Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production

  • The SmartFactoryKL Industrie 4.0 production plant demonstrates closer interaction between operators, manual workstations, and production modules
  • Smart manual workstations offer improved operator-assistance via Plug & Playproduction

The Industrie 4.0 production plant on display by the SmartFactoryKL partner consortium shows a manual workstation with improved Human-Machine Interaction at the Hannover Messe 2017. This interaction is achieved with an IT structure more closely integrated with the production plant.

A manual workstation in the Industrie 4.0 production plant of the SmartFactoryKL partner consortium demonstrates improved Human-Machine Interaction. This allows for a more flexible production set-up

©SmartFactoryKL / C. Arnoldi

Furthermore, the manual workstation features an assistance system with intuitive controls. The Technologie-Initiative SmartFactory KL e.V. and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) will present this advanced development project in cooperation with 18 contributing partner companies at the Hannover Messe from April 24 to 28, 2017, in Hall 8 / Booth D20.

The manual workstation is an advanced version that has been closely integrated with the assembly plant to enable flexible production of a customized product; in this case, a business card holder. Similar to the automated production modules, the manual workstation also communicates via OPC UA. Consequently, the production modules can be directly linked to the manual workstation.

They are physically connected by an autonomous guided vehicle (AGV) that transports the product being manufactured back and forth between the manual workstation and the various machines. The destination of a part is automatically selected according to its production plan and machine availability.

Assistance system with intuitive user interface

An operator at the manual workstation receives order summaries on a display with an easy-to-operate user interface (UI). The UI has been redesigned to enable the "docking" of the AGV to the manual workstation.

The operator confirms delivery of a product from the AGV and can even request a product from the AGV on the UI. This enables the operator to actively influence the processing order. The new design provides the great benefit of a flexible and requirements-based production: fully automated, semi-automated/partially manual, or fully manual.  

Easy control of the manual workstation using Plug & Play

Various parts for the customized business card holder, such as the different covers or clips, are stored in assigned containers at the manual workstation, where the operator picks and assembles them into the individual product. The container system is mounted on load cells equipped with a cyber-physical system (CPS) that automatically calculates the current fill level of each container based on weight.

The data generated in this way, for example, facilitates inventory warehousing or can give evidence of wrong material use or even theft. Additionally, each container is outfitted with an RFID chip for identification.

In the next development step of the manual workstation, the "Plug & Play" concept will be implemented on the load cell level. Thus, when a container is placed on the load cell, the system will automatically recognize it thanks to its RFID chip and adjust the production process accordingly.

Further development of assembly assistance systems promises great opportunities for the operator as the installation of manual workstations becomes increasingly simple. The aim is to provide intuitive user assistance systems that do not require any special IT skills. The necessary IT structures run completely in the background and remain invisible to the operator. The use of modern technology enables the operator to easily control and adapt the plant during operations. This results in flexible production, curtesy of the intuitive control of the assembly assistance system.

"Successful Human-Machine Interaction reflects the basic concepts of Industrie 4.0: flexible, fast, and simple adjustment of the production plant to quickly accommodate individual customer requirements," said Professor Dr.-Ing. Detlef Zuehlke, Chairman of the Board of Management of SmartFactoryKL and Director of the Research Department Innovative Factory Systems at DFKI.

Partners in the SmartFactoryKL Industrie 4.0 production plant network are: Belden/Hirschmann, Bosch Rexroth, CISCO, EPLAN Software & Service, Festo, HARTING, IBM, iTAC, LAPP KABEL, METTLER TOLEDO, MiniTec, PHOENIX CONTACT, Pilz, proALPHA, TE Connectivity, TÜV SÜD, Weidmüller, and Wibu-Systems.

Press Contact:

Dr. Haike Frank
Head of Public Relations
Technology Initiative SmartFactory KL e.V.
Trippstadter Straße 122
67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
+49 631/20575-3406

Christian Heyer
DFKI Corporate Communications Kaiserslautern
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)
Trippstadter Straße 122
67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany

About the Technology Initiative SmartFactory KL e.V.

The Technologie-Initiative SmartFactory KL e.V., founded in 2005 as a non-profit association, is an Industrie 4.0 network of industrial and research partners who jointly carry out projects regarding the factory of the future. SmartFactoryKL is a manufacturer-independent demonstration and research platform which is unique in the world. Here, innovative information and communications technologies and their application are tested and developed in a realistic, industrial production environment. The technology initiative, supported by the active participation of its members, has already established pragmatic solutions, first products and common standards. SmartFactoryKL intensively cooperates with the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern and was appointed Mittelstand 4.0-Kompetenzzentrum Kaiserslautern (SME 4.0 Competence Center) by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in 2016.

Weitere Informationen:

Udo Urban | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Intelligent maps will help robots navigate in your home
19.06.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

nachricht Football through the eyes of a computer
14.06.2018 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Carbon nanotube optics provide optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries

19.06.2018 | Life Sciences

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>