28/5/2014

Industry 4.0: Flexible production with Plug & Produce

Industry 4.0: Flexible production with Plug & Produce

Research project AutoPnP successfully completed
In the AutoPnP project, Festo together with Festo Didactic and fortiss has developed an open software architecture for automation systems.

In industrial production there is a growing trend towards customised products and increasingly short product life cycles. Flexible production units with variable configuration are therefore an important element of the production of the future. This requires components that intelligently and autonomously network and configure themselves. In the AutoPnP research project, Festo together with Festo Didactic and fortiss has developed an open software architecture for automation systems that makes such simple networking possible. The research results are to be presented on the basis of a demonstration plant at the Automatica in Munich from 3rd to 6th June 2014.

 

The so-called Plug & Produce ability of components is one of the visions connected with Industry 4.0. “The principle is similar to that of a USB interface on a computer that enables ancillary devices to register directly with the host computer and communicate with it,” explains Bernd Kärcher, Head of Research Mechatronic Components at Festo. “Individual components will be able to register with the production plant in the factory of the future in just the same way.” The vision even goes a step further: the next objective is decentralised intelligence for the system. This means that the components themselves will assume control functions from the master computer.

 

Adaptive production system

The project “AutoPnP – Plug & Play for Automation Systems”, sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, set out to develop a production plant that can be rapidly adapted to changed conditions by means of standardised subsystems and a likewise standardised software architecture. Together with Festo Didactic and fortiss, Festo developed a concept which thanks to Plug & Produce makes it much easier to initiate operation of the components of a production plant at the level of individual processing stations; it thus takes up significant issues arising from Industry 4.0.

 

The solution developed allows stations of a production plant to be combined as required. These register with a superordinate production planning and control system, with information about their abilities and material flow. The system prepares a production plan appropriate to the layout of the facility; this enables the respective production orders to be flexibly carried out. The findings from AutoPnP help above all to reduce the effort involved in the configuration and programming of control systems. Various different products can be planned and produced with only a minimum of interruption.

 

Demonstration unit at the Automatica

As part of the project, the research institute fortiss and Festo Didactic drew up the concept and initial prototypes of the Plug & Play-capable module for the Modular Production System (MPS®), which they used as the basis for a demonstration unit; this is to be shown at the Automatica at Stand A5-530 in the course of the presentation of the project results. The facility consists of various processing stations and the mobile robot platform Robotino® as a flexible transport system. “With the demonstration unit, we are showing on the basis of a specific example – similarly to our learning factories – how preparation times in production can be minimised and the adaptability of factories increased. Users are thereby given ideas for implementing similar scenarios in future,” said Dr. Dirk Pensky, Product Manager Festo Didactic.

 

Each station has been provided with its own control units – in some cases from different manufacturers. Any number of stations can now be arbitrarily combined in any desired layout configuration, and up to 18 different products and variants can be manufactured. Furthermore, the users can equip their own workstations with different modules in order to adapt them rapidly and safely to new operating conditions.

 

 

About AutoPnP

AutoPnP is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) as part of the AUTONOMIK programme. Associated partners are the Technical University of Berlin/DAI Laboratory, fortiss GmbH, Dussmann AG, Festo AG & Co. KG, Festo Didactic GmbH & Co. KG, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA and Schunk GmbH.

Internet presence of the project: www.autopnp.com 

The so-called Plug & Produce ability of components is one of the visions connected with Industry 4.0. “The principle is similar to that of a USB interface on a computer that enables ancillary devices to register directly with the host computer and communicate with it,” explains Bernd Kärcher, Head of Research Mechatronic Components at Festo. “Individual components will be able to register with the production plant in the factory of the future in just the same way.” The vision even goes a step further: the next objective is decentralised intelligence for the system. This means that the components themselves will assume control functions from the master computer.

 

Adaptive production system

The project “AutoPnP – Plug & Play for Automation Systems”, sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, set out to develop a production plant that can be rapidly adapted to changed conditions by means of standardised subsystems and a likewise standardised software architecture. Together with Festo Didactic and fortiss, Festo developed a concept which thanks to Plug & Produce makes it much easier to initiate operation of the components of a production plant at the level of individual processing stations; it thus takes up significant issues arising from Industry 4.0.

 

The solution developed allows stations of a production plant to be combined as required. These register with a superordinate production planning and control system, with information about their abilities and material flow. The system prepares a production plan appropriate to the layout of the facility; this enables the respective production orders to be flexibly carried out. The findings from AutoPnP help above all to reduce the effort involved in the configuration and programming of control systems. Various different products can be planned and produced with only a minimum of interruption.

 

Demonstration unit at the Automatica

As part of the project, the research institute fortiss and Festo Didactic drew up the concept and initial prototypes of the Plug & Play-capable module for the Modular Production System (MPS®), which they used as the basis for a demonstration unit; this is to be shown at the Automatica at Stand A5-530 in the course of the presentation of the project results. The facility consists of various processing stations and the mobile robot platform Robotino® as a flexible transport system. “With the demonstration unit, we are showing on the basis of a specific example – similarly to our learning factories – how preparation times in production can be minimised and the adaptability of factories increased. Users are thereby given ideas for implementing similar scenarios in future,” said Dr. Dirk Pensky, Product Manager Festo Didactic.

 

Each station has been provided with its own control units – in some cases from different manufacturers. Any number of stations can now be arbitrarily combined in any desired layout configuration, and up to 18 different products and variants can be manufactured. Furthermore, the users can equip their own workstations with different modules in order to adapt them rapidly and safely to new operating conditions.

 

 

About AutoPnP

AutoPnP is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) as part of the AUTONOMIK programme. Associated partners are the Technical University of Berlin/DAI Laboratory, fortiss GmbH, Dussmann AG, Festo AG & Co. KG, Festo Didactic GmbH & Co. KG, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA and Schunk GmbH.

Internet presence of the project: www.autopnp.com

Contact:

Annette Ostertag

+49(711)347-53830


Festo Media Service

 
 

Photos

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AutoPnP_Demonstrationsanlage Plug & Produce in practical application: the AutoPnP demonstration unit shows how preparation times in production can be minimised and the adaptability of factories increased.