Envisioning the production of tomorrow
The 23rd International Conference for Production Research ICPR, which took place from August 2-5, 2015 in Manila, was a runaway success for Fraunhofer IAO and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Both keynote speakers, Professor Wilhelm Bauer (IAO institute director) and Professor Hans-Jörg Bullinger, received a Certificate of Appreciation, and each was part of a team that scooped an Outstanding Paper Award 2015. In Professor Bauer’s case, this was for his work with Dr. Stefan Gerlach et al. on KapaflexCy; Professor Bullinger received the honor alongside Thomas Meiren and Rainer Nägele for their publication on the future of smart services.
Every two years, the prestigious ICPR offers production researchers a platform for professional knowledge sharing and discussion. At this year's International Conference from August 2-5, 2015 in Manila, Fraunhofer IAO proved its ranking among the very best production research centers in the world by collecting three awards. In recognition of their impressive keynote speeches on the future challenges facing industrial production and on the opportunities and new business models afforded by digitalization and Industry 4.0, Professors Bullinger and Bauer each received a Certificate of Appreciation.
Competitive advantage rests on flexible production workforce management
Dr. Stefan Gerlach et al. received an Outstanding Paper Award for their publication about the KapaflexCy research project. In the project, the team developed a self-organizing capacity management system that can help provide responsive, highly flexible and cross-corporate production capacity control. Such systems also enable companies to give their employees on the floor more personal responsibility by allowing them to participate directly in decision making, without involving an intermediary.
As a high-quality production location, Germany’s biggest strength is its ability to produce technically sophisticated products faster and more reliably than its global competitors. This demands maximum flexibility, both on the part of production facilities and the staff they employ. Lean production that is completely in tune with the customers’ varying needs requires flexible workforce management with adjustments that are almost simultaneous with real time.
Industry 4.0 services
Thomas Meiren and Rainer Nägele were also honored with an Outstanding Paper Award for their article entitled “Smart services in manufacturing companies”, which elucidated the opportunities and challenges that go with developing smart services and implementing digitizalation strategies. The term “smart services” refers to data and service products such as mobile applications, online portals and sharing services. In order to function, these smart services rely on continually advancing machine intelligence, and the universal digitalization of work processes. By using the Internet to connect to internal and external value chains in this way, companies can offer their customers higher quality and more specifically targeted services. At the same time, cloud-based platforms simplify the development, provision and control of services and service portfolios.
Fraunhofer IAO is hosting various events in the autumn on both subjects, and will be showing German companies how they can implement the future vision of a sustainable, flexible and efficient production.
The basis for all work undertaken at the Fraunhofer IAO is a deep conviction that business success in a globalised arena is contingent on an ability to profitably leverage new high-tech potentials. In order to optimally exploit these opportunities, companies must be capable of developing and implementing customer and employee-oriented technologies faster than their competitors. Work organisation concepts must be simultaneously innovative and anthropocentric. A systematic design, in other words, is the outcome of pooled management and technical expertise. This holistic perspective when it comes to project processing ensures that equal consideration is given to commercial success, employees' interests and social consequences.
Through its close cooperation with the Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT) of the University of Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IAO unites basic university research with applied science and business practice.
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