SMART FACE – Smart Micro Factory for Electric Vehicles

Triggered by increasingly short product cycles and a customer-induced and continually growing variant diversity, the classical assembly line production with a focus on maximum productivity is not designed to satisfy the continuously growing requirements of today’s small batch and extremely small batch production.

Today’s production planning that is tailored to the classical assembly line production is mainly based on the principle of centrality. The possibility of a change from a central to a self-regulatory, decentralized production is therefore limited. This causes a stagnation of flexibility and adaptability of resources.

For this reason, Smart Face calls for new ways of thinking regarding a contemporary production planning and regulation. Unlike existing projects, Smart Face tries to develop innovative approaches to use decentralized and autonomous control methods and therefore creates the prerequisites for the conception of a fundamentally innovative production planning.

Target

Target of the interdisciplinary research and development project Smart Face is to develop sustainable concepts and methods to satisfy special requirements of the extremely small batch production regarding operation, scalability, robustness, flexibility and efficiency. The special focus in this context is on the production planning of electric vehicles without excluding the transferability on other fields.

Main part of the research project is the principle of the “Internet of Things” in which products are clearly identifiable and locatable along the entire value chain. In this context so called Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) allow the autonomous information exchange between the objects.

The challenge of the project is to link the CPS approaches with the current technologies and product structures so that new and innovative solutions for the lean production planning of small and extremely small batch production can be created.

Innovation

The consortium hopes to make an important step towards lean production with versatile production structures with the research project. Decentralized and flexible material flow units will for example allow machines to request assembly parts individually and distribute their system load autonomously. This will make a central sequence planning unnecessary which leads to numerous advantages in topics like flexibilization, individualization and “batch size 1”.

Partner

  • LinogistiX GmbH
  • Volkswagen AG
  • Continental AG
  • Sick AG
  • Lanfer Automation GmbH & Co KG
  • F/L/S Fuzzy Logik Systeme GmbH
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML)
  • Technical University Dortmund