innovation process

The VitAmIn project aimed to integrate customers into the virtually supported innovation and development process at a very early stage. To do this, researchers developed methods and tools and summarized them in the VitAmIn method.

 

Rokoko: human-robot collaboration

There is a growing demand for direct human-robot interaction without safety barriers, especially on mixed assembly lines for multiple product variants. The aim of the Rokoko research project is to develop and test methods and tools to support the safe use, cost-effective deployment, and general acceptance of robots in collaborative assembly environments.

 

VisB+: Visualization in the public participation process

How can modern visualization technologies be used to involve the public when planning large construction projects? Large-scale construction projects invariably generate a certain degree of conflict. They must therefore be planned and communicated so that the public accepts them. Together with the University of Hohenheim, a Fraunhofer IAO project team is investigating the overarching research question: what part can visualizations play in ensuring that construction planning is understandable and credible?