From an entrepreneurial and economic point of view, changes result in the need for continuous adaptation. Especially in the case of expected changes, flexibility strategies have proven themselves in the past, where solutions were prepared in advance. In contrast, it is much more difficult to deal with changes that occur unexpectedly. For more than 20 years, science has included the concept of adaptability in its research and teaching toolbox. In operational practice, however, the change enablers “universality,” “compatibility,” “modularity,” “scalability” and “mobility” are not yet widely spread. The need for change is recognized too late and the resulting risks are often misjudged.
The goal of the FLoW-mIT research project is to address the following three needs of companies:
- First need: Early recognition of change drivers, identification of the resulting scope of change
- Second need: Understanding of readiness for change among all persons working in the company, especially in management and in expert functions, so that changes can be managed quickly when needed
- Third need: Operating resources (hardware and software) that can be adapted to unforeseen changes to safeguard investments in an uncertain future; plug-and-play-capable systems and applications for selective, cross-application data exchange for low-effort reconfiguration.
For this purpose, the FLoW-mIT research project makes extensive use of existing digital solutions that have emerged in recent years along with Industry 4.0.
The overall results of FLoW-mIT consist of the three exemplary examples “digital twin”, “reconfigurable digital shop floor management” and “adaptable worker assistance system”. This also includes the operational design. Utilization at a higher level is ensured by the detailed guideline that supports industrial companies to deal with change in accordance with the findings from FLoW-mIT.
The Institute for Production Management, Technology and Machine Tools (PTW) will conduct research on adaptability around worker assistance systems:
- Analysis of currently available digital worker assistance systems regarding flexibility and adaptability
- Creation of design guidelines for flexible and adaptable digital worker assistance systems
- Identification of flexible and adaptable digital worker assistance systems in response to external change drivers
- Identification of benefits of digital worker assistance systems for adaptive process design and validation by implementations at application partners
We would like to thank the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany) for sponsoring this project!
The project is carried out in cooperation with the following partners:
- SFM Systems GmbH
- amprela DIGITAL GmbH
- Fabula Games GmbH
- Herrmann Ultraschall GmbH & Co. KG
- HS Mannheim
- John Deere GmbH & Co. KG
- KYOCERA Fineceramics Solutions GmbH
- PROTEKTORWERK Florenz Maisch GmbH & Co. KG
- TRILUX GmbH & Co. KG
- TU Darmstadt, Institut PTW