Manufacturing companies are faced with the challenge of meeting the growing demand for customized products while at the same time shortening development cycles. Production systems need to operate at near-optimum capacity if they are to be profitable. At the same time, all information must be available in the event of disruptions to ensure flexible adaptation.
The cloud and cloud-based IoT (Internet of Things) platforms make it possible to gather together information from production across different locations and even across different companies and evaluate it for the purpose of planning and adapting production processes. The objective of the newly founded CBPC project group is to evaluate the potential of the cloud and possible solutions for cloud-based collaboration in production. The project partners benefit from the knowledge gained by other companies regarding IT infrastructures on the shop floor, process flows, security aspects and the data structures required for production.
CBPC is a new prostep ivip project group that was set up in 2022 and launched its work the same year. As a first step, it developed and prioritized the most interesting use cases for collaboration in production. The use case for evaluating similar product lines at different locations was refined last year. The project partners examined the benefits and challenges in terms of data management, system architecture and security for each scenario. They compared the process parameters recorded at two manufacturing sites with quality criteria for the final product to make predictions about product quality.
One of the project group's key findings was that it is important to know precisely which production data is being collected and for which purpose as otherwise the volume of data will quickly become overwhelming. Another difficulty is connecting older machines and systems, which may be licensed for the production process and cannot be easily replaced, to the cloud-based platforms. When integrating new IT systems, thought must also be given to the fact that they could be legacy systems tomorrow.
The project group will derive requirements for the processes, IT infrastructure and production environment based on the identified CBPC use cases. Knowledge gained to date should be taken into account in order to identify critical features. The next use case that will be studied in detail is the management of energy demand and CO2 emissions for production facilities.
"It was a lot of fun setting up a new ivip project group that involved participants from a variety of different industries: carmakers and tier 1 suppliers, aerospace companies, and not to forget several research institutions. We nevertheless managed to establish a joint line of approach for the project group."
"During the course of the current year, we'll continue to hold discussions between the different industries with the aim of harmonizing our requirements and gaining new insights into concepts for collaboration platforms and the integration of production environments. It would be great if more companies joined in on this discussion so that we can get the broadest picture possible."