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prostep ivip Symposium 2017 - At the boundary between digital and real world

Darmstadt - June – Companies have taken up the challenge of digitization and are in the process of consistently digitizing their processes in product development and production. So it appeared at the prostep ivip Symposium 2017, which this year celebrated its 20th anniversary.  More than 600 participants from 16 countries attended the traditional reunion of IT-representatives from automotive, aerospace and other industries, including leading representatives of the PLM industry and distinguished members of the scientific community. Furthermore, 35 software manufacturers and service providers showcased their solutions at the Colosseum Theatre in Essen, Germany.  

There are many possible answers to the challenges posed by digitization. In his keynote Dr. Michael Picard from thyssenkrupp AG, industry sponsor of this year’s symposium, explained with the aid of different examples, how the industrial company exploits the potential of cloud-computing, big data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) etc. to advance its business in automotive, aerospace, mining, energy and urbanization. New service offers and business models will not only require their own platform, but also an ecosystem of partners, says Picard.

The agenda of the Symposium included a total of 39 lectures and workshops on topics related to the “Digitization of Products and Production”, so the theme of the event. The intensive program still left enough room for networking and the sharing of experiences, especially at the evening event held in the impressive ambiance of the Grand Hall of the ‘Zeche Zollverein’. Key topics that were discussed included the use of Digital Twin for the simulation of product and production as well as for new service offers, the practical application of the methods of Model Based Systems Engineering, and the progress of prostep ivip’s standardization activities. 

A lot of interest was generated by a presentation on the prostep ivip Synced Factory Twin. With the example of two work stations on the assembly line of the Airbus A 320, it was demonstrated how production processes can be optimized during operation by real-time capture and the analysis of shopfloor data. Due to the underlying manufacturing logic, the Factory Twin is able to e.g. make proposals for an alternative operation, if the material for the originally intended work step is missing.  The demonstrator was developed by several partners in the context of a prostep ivip project. 

Taking up new issues early on and better integrating the representatives of other development disciplines are the challenges that the association will have to face in the future. “For this reason, we have created a club of visionaries and lateral thinkers, to provide a forum for developing fresh ideas for future association projects and the Symposium”, explains the departing General Manager Dr. Steven Vettermann. “I strongly believe that we will be able to continue the success story of the Symposium.”

The digitization of products and production also imposes new tasks on PLM manufacturers covering the entire life cycle of products and production systems. How PLM is able to facilitate the merging of the digital and the real world, was explained by Karl-Heinz Zachries, General Manager of the principal sponsor CONTACT Software. PLM manufacturers have to enable their customers to exploit the data of their networked products for new business models. 

Customers of PLM manufacturers on the other hand are faced with the question of how to rebuild their existing PLM architectures in order to respond to the challenges of digitization in a better, more agile manner. In his Keynote Ralf Waltram from the BMW Group, industry sponsor of the next Symposium in Munich, outlined the future direction: to move away from the monolithic IT systems towards a service-oriented architecture, that can be integrated with other disciplines more easily. 

Openness is an important prerequisite for an agile implementation of new IT architectures, says Waltram. At the same time, it is key to the platforms, on which global economy will take place in the IoT era, as Thomas Knebel, senior government official at the Federal Ministry of Economics pointed out. For this reason, the BMWi (German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) did not only assume patronage for the CPO-Initiative (Code of PLM Openness) but will also support the official certification program which will start soon. Vettermann expects that the first PLM vendors will be certified until the next prostep ivip Symposium which will be held 18-19 April 2018 in Munich, Germany. 


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